It's a way for Cingular to push any data users up to a more expensive model I'm sure. It can only help their sales. Data users who want EDGE will surely buy a more expensive phone with EDGE rather than do without. At the same time, people who only want a cheap phone don't care about data. So why make a cheap phone more expensive to make by including EDGE?
And I would choose both of those over EDGE, so i think it is a smart idea. Honestly, a high class of GPRS isn't that bad. When comparing EDGE and GPRS it's noticable, but really not that big of a deal.
This is the American version... or rather, since it's quad-band, the American version and European versions are the same. No EDGE.
I'm guessing it was a cost issue, and they decided it simply wasn't necessary. The screen is relatively low-res and the camera is only VGA. This isn't designed for power users who would care about EDGE.