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3G Evolution & HSDPA
The 3G Evolution describes the seamless, compatible evolutionary path of enhancements to the existing 3GSM technology family. These will offer GSM operators higher data transfer speeds and greater system capacity that, in turn, will enhance their ability to provide mobile broadband multimedia services. Following an evolutionary path within the GSM family of technologies delivers the generic benefits of GSM such as global roaming, seamless billing, network compatibility and huge economies of scale. The 3G evolutionary path has a series of well defined technology enhancements. The first to be realised is the downlink performance improvement - High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA).

HSDPA Overview
HSDPA is a technology for improving the downlink performance of W-CDMA networks and is part of the evolutionary path of 3G enhancements to the GSM technology family. This well-defined path will result in higher data transfer speeds, improved spectral efficiency and greater system capacity for GSM operators. For users, HSDPA will unlock a world of mobile broadband multimedia services.

What does HSDPA deliver?
HSDPA is part of 3GPP/UTRAN-FDD Release 5 W-CDMA specifications. HSDPA is a software-based enhancement that boosts the air interface capacity of W-CDMA networks by 2 times and delivers a 4-5 fold increase in downlink data speeds. It shortens round-trip time between network and terminals and reduces variance in downlink transmission delay. The combination of faster data rates - typically of the order of 1 Mb/s and with theoretical peak rates of up to 14.4Mb/s - along with the increased spectral efficiency should result in a lower cost per data bit transmitted. Alternative access technologies cannot offer the benefits integral to the 3GSM family and may, at best, be considered by operators as complementary to the 3GSM network.

User benefits
Increased data rates provide the opportunity for operators to launch a wide range of new, added-value and media-rich applications and services. Business users can look forward to high-speed Internet access and rapid download of emails with attachments as well as access to wireless audio and video services. Consumer services could include rapid downloading of high-resolution digital images, DVD quality music downloads, full-motion video and advanced multi-player games.

HSDPA Deployments
Regular surveys from the GSMA confirm that there are over 200 HSDPA network commitments in over 95 countries/territories worldwide, including over 165 commercially launched HSDPA networks in 75 countries. Over 90% of commercial 3G/WCDMA networks have now activated HSDPA for mobile broadband services.

The GSMA recently confirmed a rapidly expanding range and availability of HSDPA-capable user devices (PC datacards, phones and embedded laptop modules), with over 500 devices from over 100 suppliers already launched in the market, including 225 handsets, 86 embedded notebooks, 43 USB modems and 38 datacards (source:

Global support
The Board of the GSMA has reaffirmed its full commitment to an evolutionary path for 3G that has HSDPA as its natural next step. More details on the announcement, made at this year's 3GSM Asia World Congress, can be obtained here.

GSMA Board Members have individually underlined the weight of support behind HSDPA:

  • "HSDPA is the natural next step in the evolution of GSM. It will bring broadband speeds to mobile networks." Alain Harper, Group Strategy Director of Vodafone Group plc.
  • "Cingular's deployment of W-CDMA with HSDPA will be the first in the world and allow us to increase network capacity for voice and give customers far higher data rates. It is the only 3G technology that offers simultaneous voice and high speed data connections, which will enable us to provide a host of innovative multimedia services for consumers and businesses. Additionally, from a global perspective, HSDPA is backwards compatible with the GSM family of data technologies, giving customers the ability to use their devices to access services around the world." Bill Hague, Executive VP International, Cingular Wireless.
  • "HSDPA is a major enhancement to 3G and its compatibility with existing networks makes it the most compelling choice for customers." Frank Boulben, Executive VP, Brand and Consumer Marketing, Orange.
  • "The expectation in the industry is that all 3G W-CDMA operators will adopt HSDPA and HSUPA because of the high value it provides for end-users at a marginal incremental cost." Nokia/Vodafone White Paper, 3G Evolution - the trusted road ahead, September 2005.
  • "From mid-2006, our customers will be able to enjoy a range of new and enhanced services, including high-resolution interactive games, full motion video and music downloads with the same quality as DVDs, and fast wireless email exchanges with documents attached." Ignacio Camarero, Executive Director for Operations at Telefonica Moviles Espana
  • "The high download speeds offered by HSDPA will greatly enhance a wide range of mobile services from Web browsing to video downloads. We will have commercial HSDPA networks up and running in Europe in 2006." Matthias Schtoter, VP Roaming & Standards, T-Mobile.

Improved uplink
Enhancements to the uplink data speed is known as High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA). HSUPA network technology was launched in 2007, with now over 30 HSPA networks enhanced with HSUPA. Jointly, downlink and uplink enhancements are referred to as HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) services. Increased downlink and uplink speeds will further enhance user experiences and increase the use of application and activities especially where data is shared between users, for example interactive multi-player games.



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