Las Vegas (NV) – Mobile broadband, once widely available, could become one of the trends that will shape the look of mobile devices and the way we will use them to communicate with each other. While currently available EVDO networks are topping out at 2.0 Mbps, Nortel and Qualcomm promise HSDPA versions that could surpass the speeds of US wired broadband offerings.
The two companies today said that they “have successfully achieved the industry’s first 7.2 Mbps HSDPA mobile data calls.” The test series was based on “pre-commercial” category 8 HSDPA data calls using Qualcomm terminals and Nortel HSDPA network equipment.
All calls covered frequencies in all commercially available UMTS spectrum currently used by mobile operators throughout the world, Qualcomm said. The 2100 MHz spectrum is the basis for most European 3G networks and the 850 MHz spectrum is now in use for new UMTS networks in North America, the Caribbean and Latin America. As spectrum at 900MHz is expanded for UMTS services, it may also become a part of the European HSDPA roll out, Nortel said.
HSDPA will be the wireless broadband technology offered by GSM network operators as opposed to EVDO, which is adopted by CDMA providers and is currently available for example through Verizon Wireless in the US. While HSDPA has been gaining traction, for example with a demonstration of a 3.6 Mbps version at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, actual products are not available to customers at this time.
Among the products we are expecting to hit the market this year are notebook computers for example from Dell as well as Microsoft’s Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC) platform whose features are rather disappointing in first generation products. Once more wireless features such as GPS as well as affordable wireless broadband – mainly HSDPA initially, according to industry sources – is added, the UMPC in fact may become one of the most appealing products to take advantage of wireless broadband.