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« WiMax Telecom Plans September Launch | Main | Intel to Work With KT on Interoperability »

June 18, 2005

The HSPA Threat

By Nancy Gohring

Future cellular technologies are poised to steal some potential market share from WiMax: Many of the GSM cellular operators are moving toward deploying HSDPA (High Speed Download Packet Access) followed by HSUPA, (HS Upload PA) which increases uplink speeds. The initial launches of HSDPA are likely to support around 1 Mbps on the downlink per user, with speeds increasing with future upgrades. Because the cellular operators already have networks in place, they are well-positioned to introduce a ubiquitous or near-ubiquitous network, should they choose.

While the involvement of the traditional cellular vendors in the WiMax world is encouraging for WiMax, these vendors are often unclear about how WiMax and the future cellular technologies are likely to co-exist. “HSDPA is complimentary to WiMax,” said Simon Beresford-Wylie, senior vice president, EMEA for Nokia’s networks division, while speaking at Nokia’s annual journalists event earlier this week.

But it was difficult to see exactly how the two technologies might be complementary. Beresford-Wylie noted that HSDPA will likely offer more in terms of mobility while WiMax ought to offer faster throughputs. He suggested that cellular operators might use WiMax networks to supplement their networks in metropolitan areas. When pushed on the issue, he said that some cellular operators might use WiMax while some new operators might deploy it to compete with the cellular networks.

In some ways, some vendors seem stuck between trying to capitalize on a new market—WiMax—and offending their existing lucrative relationships with the cellular operators.

In other HSDPA news, Nokia said it can publicly describe six public HSDPA contracts and has fifteen others that it can’t discuss. Nokia also briefly described an announcement it made earlier this year about Internet-HSPA (no D or U in the middle)—a network upgrade that would support data only.

Nortel has also been aggressively pursing HSDPA. BB Mobile in Japan said it has conducted live field tests using Nortel HSDPA gear in the unusual 1.7 GHz band. They claim this is the first such example in Japan.

Posted by nancyg at June 18, 2005 5:58 AM

Categories: competitive landscape

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