UK: Half of the HSPA networks in commercial service globally are capable of peak downlink data speeds of 7.2 Mbps or higher, according to research just published by the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).
GSA’s newly released HSPA Operator Commitments Survey confirms 316 HSPA network commitments in 129 countries. A total of 274 operators have commercially launched HSPA mobile broadband services in 115 countries, with around half of them supporting a peak downlink data speed of 7.2 Mbps or higher.
WCDMA has over 73 percent market share of commercial 3G networks worldwide. Almost 95 percent of WCDMA operators have now launched HSPA.
A related survey by GSA confirms that 1,605 HSPA devices have been launched by 183 manufacturers. The number of products announced increased by over 121 percent year-on-year. The number of HSPA-enabled notebooks tripled year-on-year, with the number of phones and smartphones rising by more than 88 percent in the same period.
Excluding notebooks, a total of 595 HSPA products (over 46 percent) support peak downlink data speeds of 7.2 Mbps or more.
Alan Hadden, President, GSA said: “With 135 commercial HSPA networks supporting peak downlink data throughputs of at least 7.2 Mbps, and almost 600 user devices launched in the market which are capable of operating at 7.2 Mbps or higher, clearly a new baseline for mobile broadband service and capabilities has been established using HSPA.”
Evolved HSPA (HSPA+) is the next step on the roadmap for many operators, which increases data rates by using higher order modulation schemes and multiple antenna technology (MIMO). 3GPP Release 7 introduced 64 QAM modulation, increasing the downlink peak data bit rate by 50 percent to 21 Mbps.
In the uplink, 16 QAM doubles the peak data bit rate from 5.76 Mbps to 11.5 Mbps. Release 8 allows for combining 64 QAM with 2x2 MIMO for peak rates up to 42 Mbps downlink and 11.5 Mbps uplink (per 5 MHz carrier). Further evolution of HSPA will utilize combinations of multi-carrier and MIMO to reach peak rates of 84 Mbps downlink and 23 Mbps uplink. Almost 40 operators have committed to HSPA+ network deployments.
The world’s first HSPA+ network was launched in February 2009. According to GSA, the number of HSPA+ networks in commercial service has now reached double figures. 10 HSPA+ systems are commercially launched, which are using 64QAM modulation to deliver 21 Mbps peak data throughput on the downlink, for a typical user experience up to 8 Mbps, depending on device availability.
The world’s first HSPA+ system utilizing MIMO technology has also been launched, in Italy, boosting peak downlink data throughput up to 28 Mbps. The recent GSA HSPA devices survey confirmed that 8 HSPA+ user devices are already launched in the market.
Uplink data speeds are also increasing. 98 operators have committed to HSUPA, with 87 networks now commercially launched, and an increasing number of these networks support 5.8 Mbps peak data throughput. The number of HSUPA user devices announced by manufacturers has more than quadrupled over the past 12 months, and now stands at 305 products. More than a third (102 devices) support, or are upgradeable for 5.8 Mbps peak operation, compared to only 14 products in July 2008.
GSA earlier announced that 31 operators are committed to LTE network deployments, which will significantly further boost network throughputs, improve spectrum and operational efficiencies and performance, and reduce latency for the next step in the user experience. GSA anticipates that up to 12 LTE networks will be in commercial service by end 2010.