Real 3G – HSDPA

I have posted about mobile broadband before.  While 3G is still a new thing here in South Africa, Om Malik has reported that it is very possible that the first HSDPA networks could go live this year.

“HSDPA is positioned as a data service and data services can best be
used on your PC,?? Lothar Pauly, president of the Siemens unit Siemens
Communications, told IHT.
Many expect the technology to be rolled out by this time next year. It
is mostly a software upgrade so phone companies won’t have to invest

There is quite a bit of hype surrounding Wi-Fi networks and their potential use in mobile telephony.  As I understand it, the idea is to run Voice Over IP (or ‘VOIP’) over Wi-Fi networks and effectively create a new mobile phone network that co-exists with a mobile data network.  This is a simplified interpretation.  Anyway, when Wi-Fi started to come out a little while ago, there was much talk about Wi-Fi rendering mobile phone networks redundant.  This would have had quite an impact on the horribly expensive 3G networks which haven’t met the expectations fuelled by the initial hype which arose in the early days (a couple years ago, really).

Addressing part of this debate, Malik posted the following:

By being first to the market, HSDPA can upset the fixed wireless apple
cart. The so called WiMAX networks don’t get deployed up until 2007 at
the earliest. “There are several factors to consider – a new core,
increased backhaul costs and new site deployments. From that
perspective, HSDPA is more cost-efficient for us than TDD technology
because we don’t need a new core and our base stations are already
HSDPA-capable,?? Dave Williams, CTO of O2 said during a CTO panel at the
3GSM World Congress in Cannes reports Telecom Asia.

Back home, there is talk of our local terrestrial phone network, Telkom, using WiMAX as a wireless, ‘last-mile’ technology for the much anticipated extension of its pricey broadband network (consisting mainly of variations of an ADSL offering).  This may be a solution in urban areas but I think mobile technologies like this may be more useful in rural areas which are underserviced and difficult to extend the terrestrial network to.  This application is fairly well known:

Others like Alcatel chief technology officer Niel Ransom think that
WiMAX seemed more appropriate as a rural wireless solution and quipped,
“From a price point perspective, WiMAX will have a tough time competing
against ADSL.??

The next statement seems to hit the nail on the head though.

While I was down at Qualcomm earlier this year, Paul
Jacobs, President of Qualcomm Internet very succinctly put it: “WiMAX
is nothing buy hype. People can promise all sorts of things when you
don’t have a system.??






What do you think?

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