HSDPA is finally here … almost!

Over a year since I posted about the next step up in 3G mobile technology, HSDPA is finally in South Africa!  According to MyADSL

MTN announced today that consumers in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth will be able to enjoy their HSDPA offering before Easter.

Bernice Samuels, General Manager: Marketing and Corporate Affairs at MTN, said that MTN has activated HSDPA on their highest usage 3G sites, making commercial HSDPA available to their subscribers ‘in most urban areas’.

Samuels pointed out that MTN is investing significant funds in their data network. “MTN is investing in excess of R600 million this financial year in its 3G network as it advances the roll-out of sites across South Africa,?? she said.

Vodacom, South Africa’s other major mobile network is also rolling out its HSDPA service:

Vodacom has announced that their service will be commercially available on the 2nd of April. They have already upgraded all their 3G sites to HSDPA, and have coverage in all major South African cities and towns. Vodacom is confident that their HSDPA data cards will be available in shops around the country at the time of their launch.”

The big question is when HSDPA capable phones and data cards will be readily available.  Both networks expect data cards to be on the market in the next few weeks but I would like to see HSDPA capable phones!

In related news –

Nortel and QUALCOMM have successfully achieved the industry’s first 7.2 Mbps HSDPA mobile data calls. The tests achieved data downloads at speeds up to four times faster than most current fixed broadband connections.

The companies completed the initial series of pre-commercial category 8 HSDPA data calls using test terminals based on QUALCOMM’s Mobile Station Modem(TM) (MSM(TM)) MSM6280(TM) solution and HSDPA network equipment from Nortel.

The calls covered frequencies in all commercially available UMTS spectrum currently used by mobile operators throughout the world. The 2100MHz spectrum is the basis for most European 3G networks and the 850MHz 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, Nortel believes this can also become an important part of European HSDPA roll out.

“Nortel continues to be an industry leader in driving HSDPA technologies to faster, more cost-effective capabilities that will help power mobile communications to beyond 3G services such as high quality live TV and HD video on demand,” said Jean-Luc Jezouin, vice-president, GSM/UMTS product line management, Nortel. “Together with QUALCOMM, Nortel is an industry pioneer in advancing the potential of HSDPA to help wireless operators maximize their existing UMTS infrastructures by offering new and faster services for subscribers.”

HSDPA is designed to boost network capacity for data transmissions up to four times and enables twice as many wireless users per cell site compared to current UMTS networks. By making more efficient use of existing network capabilities, HSDPA helps reduce operating costs while delivering a high quality end-user experience.

(via MyADSL)

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