Motorola, Inc. today released initial data from HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) trials with five major European operators. Speeds of 2.9Mbps have been recorded at the edge of an outdoor UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) cell using a single HSDPA device. The trial system matches the capabilities of the commercial HSDPA infrastructure set for launch in the second half of 2005. The trial results are expected to give operators confidence when planning for true high-speed services.
The trials are designed to produce results to enhance the ability of mobile operators and service providers to build optimal performance HSDPA- enabled networks and successfully deploy services on those networks. The results will also help the operators design networks that offer highly reliable 3G connectivity, access and competent service delivery considering a variety of traffic levels, service demand, device and location.
Motorola set up a menu of test options for the participating operators to choose from to allow them to create independent test environments. In this way the trials are tailored to mimic the individual operating conditions of each network, with different access options to measure performance, compatibility and interoperability.
With HSDPA, operators will benefit from increased operating efficiency, greater user capacity and improved customer satisfaction. During the trials, services ranging from e-mail, video streaming, music downloads and web browsing are being tested for speed, capacity and data quality from normal to high-traffic conditions. Motorola will be especially looking for areas where performance can be enhanced further.
Raghu Rau, corporate vice president for marketing for Motorola's networks business explains, "Pivotal to the commercial success of HSDPA is the expected performance compared to UMTS and ensuring that the correct expectations are set. That is one of the aims of conducting trials under real-life conditions. To this end Motorola is enabling the operators to emulate loaded networks. At launch, with relatively low numbers of subscribers, the performance may far exceed these average data rates and this is why it is far more instructive to consider performance of networks working at full capacity with high traffic users since this more closely reflects the ultimate commercial setting."
Rau continues, "All new releases in 3G telephony standards have a peak network speed. The first systems will support a peak of up to 3.6Mbps on the downlink. These are ideal rates, but in reality, with networks working at full capacity (e.g. each user downloading 2 music albums an hour), Motorola estimates that the average user throughputs will be approximately between 500kbps and 1.5Mbps during the download. Overall HSDPA will appear to the user between 3 and 10 times faster than UMTS. This differential will increase as the cell size gets smaller."
HSDPA data transmission speeds to the end user will be similar to today's fixed broadband services and should enable operators to both realize greater margins from existing offerings while launching new data rich products at competitive prices. It also promises to smooth the transition of services like video streaming and music downloads from 'high potential' to commercially viable.