The GSM wireless technology community in the United States, and worldwide, has reached a major milestone with the launch of the first extensive UMTS/HSPDA commercial 3G service. 3G Americas, a wireless trade organization representing the GSM family of technologies, applauds Cingular Wireless on their technology leadership role in offering mobile wireless broadband service based on UMTS/HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) -- the natural evolution for GSM, the world's most popular wireless technology. Today, Cingular announced that their HSDPA service is commercially available to nearly 35 million people in 16 major U.S. markets, with plans to expand to most major markets in 2006.
Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas remarked, "As one of the world's largest wireless service providers, Cingular has pioneered the way for true broadband mobile services by launching the world's first large scale commercial HSDPA network available to millions of customers." He continued, "Cingular's UMTS/HSDPA launch showcases their global technology leadership for the GSM family of technologies. Their accomplishment should be noted throughout the world of wireless as a significant milestone for our industry, and a true indicator that HSDPA is now set for rapid deployment across the globe."
Wireless carriers offering UMTS, EDGE or GPRS can upgrade their networks to HSDPA and be assured there is a continued evolutionary path to faster speeds and more advanced services. It is expected that most all UMTS operators will upgrade to HSDPA and the majority of UMTS infrastructure sold today is HSDPA capable. Manx Telecom, which is owned by 02, also recently launched UMTS/HSDPA on a smaller scale on the Isle of Man.
To date, there are another 54 HSDPA networks planned or in deployment, plus eight announced trials. UMTS services are already offered by 95 commercial networks in 45 countries with an additional 67 UMTS networks in deployment, planned or licensed. There are more than 38 million 3G UMTS customers worldwide (Informa Telecoms & Media, October 2005).
HSDPA will deliver a big boost to a mobile operator's efficiencies with its ability to deliver:
* per-user download speeds eventually averaging 550-1100 Kbps (Cingular's network delivers initial speeds of 400-700 Kbps)
* low latency approaching 100 milliseconds
* increased spectral efficiency for operators
* lower cost per bit to deliver applications
* improved high-bandwidth multimedia services to enable customers to rapidly download video clips, music tracks, and high-resolution files, and play fast, graphic-rich online interactive games
* simultaneous mobile voice and high-speed data services
"HSDPA is like a mobile hot spot that customers can use anywhere, anytime," stated Vicki Livingston, Director of Marketing for 3G Americas. "Even when a customer travels outside their HSDPA coverage area, devices such as the initial PC card modems allow customers to fall back on EDGE and GPRS in four spectrum bands, ensuring a session is seamlessly transferred to roaming partners around the world."