Ericsson supplies both, hype continues
3 Italy and Swisscom Mobile have both announced the launch of HSDPA services this year. 3 has said Rome will have coverage by March and 1,500 towns, representing 60% of the population, by the end of the year. Swisscom will start with Berne, Geneva and Zurich, and will have 40% coverage by the end of the year, with Lausanne, Basle, Lucerne and St Gallen all included.
3 Italy is marketing the service as offering 1.8Mbps at launch, with a data rate by 2008 of 14Mbps. Is it time to repeat? 14Mbps requires top level modulation, all available channels and a single user. In other words, it’s unlikely. But it’s a nice number to bandy around at launch, or even at lunch.
Swisscom marketed the service as a WLAN hotspot business model killer. It said that as it was making rates cheaper than WLAN, with coverage everywhere and access integrated, then it would spell doom for the public WLAN hotspot providers.
Both are initially launching with data cards, priced at EUR99 and CHF99 respectively. Swisscom will require a commitment to a 24 month contract, with deals of CHF39 per month including 12 hours of mobile unlimited usage, with a top rate of CHF79 permonth with 2 Gigabytes of data.
Its supposed WLAN hotspot killer service is a CHF 5 per hour unlimited capacity product. It’s decision to bill on time rather than data load for lower tier users will also be of interest to many.
3 Italy is offering 25MB a day from EUR9 a month, for the first 12 months, then EUR25 per month therafter. GPRS roaming traffic is not included and will cost EUR2 MB. Run-on traffic (traffic over the limit) will be charged at EUR0.60 per MB.
Ericsson is supplying both operators with its HSDPA technology, bringing the number of commercial HSDPA deployments the vendor is supporting in Europe into double figures.
The vendor itself said HSDPA “will enable peak speeds of 14.4Mbps”. It’s time to stop this claim, unless it is suitably justified. We’ve said it before, but we prefer Motorola’s approach (see the story below from a year ago, and three months ago), which at least gave realistic trial results of actual user speeds.