The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has released a set of update reports confirming the rapid development of mobile broadband and its evolution.
The path to mobile broadband began with 3G/WCDMA, which is now commercially available on 357 networks in 148 countries. Its first evolution, High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), boosts capacity and user data speeds, and reduces latency to improve the user experience. This upgrade has now been implemented by approaching 99% of all WCDMA operators. GSA says it confirms that HSPA has now been commercially launched on 353 networks in 147 countries and, when this figure is added to other networks currently in deployment or planned, it takes the number of operators committed to HSPA network investments to 401 in 154 countries.
The majority of networks, currently 58%, support a peak data rate of 7.2 Mbps or higher on the downlink. Almost 1 in 5 networks have deployed HSPA Evolution (HSPA+) technology. Sixty-three HSPA+ networks are launched in 35 countries:
* 53 commercial HSPA+ networks support a peak downlink data speed of 21 Mbps
* 7 commercial HSPA+ networks support a peak downlink data speed of 28 Mbps
* 3 commercial HSPA+ networks support a peak downlink data speed of 42 Mbps
GSA says it anticipates that 95-100 HSPA+ systems will be commercially launched by end 2010.
Several operators have confirmed plans for further network evolution steps to support 42 Mbps and 84 Mbps peak on the downlink.
Uplink speeds are also increasing. The GSA reports confirm more than one third of HSPA operators have commercially introduced HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access). A total of 118 operators have launched HSUPA in 60 countries, with a further eight networks currently deploying the technology in an additional four markets. Forty-one HSUPA systems support a peak uplink data rate of 5.8 Mbps, and two networks have confirmed the capability to support 11.5 Mbps peak.
Alan Hadden, President of GSA said: “The rapid shift to HSPA+ which is occurring will ensure its position as a mainstream technology this year, enabling operators all over the world to deliver higher data capacities and a compelling mobile broadband experience in fast expanding and highly competitive markets.”
While HSPA+ is the current trend, LTE is the main direction for the industry. GSA recently confirmed that 110 operators in 48 countries are investing in LTE, comprising 80 firm network deployment commitments and 30 additional pre-commitments technology trials and study programs. GSA anticipates that up to 22 LTE networks will be in service by end 2010, and at least 45 are expected to be in service by end 2012.