HSDPA A Hot Topic At 3GSM

HSDPA, finally a reality thanks to Cingular in the USA, is a hot topic here at the 3GSM show in Barcelona. Samsung is touting its world-first HSDPA handset, the SGH-Z560, which promises faster download of content. But despite all the hype, and the real fact that it will improve the economics of 3G data for carriers, we think that HSDPA will matter relatively little to consumers. Why? Because the current version of W-CDMA already offers a great deal of bandwidth to the individual user’s handset, and HSDPA will not really increase the range of things users can do with the phone – since the phone UI itself is already the limiting factor, not the data pipe. Do you care if a ringtone takes 2 seconds instead of 8 to download? Video is the darling application of HSDPA, but video is very expensive in a W-CDMA phone, and will remain expensive using HSDPA. What we’re dealing with is just an evolutionary improvement in download capacity. The segment that will most benefit is that small segment that uses PCMCIA cards, or which tethers their handset to their laptop. For this group, the lower costs and faster speeds of HSDPA will be a noted benefit, since their laptops gulp data compared to the sips that phone handsets drink.

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Comments on “HSDPA A Hot Topic At 3GSM”

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Derek Kerton (profile) says:


By the way, I do think carriers will upgrade, since HSDPA is important to them. It lowers the costs of providing data, and allows more simultaneous users in a single cell. This, as I said, is an evolutionary improvement that makes sense for carriers, and they will roll out the software enhancements in due time.

But for mobile phone users, it will mean relatively little.

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