Super 3G technology is unlikely to turn around 3G's poor track record in the consumer market, a supplier of IP routers has claimed.
A senior representative of Sarian Systems, which launched an HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access)-compatible router on Tuesday, told ZDNet UK that operators were misguided in hoping the technology would get non-corporate customers to use their phones for downloading value-added multimedia products — something standard 3G has so far largely failed to achieve.
"HSDPA is not going to make the impact on the consumer market that the networks think," Sarian's marketing director Duncan Ellison said on Tuesday. "3G has so far failed to drive growth and we can't see how HSDPA is going to fix that," he added.
Ellison suggested that the key market for HSDPA would be point-to-point wireless connectivity within organisations — which it dubs machine-to-machine (M2M) — due to the technology's ability to produce speeds comparable to that of broadband. He said network operators "have yet to recognise this".
"It's very difficult to get the operators to understand anything that doesn't have a screen and keyboard," he said, although he admitted they were experts in customer relations.
Ellison's comments drew a swift retort from David Pringle of the GSM Association, which represents mobile operators using GSM, 3G and its evolutions. "HSDPA improves the user experience markedly," he told ZDNet UK on Tuesday.
"It substantially increases capacity and throughput speed and reduces latency and there's no reason why consumers should not benefit from those advantages in the same way as businesses or machines," he added.
Sarian's wired and wireless Internet Protocol (IP) routers are used in three-quarters of the UK's petrol stations, and it also provides connectivity for ATMs and point-of-sale units. While the newly launched HR4110 is Sarian's first product to provide Super 3G compatibility, previous iterations of the design have operated through GPRS and other slower technologies.
The dual-SIM programmable router is being touted not only as a replacement for DSL connections in stores and branch offices, among other places, but as fixed-line backup in such "mission-critical" environments.
While Ellison said WiMax, the much-hyped far-range technology that is beginning to emerge as a possible competitor to 3G and its variants, could be sidelined by HSDPA, he indicated that Sarian would bring out a WiMax-compatible system if it became sufficiently widespread.