3.5G to hit same old handset shortages

But it will happen, in various guises, starting with laptops
Written by Tony Hallett, Contributor

But it will happen, in various guises, starting with laptops

Just like GSM, just like the widely-adopted flavours of 3G, handset shortages are likely to dog the rollout of the even faster, so-called 3.5G mobile services.

The term 3.5G - sometimes referred to as Super 3G - encompasses HSxPA and EV-DO Rev A technologies. Put simply, these are the upgrade path from the two main types of 3G - W-CDMA in Europe and much of the rest of the world, and CDMA2000.

A report from Informa points to a lack of EV-DO Rev A handsets and only a handful using HSDPA. However, laptop datacards and laptops with integrated HSPDA are now widely available.

The analyst reckons the lack of a wide range of compelling 3.5G handsets will slow mass market take-up of the technology over the next year, with an increase only coming with maturing handsets from 2008. By 2011 it forecasts there will be 300 million 3.5G mobile broadband subscribers and 85 per cent of 3.5G devices sold will be handsets.

Mobile Wimax - another broadband wireless option - isn't expected to have a better time of it, according to Informa. It will also suffer from the slow rollout of compelling PC notebooks and handsets and if anything the HSDPA market is one or two years ahead.

However, the analyst said there will be take-up of mobile Wimax, particularly in the fixed, nomadic and portable broadband markets between 2006 and 2011, based more around fixed indoor modems.

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