Ericsson to show off fastest 3G network yet

The company plans to demonstrate an HSPA+ network providing download speeds of 84Mbps, a new record, at Mobile World Congress next week
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor on

Ericsson plans to demonstrate an HSPA+ network with a peak theoretical download rate of 84Mbps at next week's Mobile World Congress, aiming for the fastest peak rate yet for an HSPA+ network.

The demonstration in Barcelona will be the first public showing of an 84Mbps HSPA+ network, Ericsson said in its announcement on Friday. The company demonstrated the first 56Mbps HSPA technology at 2009's CTIA conference in Las Vegas.

HSPA+, also known as Evolved High-Speed Packet Access, is an advanced version of HSPA, which improves the performance of existing 3G WCDMA protocols. The downlink protocol for HSPA is called high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA), while the upload protocol is known as high-speed uplink packet access (HSUPA).

Ericsson said the technology is aimed at allowing users to access applications such as social networking, online gaming and video conferencing on the move.

Late last month, the Scandinavian arm of operator 3 announced it would roll out Ericsson's 84Mbps technology across Denmark and four major Swedish cities, with the rollout beginning in the first quarter of 2010. Commercial services based on the 84Mbps technology are expected to arrive in the first half of 2011, Ericsson said.

In August, Vodafone began rolling out an HPSA network extending the download speed to 14.4Mbps, the fastest speed possible using HSPA without moving to HSPA+.

HSPA+ is to be succeeded by LTE (the long-term evolution of 3G), also known as 4G, which provides theoretical downlink speeds of at least 100Mbps and a theoretical uplink of at least 50Mbps. NTT DoCoMo is to demonstrate a prototype LTE handset at Mobile World Congress, which kicks off on 15 February.

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