T-Mobile: 20Mbps 3G 'here by 2009'

3GSM: Will HSDPA be superseded by a service that offers three times the speed?

T-Mobile has already got its eye on a super-fast mobile future.

According to the operator, by 2009 mobile users will be able to get speeds of more than 20Mbps using 3G LTE technology. Currently, the fastest mobile download technology available is HSDPA , which offers a theoretical maximum of 3.6Mbps and a realistic downlink of around 1Mbps.

Industry watchers believe that LTE, which can potentially offer speeds of up to 100Mbps, will be able to make services such as mobile VoIP and TV broadcasting a viable proposition for operators.

However, LTE remains some way off and HSDPA will have to run its course first, T-Mobile believes. The second and third generation of HSDPA will bring speeds of up to 7.2Mbps by 2008, according to the operator's predictions. The first generation 'super 3G' network is currently scheduled to be rolled out in the UK some time this year by most operators.

Speaking at the 3GSM Congress, T-Mobile's chief technology officer Hamid Akhavan said: "Landline broadband is in its infancy. For many users the first true broadband experience may come through mobile... Next year [mobile] speeds will double, the year after they will double. They will be 20Mbps and higher by the end of the decade."

A recent report by research firm Analysys said there are uncertainties over whether additional infrastructure investment and spectrum may be needed to get 3G LTE off the ground. However, competing technologies such as HSDPA are likely to lose out in the race for mobile operators' cash as they lack the capacity to enable them to compete with fixed DSL players, the analyst said.