Among the raft of global operator commitments, a number of networks have already announced deployment of W-CDMA/HSDPA in the 850MHz frequency band, including Cingular Wireless, Telstra in Australia and Rogers Wireless – Canada’s largest wireless voice and data communications service provider.
“Our plans to introduce a state of the art network based on the world standard for 3G wireless communications – W-CDMA – is a natural progression for Rogers’ coast-to-coast GSM/EDGE network,” said Bob Berner, CTO of Rogers Wireless. “By deploying HSDPA in the 850MHz frequency band, we will be able to better provide our customers in Canada with advanced mobile services, delivering speeds of up to 1.5 to
2 times faster than those claimed for competing technologies.”
This week, mobile operator KTF of Korea also announced that it will switch focus from its CDMA network to a new nationwide W-CDMA/ HSDPA network covering 84 South Korean cities by the end of the year. KTF has cited many compelling reasons for this shift, from simple economic efficiencies and global roaming to global handset availability and choice, economies of scale and significant potential revenue gains from high speed services.
As part of the evolutionary GSM family of technologies, W-CDMA & HSDPA will benefit from the strengths of the global GSM eco-system, such as global roaming and interoperability, open standards and huge economies of scale – evidenced through lower costs for handsets, and greater variety.
More than 315 handset products for W-CDMA are available already from the vendor community, 25 of which are HSDPA ready and a raft of new products are due for shipment in 2006.
“With more than 680 networks in our community heading along this globally agreed evolutionary path, no other technology can match the economies of scale and interoperability generated by GSM’s 1.8 billion and growing user base,” said Rob Conway, CEO and Board member of the GSM Association. “As economies of scale reach the point of critical mass for suppliers, we will see HSDPA become a ubiquitous part of device product ranges, just as GSM, GPRS and W-CDMA are today.”
The CTO of Cingular Wireless, the first network in the world to launch a large scale HSDPA network, Kris Rinne added: “Cingular is demonstrating that HSDPA is a real and robust technology that allows people on the move to enjoy high speed data and multimedia products and services. For us it was about enhancing our broad deployment of EDGE capabilities in the urban and suburban areas – and in technology terms, UMTS (W-CDMA) with HSDPA is uniquely positioned as the only 3G technology that supports both circuit switched voice and high speed packet data.”
The trend of operator migration from TDMA, CDMA and PDC to the global mobile path of GSM/GPRS/ W-CDMA & HSDPA continues – as seen across a raft of countries from Australia, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, to Japan, Korea, Singapore and the US among many others in recent years. This ease of migration has been witnessed in the phenomenal growth of markets such as Brazil, which three years ago moved to the GSM family. Today GSM is the market leader, and the choice of more than 50 million users.
In terms of global footprint, the GSM world is more than six times bigger than that of the nearest competing wireless technology, with 82% share of the digital wireless market and growing, while market share for other wireless technologies continues to decline. The scale of GSM growth enables consumers to enjoy unequalled value and variety of products and services, brought to bear by a global eco-system of hundreds and thousands of suppliers, as opposed to the few serving proprietary standards.