Vodafone to launch 3G HSDPA upgrade this month

The HSDPA upgrade will increase speed and halve the latency of the current service

Vodafone New Zealand plans to launch its High Speed Data Packet Access (HSDPA) upgrade to its 3G network shortly, says spokeswoman Tracey Palmer.

Vodafone is currently trialling the upgrade to the network at 1.8Mbit/s download speeds in the main population centres. However, the network will launch with download speeds of up to 3.6Mbit/s, she says. The maximum upload speed is 384kbit/s.

The existing Vodafone 2.1GHz UMTS-WCDMA network provides 384kbit/s downloads and 64kbit/s uploads. In addition to the speed increase, the HSDPA upgrade will halve the latency of the current service to around 130 milliseconds.

New devices will be needed for HSDPA, says Palmer, but she would not say what Vodafone will offer here.

However, Vodafone UK has already launched HSDPA and Computerworld understands many of the devices being used in the UK will be available in New Zealand. Apart from new data cards, and Samsung phones with high-resolution cameras, a new USB modem that doesn’t require hardware drivers will likely be introduced.

Only Category 6 UMTS devices are capable of reaching 3.6Mbit/s, but if customers want to take advantage of the 7.2Mbit/s upgrade Vodafone plans for the end of the year they will have to upgrade again.

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