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Qualcomm steps up HSPA, LTE push

Posted: 11 Feb 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:HSPA? LTE? 3G? UMB?

Generally rebuffed in attempts to promote its favored Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB) for future wireless network upgrades, Qualcomm Inc. is aggressively embracing HSPA and LTE technologies.

The company reported last week that it will test multiple HSPA+ applications with four leading carriers and, in addition, promised to ship a range of LTE gear next year.

Qualcomm and other components manufacturers as well as carriers are jockeying around with different technologies to bring 3G, 3.5G and 4G mobile phone networks to consumers.

Qualcomm said it will test the HSPA upgrade, HSPA+, with operators including Hutchison 3G, Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Telstra. HSPA+, which advances the performance of existing UMTS protocols, promises to deliver as much as 28Mbit/s mobile broadband. One advantage of HSPA+ is that it can be installed over existing spectrum and is backward compatible with many existing wireless infrastructures.

"HSPA+ provides a highly efficient path for network operators to provide next-generation wireless services with their existing networks," said Qualcomm's Steve Mollenkopf in a statement. "With trials this year, we are on track for commercialization in 2009." Mollenkopf is senior VP of product management for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies.

Mike Wright, executive director of Telstra's wireless unit, said Telstra is already committed to beginning the introduction of HSPA+ later this year. He noted that the firm's network is the world's largest national 3GSM deployment.

As for LTE, Qualcomm said it is expanding both its device and base station chipset roadmaps to include LTE. Qualcomm added that it expects to ship multimode LTE chipsets in 2009 that will cover future LTE features while at the same time preserving backward compatibility of existing 3G UMTS and CDMA2000 networks. Qualcomm's MDM9xxx LTE chipset family will offer three models with each covering different wireless standards including UMTS, HSPA+, EV-DO Rev. B and UMB.

Qualcomm received some additional impetus to boost its development of LTE and HSPA+ when its major U.S. customer Verizon Wireless and equity partner Vodafone decided to center its future wireless deployments on LTE and not on UMB.

- W. David Gardner

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