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HSPA sees continued market growth

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile broadband? HSPA? LTE?

According to the latest survey published by the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), the choice, range and capabilities of mobile broadband user devices see no slowing down. The HSPA Devices survey noted that the number of manufacturers increased by 29 to 264, while 3,227 new HSPA user devices have entered the market, 25 percent higher than the year-ago figure.

Two-thirds of user devices support peak downlink speeds of 7.2Mbit/s or more, compared to just over 50 percent last year. HSPA+ networks are mainstream and being deployed by one-third of HSPA operators while 35 device manufacturers have introduced 182 HSPA+ products, representing 264 percent YoY growth (in July 2010, GSA confirmed 50 HSPA+ devices had been launched by 11 manufacturers).

The survey has confirmed that 97 devices support 21Mbit/s peak downlink, 13 support 28Mbit/s, 71 support 42Mbit/s (DC-HSPA+) and one product supports 84Mbit/s. GSA recently announced a 70 percent increase over three months in the number of 42Mbit/s DC-HSPA+ networks that had entered commercial service, plus at least 26 more DC-HSPA+ networks in deployment or planned status.

Uplink network data performance, including peak data speeds, has also improved. The availability of HSUPA capable user devices has similarly expanded and 1,184 products have been launched. New HSUPA devices that support 5.76Mbit/s or higher peak uplink data speed have reached 729 units this year, a 100 percent increase, while 40 productsten times higher than a year agocan support 11.5Mbit/s peak on the uplink.

The expanding range of smartphones is also clear from the survey. Excluding notebooks and e-book readers, 1,093 HSPA devices now incorporate 802.11/WLANover 40 percent of productsthat is almost 49 percent annual growth while 945 units (34.8 percent) incorporate GPS or A-GPS navigational capabilities, representing 42.5 percent annual growth. The number of routers, including mobile hotspots, increased 45 percent in the same period. The rapidly developing choice of HSPA-enabled tablets is also more evident with 33 new products launched.

The global success of mobile broadband enabled by 3G/HSPA technology and the data usage explosion is fuelling the need for further innovation. Re-farming of GSM spectrum, particularly 900MHz, is an option looked into by many operators where practical and in the knowledge that there exists a mature devices ecosystem of HSPA-capable 900MHz (UMTS900) user devices. GSA confirms that 663 UMTS900 devices supporting HSPA (and in some cases HSPA+) are launched in the market, 65 percent higher than one year ago. Excluding notebooks and e-book readers, over 24 percent of HSPA devices can operate at 900MHz.

Many HSPA operators are also investing in LTE technology. GSA recently reported that 218 operators are committed to commercial network deployments or trials of LTE. Many of them are HSPA operators and require service continuity throughout their operating area that generally means a fall back to current HSPA/HSPA+ and GSM/EDGE network assets. Manufacturers are aligning product developments with operator strategies. The survey also stated that 100 dual-mode HSPA-LTE devices have been launched.

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