Vodafone to introduce 7.2Mbps broadband

3 May 2007

PARIS: Mobile operator Vodafone is planning to upgrade its existing HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) technology to 7.2MB per second in a number of markets around the world by the end of this year, siliconrepublic.com has learned.

Speaking at a Dell press conference in Paris on the subject of mobile working trends, the director of data channels at Vodafone Group Mark Whitby said that Vodafone’s HSDPA product is now deployed in 28 markets worldwide.

Vodafone unveiled its HSDPA product for the Irish market earlier this year at a speed of 1.4MB per second and this is in the process of being expanded to 3.6MB per second.

However, at the Paris event Whitby revealed that the company is hoping to go even further with a 7.2MB speed in “certain markets” this year.

Asked which markets, Whitby said he was unable to disclose which markets the enhanced speed would be available except to say that it is currently being trialled in Germany.

“At present we can handle peak download speeds of up to 1.4Mbps but this year networks capable of 7.2Mbps will be rolled out in some markets. This is a giant leap from two to three years ago; we’ve left wireless speeds of 56Kbps behind us.

“We are going to continue to target higher-bandwidth speeds in the coming months,” Whitby added.

He said that on average the HSDPA networks in the various countries that Vodafone operates in cover 80pc of those countries. “We are creating a global hotspot,” he said.

A vital part of Vodafone’s thrust with HSDPA broadband Whitby said was to ensure flat rate tariffs with fair usage policy. “Many of our early adopters travel a lot and they want transparency on pricing and a consistent model for roaming. They want something that is solid and reliable and no more bill shock.”

Whitby said that Vodafone’s partnership with Dell is continuing apace and that radios capable of handling HSDPA-plus will be embedded in future Dell notebooks. “It will roll out over more Dell platforms and in more markets,” he said.

“The next 12 months for HSDPA are going to be very exciting. 3G-plus broadband is being rolled out as we speak,” Whitby said.

By John Kennedy