HSDPA will beat WiMAX

The first generation 3G networks are not even fully rolled out and there is talk about the next generation 3G networks, powered by a technology called high speed downlink packet access or HSDPA. It is about four times faster than current generation of 3G networks, also known as UMTS and about 15 times faster than more easily available GPRS networks. HSDPA is the real 3G, for it can really power the broadband apps like streaming music, video mail and video sharing and other such marvels.

“HSDPA is positioned as a data service and data services can best be used on your PC,” Lothar Pauly, president of the Siemens unit Siemens Communications, told IHT. Many expect the technology to be rolled out by this time next year. It is mostly a software upgrade so phone companies won’t have to invest mega-billions.

By being first to the market, HSDPA can upset the fixed wireless apple cart. The so called WiMAX networks don’t get deployed up until 2007 at the earliest. “There are several factors to consider – a new core, increased backhaul costs and new site deployments. From that perspective, HSDPA is more cost-efficient for us than TDD technology because we don’t need a new core and our base stations are already HSDPA-capable,” Dave Williams, CTO of O2 said during a CTO panel at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes reports Telecom Asia.

Others like Alcatel chief technology officer Niel Ransom think that WiMAX seemed more appropriate as a rural wireless solution and quipped, “From a price point perspective, WiMAX will have a tough time competing against ADSL.” While I was down at Qualcomm earlier this year, Paul Jacobs, President of Qualcomm Internet very succinctly put it: “WiMAX is nothing but hype. People can promise all sorts of things when you don’t have a system.”