HSDPA now or HSUPA later? The perfect case to abolish 2-year contracts

Sierra_aircard875u_lI’ve been e-mailing James and Matt during the day asking about their HSDPA bandwidth speeds on the HTC Advantage. I’m sold on adding another 3G modem to the stables here since I gave up my Verizon EV-DO modem almost a year ago. The Sierra Wireless 875u has my eye right now since it’s a USB modem that will work on both Mac and Windows PCs for me. Plus, it’s a Class 6 HSDPA device which supports download speeds at up to 3.6 Mbps; real world speeds are likely to be half of that (at best) depending on coverage areas.

The HTC Advantages are showing speeds around 700 kbps for the guys, which is nearly what I had with EV-DO, so I’m all set to add the new modem as early as tomorrow. But wait. Now an HSUPA modem just crossed over from the land beyond the FCC. HSUPA supports up to double the HSDPA download and up to 1.5 Mbps upload, provided the network is equipped to support it. Buy or wait? Wait or buy? Oh it’s a cruel, cruel mobile world….and yet another reason I strongly dislike two-year contracts; the technology is changing much faster than 24-month cycles. I may end up buying this for the full $299 price to avoid the contract; with contract it’s $149.99. To add insult to injury, there is a $100 rebate but that’s only applicable with the two-year commitment. With the tech cycle churning faster and faster, I think it’s time for the Feds to look into the length of contract terms….