HSPA Just Keeps Going and Going to 168 Mbps

Ericsson (s eric) said today that it achieved downlink speeds of 168 Mbps on HSPA wireless networks using spectrum banding technology that combines different chunks of spectrum to deliver service for use with some slightly tweaked consumer devices. The network equipment maker said it had managed to achieve the 168 Mbps on the download side and could deliver 24 Mbps on the uplink side using a prototype consumer device and commercial network equipment. It also said it could achieve speeds of 84Mbps using commercial network products and speeds of 42 Mbps using today’s network and consumer hardware.

This is good news for HSPA and for certain wireless operators, especially those such as T-Mobile which were late rolling out 3G networks and are now planning to compete against faster LTE networks by rolling out 42 Mbps HSPA services this year. The means by which Ericsson has done this are arcane, but it boils down to combining different bands of spectrumfor service and having different equipment inside the handsets and dongles that consumers use. That means those speed gains won’t be available to everyone unless they buy new devices. However, operators could benefit because they can buy smaller, isolated spectrum bands to boost their capacity. Announcements like this make me wonder if HSPA is set to become the copper of the wireless world — a technology so entrenched that nothing seems to boot it.

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