Alcatel today announced that Orange launched the initial phase of their live HSDPA(1) services in the Paris area with Alcatel's radio access solution. At first, Orange friendly users located in Issy-les-Moulineaux and Boulogne-Billancourt, two major cities in the Paris region, will test true mobile broadband services including very high-speed Internet access and fast download of video clips. Following the first HSDPA call performed at the end of 2005, these life-size tests pave the way for the future commercial opening of Orange's services in Europe.
In February 2005 Orange committed to actively preparing the deployment of Mobile Very High-Speed solutions. By significantly boosting downlink speeds together with cell capacity, the Alcatel Evolium HSDPA solution enables Orange to meet the growing user demand for DSL-like broadband services while on the move, offering high-speed internet access and fast download of video clips or bulky files, as well as improving the user's mobile TV experience.
Thanks to its built-in software modularity, the Alcatel Evolium radio access solution allows a simplified activation of HSDPA, through reuse of the Alcatel hardware equipment already deployed and currently providing optimized quality of service in Orange's 3G/UMTS network. Similarly, the Alcatel radio infrastructure will allow a smooth software-based introduction of HSUPA(2), uplink equivalent of HSDPA, when the Orange markets require this functionality, thus enabling a future-safe and cost-effective path for the operator.
Alcatel's base stations also deliver best-in-breed processing power and radio characteristics, making them particularly well-suited for indoor coverage where the need for bandwidth is both high and bursty. This will offer Orange a major opportunity to capitalize on the wireless access indoor market, enabling business users on the move to quickly retrieve e-mails with bulky attachments, not to mention broadband wireless Internet access.
"HSDPA will further improve the success of 3G, delivering increased bandwidth capabilities necessary to accommodate the market uptake of high-speed mobile applications, amongst which content downloads and mobile TV. Software-up-gradable radio solutions such as the Alcatel one are a cost effective response to operators' requirements for HSDPA introduction," said Vincent Poulbere, Senior Analyst at Ovum.
"HSDPA is a key technology for making mobile broadband possible. It represents the next important evolution step for our 3G/UMTS commercial networks, " said Vivek Badrinath, Executive Vice President, Products, Technology and Innovation, Orange Group. "As per our current tests, Alcatel's HSDPA solution is demonstrating its merits both in terms of performance and commercial readiness. We are confident that Alcatel's continuous support and world class technology will help us in building out and operating our network efficiently, as well as in enabling us to cost- effectively introduce innovative and revenue-generating HSDPA services later this year."
"The successful progress of our HSDPA field trial with Orange reflects the close and long-standing partnership between our two companies. It is also another signal of market recognition of Alcatel's technical innovation to enable mobile broadband," said Marc Rouanne, President of Alcatel's mobile communications activities. "Providing them with our HSDPA solution will allow Orange to bring significant added value over 3G/UMTS, and to stay ahead of customer demand and satisfaction."
Alcatel's Evolium HSDPA solution provides mobile operators and mobile users alike with the maximum benefits of HSDPA. Beyond the QPSK modulation (up to 3.6 Mb/s), which is mandatory according to 3GPP specifications, the Alcatel solution natively delivers the optional 16QAM modulation (up to 14.4 Mb/s), and seamlessly supports from day one all terminal categories such as Categories 8 and 10 (7.2 Mb/s and 14.4 Mb/s respectively). When in commercial use, the actual average user data throughput of Alcatel's HSDPA solution will immediately allow data rates from 2 to 3Mb/s, i.e. from five to eight times more than the current 3G/UMTS 384 kb/s maximum throughput.
Since February 2005, Alcatel has carried out interoperability tests between its Alcatel Evolium multi-standard mobile network infrastructure solution and Qualcomm's HSDPA-enabled chipsets. More recently, similar tests have been successfully undertaken with Samsung handsets. Alcatel is also partnering on interoperability testing with Novatel Wireless Inc and Option International, two world leaders in the booming market of wireless PC Data Cards, residential gateways and embedded modules. As of today, Alcatel successfully completed Category 6 HSDPA calls (with 3.6Mb/s data rates) using its commercially-available infrastructure and devices from Samsung, Novatel Wireless and Option International.
(1) (2) High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) is a generic term adopted by the UMTS Forum to refer to improvements in the UMTS Radio Interface. HSPA refers to both the improvements made in the UMTS downlink, often referred to as High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) and the improvements made in the uplink, often referred to as High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA). Part of the evolutionary path of 3G enhancements to the GSM technology family it results in higher data transfer speeds, improved spectral efficiency and greater system capacity for GSM operators. For users, HSPA will unlock a world of mobile broadband multimedia services.