Australia's Telstra looks like being the first mobile operator to
roll out HSPA+, an intermediate set of standards between 3G HSPA and
HSPA+ uses sophisticated radio signalling to boost the data
rate up to 28.8Mbit/s; and it can involve an all-IP architecture where
the base stations essentially become IP routers, simplifying the
network, reducing costs and improving latency.
While the network re-engineering for HSPA+ involves only software upgrades, end-user devices must be HSPA+.
Put simply, the amount of re-engineering and capital cost for HSPA+ is
less than that required for LTE, but LTE will give even more capacity
and performance for the longer run. So some operators will see value in
upgrading to HSPA+ but others will prefer to wait for a few more years
and adopt an LTE strategy.
spoke with Sierra Wireless, which along with Qualcomm, Ericsson and
others, is involved with the implementation of Telstra's HSPA+ Next G
network and the release of the first devices for the standard on
Telstra’s network, an ambition which came a step closer to commercial
reality this week with a public demonstration at Telstra’s Investor
According to Sierra Wireless CEO Jason Cohenour, the
upcoming Australian release of 21Mbps HSPA+ devices – expected to be a
world-first – is spurring new levels of interest in the technology
The new devices are to begin trialling in December, with Telstra
planning to start the upgrade process on its network by year’s end. A
commercial launch is expected to follow in the first part of 2009.
In addition to peak headline speeds of 21Mbps, three times that of
current HSPA devices, the new standard also boasts lower latencies and
more efficient bandwidth use.
Cohenour told CommsDay that the joint efforts of the four firms had
accelerated the development process, triggering a concomitant swell of
interest inHSPA+ around the world.
“We’ve collaborated not only with Telstra but also with Qualcomm and
Ericsson, effectively to start on HSPA+ very early, well ahead of the
market,” he said. “We’re really breaking new ground almost every day in
this development race.”
“As we look around the world in our other markets, about two months ago
there was limited interest in HSPA+ and now, since we’ve announced the
collaboration with Telstra and Qualcomm and Ericsson and it’s looking
much more realistic, we’re getting a lot more interest from operators
around the world.”
Cohenour also noted that Sierra had not shied away from development
investment in the face of the ongoing fiscal crisis. “It hasn’t slowed
down our investment in development and go-to market activities,” he
“While we have to be realistic and cautious about the macro
environment, we also have to realise that these things come in
cycles... and you want to come out of a down-cycle strong, with a fully
loaded pipeline of products so you can take advantage of the upside.”