Better latency gets HSPA closer to fixed broadband

Improved latency and speeds increased to a theoretical 21M bps will help mobile broadband compete with ADSL, the head of 3 Scandinavia says.

Mobile broadband will move closer to competing with ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) on more equal terms when latency improves and data speeds increase to a theoretical 21M bps (bits per second), according to Peder Ramel, CEO of mobile operator 3 Scandinavia.

High Speed Packet Access Evolution, also known as HSPA+, Evolved HSPA or HSPA Evolved, is the technology that will make the higher speeds and the lower latency possible.

"We see mobile broadband as a direct competitor to ADSL, and our subscribers expect a service that can compare to ADSL," said Ramel in an interview.

The upgrade to HSPA Evolution will help get closer to that goal. "Using the 21M bps service we get roughly the same latency as on ADSL, which means it is about half as long as what we have today on 7.2 M bps," said Ramel.

The drop in latency and the increase in speed will have an equal effect on how much faster the connection feels for subscribers, according to Ramel.

On Monday, 3 Scandinavia joined a growing list of operators, including Telstra in Australia and StarHub in Singapore, that are planning to release commercial services as soon as they can get their hands on some modems.

"We are upgrading our network now, but there won't be any modems available before the second quarter next year," said Ramel.

Sierra Wireless is right now ahead with the development of these kinds of modems, but 3 is also talking to its supplier, Huawei, according to Ramel.

He isn't as worried about the lack of phones that support HSPA Evolution. "It will be great when that arrives, and it eventually will, but it isn't as important as modems. When phones start to get support for 7.2M bps you see a big difference, but if it has 7.2 or 21 doesn't matter that much, as I see it today," said Ramel.

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