Vodafone tests 20 Mbps mobile broadband

Operator raises the prospect of higher network performance but only for customers in selected places

In a move that could ultimately prove very popular to mobile computing users, Vodafone is testing a 3G HSPA+ mobile broadband connection that could deliver maximum download speeds of 20 Mbps.

Using technology supplied by Ericsson, Huawei and Qualcomm, Vodafone claims to have achieved one of the fastest 3G data connections currently possible during field trials of the HSPA+ MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology on its southern Spanish network and in the centre of Madrid

Vodafone has already tested HSPA+ 64QAM technology which delivered peak speeds of 16 Mbps in a test environment. The conclusion was that the technology was particularly suitable for suburban and rural locations. At present the top mobile broadband data rate offered commercially by Vodafone is 7.2 Mbps. However, the very high speed mobile broadband will almost certainly be offered commercially  at select locations only.   

In the latest test, Vodafone says that the current finding s indicate HSPA+ MIMO as a good candidate for delivering an enhanced mobile broadband experience. The operator sees that the technology could well prove to be very useful in hotspots such as business districts and airports, where customers are offered higher data rates in line with demand.

“Breaking the 20 Mbps peak speed barrier in tests through HSPA+ MIMO is yet another key milestone in the evolution of 3G Mobile Broadband technology and raises the prospect of higher network performance for our customers in selected hotspots,” explained  Andy MacLeod, Global Networks Director of Vodafone. 

Even though the test results look positive, for a mobile computing end user’s perspective, deploying 64QAM and MIMO technology will require purchasing new HSPA+-compatible  mobile broadband devices. Vodafone says it is working with its device vendors on the trialing, testing and validation of these devices ready for commercial availability.



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