HSDPA will dominate mobile broadband, WiMax to go niche

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wifi.pngBroadband on mobile phones will continue to grow in popularity as coverage and speed improve. A new study by Arthur D Little suggests that HSDPA will become the dominant method of delivering high-speed Net access to mobile devices, receiving the most investment over the next 5 years. WiMax, on the other hand, will be a niche player.

HSDPA is seen as a natural progression from GSM and UMTS for those operators already running 3G networks. It is a less risky and better understood method of achieving mobile broadband speeds close to that of first-generation fixed broadband services.

Michael Natusch, head of Arthur D. Little’s UK TIME (Telecoms, IT, Media and Electronics) practice, said: “The momentum in HSDPA deployments has been stimulated by competition from other broadband wireless technologies and by the prospect of competition from mobile WiMax. However, there is as yet no convincing real-world evidence of the actual relative performances of these technologies in large scale deployments. Nevertheless, it is likely that these two technologies will achieve comparable levels of performance in typical real-world situations, contrary to the notion that mobile WiMax should be regarded as a “Killer” technology.”

The survey shows that WiMax could achieve a greater theoretical peak in data transfer rates than current HSDPA technology can – maybe 4 to 5 times as much. However, WiMax coverage from a single base station is lower than that of HSDPA.

The study claims to assess all the factors, strategic, competitive, commercial, regulatory and political as well as technological that influence operators’ choices of wireless network technology. Whilst other articles have concluded that WiMax will wipe the floor with HSDPA, this study suggests that HSDPA is more likely to gain widespread adoption.

(Via Cellular News)

Andy Merrett