The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) is reporting that the number of countries where HSDPA mobile broadband networks are planned, in deployment or launched has now reached 50. An evolution of the W-CDMA standard, High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) is a new mobile telephony protocol that provides a smooth evolutionary path for UMTS networks, increasing the available data rate by a factor of 5 or more. The GSA estimates that at least 63 HSDPA networks will have commercially launched by the end 2006.
Not to be outdone by the GSA in HSDPA news, Vodafone UK has announced today that it is launching its 3G upgrade for several cities within the UK. Greater London (within the M25), Glasgow, Sheffield, Greater Manchester and Tyneside will be the first major UK cities to experience the HSDPA network upgrade. Best of all, Vodafone does not plan to charge a premium over standard 3G services for the HSDPA upgrade.