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The technology we’ll see in a couple years to replace 3G and Telstra NextG

November 8th, 2006 at 02:07pm

Attempt number three! This is an email I sent to 2CC’s Mike Jeffreys yesterday.

Good morning Mike,

Well, just as you suspected and Ian Peters avoided, there is a technology poised to make 3G (aka Telstra NextG) obsolete. The name isn’t as catchy (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access, or HSDPA) but I’m sure Telstra’s marketing people can think of something…”NextG-SuperPlus” perhaps?

Anyway, it’s basically the same offering as 3G, just faster and better integrated with non-phone devices, and much like 3G was years ago, HSDPA is being rolled out in other countires long before it is even a blip on our shores.

Business Week have an article on it at which I have copied in below.

But, as the technology people at Slashdot have noted ( ), this is just one of many such technologies…still, I’m more than happy with a phone which makes a ringing noise and doesn’t have a colour display or take photos or check my emails.

Have a great day Mike,


High-Speed Wireless Dreams
HSDPA may finally deliver a small piece of wireless utopia. We tear down a PC card that can help make it happen

by Arik Hesseldahl

* Next Generation Computing
* Coping with Data Centers in Crisis
* Building a Better Computer
* The Computer of the Future Comes in Walnut
* A Quantum Leap in Data Encryption

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Just when it seemed that the overused wireless catchphrase “3G” might finally fade from memory, new technologies are starting to emerge and stake their own claim to the post-3G zeitgeist. For years 3G, or “third generation,” denoted some future wireless utopia where voice, data, and video would all merge into a wondrous amalgam, marked by snazzy phones that do everything perfectly—and fast.

But there’s a new wireless utopia, and again, it’s about merging voice, data, and all the other stuff at even faster speeds. One of them is known as High-Speed Downlink Packet Access, or HSDPA, and it has started appearing on wireless networks operated by companies such as Vodaphone (VOD) in Europe and Cingular Wireless (a joint venture of AT&T ( T) and BellSouth (BLS)) in the U.S. Meanwhile, South Korea’s Samsung has started building HSDPA-ready phones.
PC Cards

The technology promises wireless speeds as high as 3.6 Mbps but in practice will be much slower than that—fast enough, though, to make wirelessly surfing the Web and downloading music and video worth the effort. That will make it ideal for wireless Internet access on a PC, and manufacturers have started to release PC cards for just that purpose. There are already scores on the market.

Market research firm iSuppli recently took apart one of those cards, the E620, manufactured by Chinese electronics giant Huawei and found that in addition to running fast, it doesn’t cost all that much to make. Vodaphone sells the E620 card in Britain for a price equivalent to about $272. The components inside the card cost about $73, while manufacturing costs amount to about $6 per unit, says iSuppli analyst Andrew Rassweiler.
Chips Ahoy

And while Huawei is certainly making a decent profit given its costs, the big winner in the HSDPA business appears to be wireless chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM). Of the $73 in component costs inside the card, more than $40 worth of chips come from Qualcomm, Rassweiler says. “We’ve been looking inside other cards and some handsets that are HSDPA-ready from LG Electronics and Samsung, and we’re seeing the very same Qualcomm chips every time,” he says. The same set of Qualcomm chips appear in Samsung’s SGH-Z520 and LG’s Chocolate KU-800, the second version of LG’s music-playing phone (see, 9/5/06, “Easy Listening on LG’s Chocolate”).

“Qualcomm for years has had the CDMA side of the wireless business sewn up for itself,” Rassweiler says. “Now it’s looking like with HSDPA, its influence on the wireless industry could increase.” Other companies building HSDPA chips include Texas Instruments (TXN) and Broadcom ( BRCM). Motorola (MOT), Siemens ( SI), and Sierra Wireless (SWIR) are all building HSDPA cards.

Other chips inside the card include Flash memory from Samsung, a USB controller from NEC (NIPNY), and power controller chips from Anadigics ( ANAD) and AVX ( AVX).

ISuppli has forecast shipments of 917,000 HSDPA devices this year, and expects shipments to increase to 87 million units a year by 2010.

Hesseldahl is a reporter for


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