DoCoMo Delays HSDPA
HSDPA is a packet-based data service evolved from, and backwards compatible with, earlier Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA) air interface standards, which offer realistic data transfer rates of around 300 to 400 kbit/s.
Used with existing W-CDMA networks, HSDPA-compliant handsets and base stations are intended to crank up transfer rates. HSDPA is a standardized feature in the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)’s Release 5 specification, introduced in August 2002 (see Release 5 to the 3G Rescue). DoCoMo was one of the first carriers to trial HSDPA technology back in 2003 as an attempt to battle rival KDDI Corp.’s success with CDMA2000 1x EV-DO networks (see DoCoMo Cranks Up 3G).
According to an analyst note, DoCoMo is not expecting to launch commercial HSDPA services until the second half of 2006, potentially trailing European carrier launches (see MMO2 Preps for HSDPA). “At an analyst lunch on Friday, NTT DoCoMo admitted that it had delayed its roll out plans for HSDPA by one year until H2 calendar 2006,” writes Dr Richard Windsor of Nomura Holdings Inc..
“Given the competitive pressure in Japan it seems unlikely that NTT DoCoMo would delay HSDPA voluntarily as it is required to compete on even terms with KDDI’s EV-DO service. This, combined with our existing suspicions of technical problems with HSDPA, leads us to believe that this delay is technical in nature.”
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERICY) and NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY; Tokyo: 6701) are infrastructure suppliers to DoCoMo’s W-CDMA network.
A DoCoMo spokesman could not confirm such reports by press time.
— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung