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3G/HSPA

Ericsson Pushes Consumer Broadband Big Bang

Carriers like Verizon Wireless and Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) regularly talk about how wireless broadband will enable a new generation of consumer electronics devices with wide-area wireless onboard. So far, however, there are far more gaming consoles and digital cameras with embedded WiFi than with cellular capabilities.

This may change if Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has anything to do with it. The firm is currently readying a 3G module for small consumer electronics devices that will start shipping in the first quarter of 2010.

Ericsson has already introduced modules aimed at the PC and netbook markets, but this silicon is the first product aimed at smaller mobile Internet devices (MIDs). As well as gaming consoles, these could include GPS navigators and tablet-style devices.

The main difference between the new C3607w and its predecessors is that the new module is smaller, faster, and uses 40 percent less power, according to Jan Backman, director of marketing for Ericsson Mobile Broadband Modules.

The new High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) module offers a notable uplink speed boost over most handsets using the technology. Backman says that it offers a maximum of 7.2 Mbit/s on the downlink and 5.7 Mbit/s upstream, compared to around 1 Mbit/s for most HSPA handsets uploading to compatible networks.

"The mainstream type of handsets wouldn’t need that type of uplink speed," he says, while never quite explaining how Ericsson got more juice out of its module.

The HSPA module will eventually be followed by Long Term Evolution silicon, but Backman says the market doesn't need LTE right away.

"We believe that the mass market for LTE -- especially for PC-type of devices -- is 2011," he tells Unstrung. "Some networks will be ready before that."

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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