Ericsson's High-Speed Day

Swedish infrastructure vendor Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s top brass were out in force on the New York waterfront Wednesday to tell attendees at its Capital Markets Day that high-speed 3G is here to stay. The firm, which usually holds this event in its homeland, decided to take the show on the road to coincide with the arrival of its Ericsson VO 70 sailboat in the Big Apple on the latest leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Matters nautical, however, where not foremost in the mind of Ericsson CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg. He was at the Embassy Suites Hotel to talk up Ericsson's position as a leading supplier of High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) technology.

"Doubts over whether 3G is happening are something we don't hear any more," Svanberg told the crowd, which included the King of Sweden. "Now carriers are asking us how they can get to HSDPA."

Ericsson CTO Haakan Eriksson says that testing of the data rates available over Cingular Wireless HSDPA network, for which the Swedish firm is the major kit provider, reveals download rates of 1 Mbit/s.

The firm is already testing "HSDPA Evolved" and next generation OFDM technology, which will both use multiple antenna technology to increase data rates. The firm has already shown 20-Mbit/s data transmissions using a two-antenna HSDPA system at the recent CTIA show in Las Vegas.

So, why this insistence on speeds and feeds, surely a few more megabits here and there doesn't really make much difference to the average user? Not so, according to Eriksson.

"Speed matters," he says.

This is partly because Ericsson and the carriers are now competing against technologies outside of cellular. Eriksson made the link implict by asking who would need to search to find a WiFi signal now that 3G was reaching broadband speeds.

"Now you can have your coffee anywhere," he quipped.

He also hinted that -- although Ericsson has WiMax on its roadmap slides, the broadband technology will be overtaken by 3G. "I don't think we'll see [mobile] WiMax until 2008... HSDPA is already here."

Eriksson had already made his viewpoint clear on what network would be handling more traffic in the future in an earlier one-on-one with Unstrung. "More and more traffic will be handled over the cellular network because that gives you freedom," he says.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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