Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Data on the double

The Australian writes about the need for more mobile data speed and new technology beyond 3G such as "High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), which can be incorporated relatively cheaply into existing 3G networks and increases speeds by a multiple of between four and 30, depending on network configuration, type of device, processor speed, and other random variables such as wind direction and degree of marketing desperation."

Gartner analyst Nick Ingelbrecht said, "We've seen a lot of interest among enterprise users for web browsing, corporate intranets and email. It's not huge, it's a premium market for high-volume users who are prepared to pay for mobility."

Ingelbrecht noted that for consumers, the prospects are still pretty limited. He said, "Busi-ness users are quite opportunistic. They'll use it if it's easy to configure and won't blow a huge hole in the budget."

The article notes that in Australia, "Optus and Vodafone, which share one national 3G network, will begin HSDPA trials this month, and will spend more than $100 million on the upgrade. Hutchison aims to have its HSDPA roll-out complete in the first third of 2007, although upgrades to enhance the speed will continue through 2009, while Telstra wants its new 3G service up and running before the end of this year."

Forrester Research analyst Jenny Lau said, "For launches, 2006 will be the year of HSDPA, but don't expect mass adoption."

According to article, "the first targets for HSDPA upgrades will be existing 3G data card users, but many market watchers speculate that plug-in data cards will be replaced in the long run by direct connections through an existing mobile phone."

Ingelbrecht said, "We've got two schools of thought on this. Major vendors like Nokia see the future of access being via mobile phones connected by Bluetooth or USB. The data card manufacturers see the need for stronger PC integration."

Forrester analyst Niek van Veen thouhgt that "a common risk for all providers is that customers who are the first to adopt new mobile services, such as HSDPA, are also the first to abandon them."

Ingelbrecht said, "I don't see that there's going to be a revolution in communications as a result of HSDPA. It's a steady evolution of functionality. It's not just about new services, it's about trying to improve the overall user experience.

He added, "All-you-can-eat data plans are inevitable, it's just a matter of time. It will depend entirely on competitive pressures. Once the first one does it, they'll all have to."