Mobile operator 3 Scandinavia signed a deal with Ericsson to roll out broadband at 42 Mbps and then 84 Mbps in its Swedish and Danish 3G networks.
The technology that will make the higher speeds possible is HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) Evolution, also known as HSPA+ or Evolved HSPA.
The availability of modems will decide when services are launched. The modems, which will be dongles that consumers plug into a USB port, are expected to arrive between September and November, said Peder Ramel, CEO at 3 Scandinavia. Users can expect peak speeds at up to 30 Mbps, according to Hans Beijner, product marketing manager at Ericsson.
Leif-Olof Wallin, research vice president at Gartner, is a bit more pessimistic, saying increased traffic on the networks could negatively impact speeds. " I think it will be difficult to get above 20 [Mbps]," he said.
Ericsson's base stations already support 42 Mbps, and an upgrade to 84 Mbps will arrive during the fourth quarter, Beijner said. Work has also started on HSPA Evolution at 168 Mbps, according to Ericsson.
Today, HSPA offers a theoretical maximum download speed of 21 Mbps. To double the capacity to 42 Mbps, HSPA Evolution sends data over two carrier frequencies, compared to one for existing networks. The carriers use 5 MHz of spectrum each and they are located next to each other, according to Ericsson.
Three Scandinavia is the first mobile operator to announce plans for an upgrade to 42 Mbps, according to Ericsson. Commercial services based on slower versions of HSPA Evolution are offered on 37 networks around the world, according to statistics from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).