Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM ) being elected to 3G Americas' 16-company board signifies not only their continued leadership in the mobile markets but also solidifies the fact that Qualcomm's technologies are seen as pivotal going forward into technologies like HSPA and LTE. This also is a factor when considering the fact that Qualcomm now has probably one of the most prolific smartphone chips out there right now running on all types of networks implemented on various types of wireless technologies ranging from the HTC HD2 on GSM and the HTC Incredible on CDMA to the HTC Evo on Sprint's CDMA/WiMax. Their expertise is mentioned time and time again by various executives as the biggest reason why they've been elected to join this important group.
Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas added:
"Qualcomm's market success coupled with its expertise in 3GPP technologies including HSPA and LTE will fill an essential role in adding to the ecosystem of companies currently serving our board. With the support of Qualcomm, an inventive leader in wireless, 3G Americas will continue to foster tremendous wireless technology advances throughout North, Central and South America."
Right now, HSPA+ will fill a very big hole that will exist within the GSM networks of companies like T-Mobile and AT&T (NYSE: T ) . The biggest reason is because companies like Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) and Sprint (NYSE: S ) will be delivering a combination of LTE and WiMax which can deliver much better speeds than what current US 3G networks are capable of. So, what will happen over the evolution of these GSM networks will be the adoption of HSPA+ which will have a theoretical maximum of 21mbps. Nobody expects anyone to actually obtain those kinds of speeds on any network anytime soon. We expect to see a broadening of HSPA+ by AT&T and T-Mobile to speeds around where Sprint's current WiMax is delivering or faster and use that as the fall back network once they begin to roll out LTE in the next few years. We expect to see Qualcomm as a company who will be intimately involved in the evolution of these networks from plain jane 3G through HSPA+ and finally to LTE. We fully expect more operators to continue to switch to LTE as their go-to 4G standard, but are still a bit skeptical of the other technologies out there such as WiMax which still have yet to gain much traction beyond a small group of carriers.
The 3G Americas press release goes further in mentioning that the flexibility in the advancements within the 3GPP family of technologies offers operators continued technology evolutions to HSPA+ and LTE for higher-speed mobile broadband performance and capacity improvements. Currently, there are 56 HSPA+ networks in 34 countries throughout the world including Rogers in Canada and T-Mobile USA in the United States. Although, we at BSN* have to mention that currently there are very few markets where HSPA+ is available but there are plans for many more in the future. The same statement also goes for AT&T, but their roll-out has just begun. Additionally, LTE continues to progress as the de facto next-generation wireless technology of choice with an expected 23 commercial deployments by year-end 2010 and more than 100 operators across the globe expressing intentions to someday deploy LTE mobile broadband networks.
So, as we expected this announcement is not only a reflection of Qualcomm's involvement and leadership in the 3G/4G space, but also a reflection of the 3GPP's efforts to unify carriers and manufacturers to the point where promotion and implementation of 3.5G and 4G technologies will be smooth and successful.