Format for Printing

Format for printing

Request Reprints


By Bdaz
July 21, 2005

Posts selected for this feature rarely stand alone. They are usually a part of an ongoing thread, and are out of context when presented here. The material should be read in that light. How are these posts selected? Click here to find out and nominate a post yourself!

This seems to be an anxious day where some are using the time to speculate forward. I usually leave the numbers to others better inclined and reserve my speculations to business plans. For the last eight months the wireless future has been too cloudy to form any kind of opinion of what is in store. But now I see those clouds clearing and some technology realities and business strategies forming.

Before technologies are deployed it is all about hype. Once they are deployed the hype is replaced by realities. Europe used to be the place to look for the strategies of the wireless future, but I now see it as Korea and the U.S. What is happening here is a microcosm of the near future (current to two years out) of what is and will be the world wireless strategy. With EVDO deployed and performing well by VZ and Sprint soon to follow, Cingular has already realized that WCDMA in its present form will not compete well with EVDO. They are moving straight to HSDPA which will in short order cause VZ and Sprint to move as quickly as possible to the EVDO upgrade.

A little about HSDPA. It is still WCDMA, but a much faster version:

The HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) standard marks a similar leap forward for WCDMA and UMTS as EDGE does for GSM in terms of data transmission speed and capacity, essential for 3G evolution. Current field-proven 3G downlink speeds of about 384 kbps (up to 2 Mbps possible according to standards) will be boosted to 14Mbps (maximum value according to standards) with the first-generation HSDPA systems, enabling operators to support a considerably larger number of high data-rate users on a single radio carrier and ensure data-hungry subscribers get the best experience with innovative and existing multimedia services.

For the past decade Europe has been unified in its business plan. To carry forward the traditional would mean Europe uniformly moving to WCDMA and then after a period of time uniformly upgrading to HSDPA. But I think this will no longer be the case. I foresee a more capitalistic, free enterprise system taking hold. The unfolding events will resemble the current U.S. situation. There will not be EVDO, but there will be a carrier (or more) planning the quick upgrade to HSDPA over the slower WCDMA. The upgrade process is a simple software solution and has already been programmed. Note the following:

"The flexibility of Alcatel's HSDPA solution, implying a software-only upgrade, will help us accelerate the availability of HSDPA for 3G subscribers worldwide."

One carrier having the superior HSDPA capability will force the other carriers to follow as quickly as possible. Anyone lagging behind will be left behind. This will be good for the consumer and good for all wireless companies and investors. True 3G applications with great performance will finally be available. These apps will be outstandingly appealing, enough to truly start a new generation of replacement cycles and upgrades by the consumer. Much bigger than the 2.5G generation, because the performance will cause a newer and much larger generation of laptop and pocket PC buyers to join the ranks of wireless communications.

How advanced is this technology in terms of testing and deployment? Very. It's just around the corner.

Paris and San Diego, July 20, 2005 - Alcatel (Paris: CGEP.PA and NYSE: ALA) and Novatel Wireless, Inc. (Nasdaq: NVTL), today announced that both companies have completed thorough interoperability tests between Alcatel Evolium� radio access infrastructure and the Novatel Wireless' Merlin U740� Wireless PC Card Modem in order to enable mobile operators worldwide to undertake live HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) field introductions.
These introductions will leverage the HSDPA interoperability tests already carried out by Alcatel and QUALCOMM, between Alcatel's Evolium� radio access infrastructure and QUALCOMM's Mobile Station Modem� (MSM�) MSM6275� chipset. Furthermore, this chipset was integrated by Novatel Wireless to expand its portfolio

Sooo look for Euro carriers breaking ranks to get to the good stuff. Look for wireless chip makers and handset companies to join QCOM in focusing more on HSDPA and less on the current WCDMA. Look for the true next generation to be HSDPA and the new releases of EVDO and beyond.
Have to go now the stock is going crazy :)

Become a Complete Fool
Join the best community on the web! Becoming a full member of the Fool Community is easy, takes just a minute, and is very inexpensive.