Despite HSDPA hype, WiMax competitive, says provider


Ovum analyst Nathan Burley said HSDPA will pose a major threat to incumbent wireless carriers such as PBA and Unwired, claiming they will find it tough to beat off the mobile operators.

"It is not until 2008 before we get data cards en masse. Then [they] will struggle to compete against HSDPA," he said.

"With four mobile operators in Australia [Optus and Hutchison will soon offer HSDPA services], they will more than likely win the battle," he said.

Unwired CTO Eric Hamilton sees it differently. He says the carriers have been forced to adopt the HSDPA solution because they have no other alternative. Furthermore, he claims the incumbent mobile carriers are attempting to use voice-based technology to try to match the price and performance of the services of existing wireless broadband Internet providers.

"The realities are, of course, that there are limitations," he said. "The uplink capability in HSDPA is no different to 3G, so while the carriers can talk about high speed downloads, uploads are shackled. A true broadband customer uploads approximately about one half of the bytes that he/she downloads, and the total traffic is in the region of 1.5GBs per month. An HSDPA solution will not cope with any reasonable number of customers acting this way." According to Ovum's Burley, as of June this year 9 per cent of Australia mobile phone customers were subscribed to 3G, with 14 per cent expected by the end of December and 31 per cent forecast by the end of next year.