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Orange kicks off HSDPA trial in France

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Orange France has become the latest mobile outfit to trial a high-speed mobile network service based on HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) technology.

Around 150 business users in Lyon, France's second largest city, are trialling the service which is providing mobile broadband at speeds of up to 1.8 meg - four times faster than is currently available.

Those punters taking part in the pilot are checking out whether the service really does provide high-speed mobile access capable of supporting services such as high-quality live TV, video on demand and MP3 streaming.

If successful, Orange France expects to launch the service commercially in the second half of 2006.

Last week Vodafone announced plans to trial its souped-up 3G service next month in the UK ahead of a commercial launch of the service later this year.

The HSDPA service has already been tested in Newbury, but now the mobile giant plans to enlist the help of 100 firms in central London to put the service through its paces. If successful, Vodafone plans to begin rolling out the HSDPA service from the summer with punters within the M25 first to get their hands on the mobile broadband service. Other major UK towns and cities should be wired up by the end of the year. ®

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