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Vodafone cranks up 3G data rates for autumn

IF you're in Central London or an airport

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Vodafone will be pushing its HSDPA network to a possible 7.2Mb/sec download speed and introducing HSUPA to increase uploading to a possible 1.44Mb/sec, during the autumn as it tries to boost corporate data usage.

HSUPA (High Speed Upload Packet Access) is the partner to HSDPA, and has been promised for a while. T-Mobile and 3 have announced UK deployments during 2007, while Orange will bring the technology in next year.

Most operators will concentrate on London and airports first, though as those areas are already well covered with Wi-fi hot-spots they may find the environment competitive. Wi-fi offers higher speeds, but the simplicity of being able to always connect to the same network, and flat-rate billing, may well convince customers that "Super-3G", as the combination of technologies are known, is fast enough.

Real speeds won't be close to the theoretical limits, of course, but should be significantly faster than current 3G technologies at least for anyone in the centre of London(*) or at a major airport (strangely, including Norwich).

Kit to take advantage of the new network will be available on September 3rd. This means one USB Modem and a couple of ExpressCards initially, with one of the latter marketed at corporate networks.

It's really corporate users who will benefit from the increased upload speed of HSUPA. Most applications generate a lot more download traffic, though even amongst that demographic it's not clear how important upload speeds are. ®

*Vodafone defines central London as being E1, E1W, E14, EC1, EC2, EC3, EC4, NW1, SW1, W1, W2, W8, W9, W10, W11, W14, WC1, WC2: so everyone else isn't central.

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