On the same day Vodafone’s ‘3G broadband’ service went live T-Mobile has been trying to refocus the world’s attention on it by announcing the timeframe for its own HSDPA service.
1 August is the highly specific day in question though the carrier admits that while theoretical performance may be as high as 1.8Mbps real world data rates are likely to be closer to 1Mbps. That said, this figure still triples the best output users can expect from existing 3G connections which, in truth, often trundle along at much slower speeds than their purported 384Kbps.
In terms of future proofing HSDPA is also an infinitely more scaleable technology than 3G and T-Mobile has laid out some impressive targets for the road ahead. It claims by 2007 we will already be seeing new theoretical maximums of 3.6Mbps which will rise to 7.2Mbps in 2008. By the end of 2008/beginning of 2009 this figure will have leapt again to 10Mbps and we’ll all be going download/video on demand crazy.
Coming back to the present however the biggest weapon T-Mobile has in its HSDPA arsenal is price. Vodafone’s newly live service is going costs £29.35 including VAT for 250MB per month or £52.87 including VAT for unlimited usage. Compare that with T-Mobile’s £17 flat rate Web n’ Walk tariff and six weeks behind or not, there is only likely to be one winner.
So how ready are we? Well, T-Mobile has been quietly flogging its customers HSDPA capable data cards since May so many will be able to benefit from the faster rates from day one. Those with older cards should check with the network to see whether they are entitled to an upgrade or are eligible for a contract renewal from which the cards become free.
This will be no problem for me though – I’ve already got my greasy mitts on a free sim journalist edition of T-Mobile’s HSDPA card and I’m all ready to let rip. Naturally enough Riyad also has one (and got his hands on it first) but I’ve gotten used to my honourable second places…
The company just tacked on a rather reasonable deal for pay-as-you-go customers. Again from 1 August PAYG users will be able to access the Web n' Walk service for a maximum daily charge of £1. Up until that point data is charged per kilobyte with no more costs levied after surpassing the £1 barrier. Sounds like another winner to me.