Vodafone hasn’t been having the best of times recently but has now come out swinging with news that its HSDPA service will go live on 22 June.
From Thursday UK residents in Greater London (within the M25), Glasgow, Sheffield, Greater Manchester and Tyneside (howay the Toon!) will all benefit from ‘3G broadband’ (the rather more elegant term Vodafone is using for HSDPA) which offers peak download speeds of up to 1.4Mbps. This is almost three times the rate of the existing 3G service while HSDPA uploads speeds can hit nearly 384Kbps.
John Delaney, Principal Analyst with Ovum, was understandably glowing about the development particularly in reference to the professional arena. "Businesses should welcome the availability of faster 3G networks in the UK,” he said, quoting from the Great Book of Common Sense. “The speeds that HSDPA can deliver under real-life operating conditions will significantly improve the mobile working experience, enabling mobile workers to do things more quickly and easily. Employers in some industry sectors should expect to see some real productivity gains as a result."
Chirpiness aside, one area where Vodafone may fall down is price. While costs for the new service remain consistent with its existing 3G data plans (250MB per month for £25 ex VAT, £45 ex VAT for unlimited usage) T-Mobile recently told me its impending HSDPA service will offer unlimited usage for just £17 per month ex VAT. A specific date for the T-Mobile launch isn’t yet known but such a gaping price differential will probably persuade all bar a few obsessive early adopters to bide their time. 3 also isn’t far away from its own implementation.
Cash squabbles aside however the good news is HSDPA/3G broadband/whatever-the-other-networks-call-it is finally here and I think we can all agree its not a moment too soon…
All mobile data cards now issued by Vodafone are HSDPA enabled though users with older cards should check with the company to see whether they are capable of handling the increased data speeds.