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CDMA EVDO Rev A, HSDPA and more

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 31-Aug-2006 12:23

Last night I attended the Wellington Wireless Wednesday meeting, organised by the New Zealand Wireless and Broadband Data Forum (and yes there's an Auckland version of these meetings).

It was a full house, and this time the group used the events room at Lone Star Wellington. Great meeting, and Lucent Technologies was running the bar tab.

The main topic was the Telecom New Zealand upcoming introduction of CDMA EVDO Rev A. We had a presentation by Mike Hobby, from Lucent Technologies, who did a pretty good job of explaining the CDMA evolution.

According to Lucent, those are the numbers (down/up) we have defined by the standards:

CDMA EVDO Rev 0: 2.4Mbps/155Kbps
CDMA EVDO Rev A: 3.1Mbps/1.8Mbps
CDMA EVDO Rev B: 73.5Mbps/27Mbps
CDMA EVDO Rev C: 129Mbps/75.6Mbps

In real world CDMA EVDO Rev 0 (which we have here in New Zealand now) provides about 400-600Kbps downstream. He thinks CDMA EVDO Rev A should provide about 600-800Kbps, although in some tests (empty network, close to cell site) they got some pretty good numbers.

Also during the talk it was confirmed that Telecom New Zealand will launch their CDMA EVDO Rev A network by December 2006. This is after the Vodafone New Zealand HSDPA launch, which has just been confirmed for 12 September.

If you are lucky though and have a HSDPA device in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch, go on, start using it. I understand the networks is currently up and running.

So what's the HSDPA speeds? Initial deployment is 1.8Mbps/384Kbps, but Vodafone told me they are planning to have it bumped up to 3.6Mbps at launch. This is something to see. Also, as usual, this is the theoretical maximum speed, and as in any other technology only achievable under optimum conditions. A loaded network is a different story, and considering that HSDPA "breathes", in other words, more users means less coverage.

While we are covering, er, coverage... Apparently TUANZ (Telecommunication Users Association NZ) had a meeting just the night before and Vodafone New Zealand was the showcase. Rightly so, because of their HSDPA offering to be soon unveiled. It seems they talked about coverage on that meeting, and someone present in both meetings asked the same question to Telecom: since both claim to cover 99% of the New Zealand population with cellular services, how much is actually covered by 3G services? It seems that Vodafone New Zealand is behind, with 45%, while Telecom New Zealand claims 75%.

And talking about Vodafone New Zealand... I am still to see HSDPA in real life. I had a meeting in Auckland with their business folks and a nice demo, and two lunches here in Wellington with people involved on these deployments or equipment. So far I only heard the promises, but no one could come forward and say "Here, take this HSDPA card and try it and let people know what you think".

Back to Telecom New Zealand. An interesting comment from Mike Hobby, about WCDMA LTE (which is supposed to come after HSDPA and HSUPA), is that it would use the same technologies as CDMA EV-DO Rev C (which is not ratified yet). So, in essence, sometime in the future, WCDMA and CDMA EV can join? Interesting to see what happens.

Anyway, last night Telecom New Zealand gave away a CDMA EV-DO Rev A card to a lucky person in the audience, plus some free data. They must be getting close to testing this soon.





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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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