The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has welcomed the decision by the European Parliament to accept the amendment of the GSM Directive to allow UMTS (WCDMA-HSPA) technology to be deployed in the 900 MHz band. The political agreement for this new move was reached by the European Parliament on 24th March 2009.
According to a press release from the GSA, Mobile broadband services enabled by WCDMA-HSPA technology have been successfully deployed throughout the world and are a huge success. There are 120 live HSPA commercial systems in the European Union alone, and 259 systems launched in 111 countries worldwide, according to GSA’s latest research. Deploying HSPA mobile broadband systems in the 900 MHz band (UMTS900) brings substantial efficiencies and lower costs for network operators because lower frequencies travel further and penetrate buildings more easily than the higher frequencies (2100 MHz) which most 3G systems currently use. As a result, 900 MHz is an ideal band for extending the benefits of broadband connectivity to rural and semi-urban areas, thus helping to bridge the digital divide, and is a perfect complement to 2100 MHz systems, which ensure the capacity layer.
Alan Hadden, President, GSA said: “This groundbreaking spectrum agreement in Brussels enables more Europeans to benefit from mobile broadband services. It is a clear signal to all regulators (NRAs) to prepare the path in their respective markets for a new wave of HSPA deployments in the 900 MHz band.”
According to GSA’s latest research, eight UMTS900-HSPA systems are now in commercial service in Europe, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific region. GSA recently announced that 115 HSPA/mobile broadband devices capable of operating at 900 MHz (as well as 2100 MHz) are already launched by manufacturers, and this frequency combination is becoming commonplace for products destined for European and APAC markets.
HSPA Mobile Broadband in Africa
The GSA HSPA Operator Commitments survey in January 2009 reveals that 10 HSPA operators have commercially launched mobile broadband services in North Africa. HSDPA is commerically available in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. HSDPA is at a pilot trial/testing stage in Senegal. The survey also reveals that 2 HSUPA commercial networks are already launched in Egypt.