Operators speeding up 3G networks, says survey

A majority of global telecom operators with 3G mobile phone networks have agreed to install an upgrade that makes their networks three to five times faster, a survey, quoted by a Reuters report, said.

A faster version of the 3G networks, called HSDPA, was already commercially available on 14 networks in countries such as Austria, Finland, Bulgaria, Germany, Israel, Kuwait, Portugal, South Africa and the United States, the GSM Association said in a market update for the end of March, the report said.

The Reuters report said the GSM Association noted that 79 of a total 105 W-CDMA networks in 43 countries had been or would be upgraded to HSDPA, an increase of 60% in five months.

Operators wanted their subscribers to use their 3G networks because the technology could squeeze more phone calls and data traffic in the available radio spectrum, enabling them to serve more customers, the report said.

They also hoped sales from data services would offset the falling prices for voice calls, the report added.