Vodafone Portugal unit unveils HSPDA

Vodafone's Portuguese unit began the commercial rollout of its HSPDA service for portable computers, a Dow Jones report said.

Dow Jones quoted Antonio Coimbra, VP of Vodafone Portugal, as saying that the launch was one of the first in Europe, with the high-speed service so far available only in Germany and Austria.

Also known as '3.5G,' the HSPDA service allows users to access the Internet via Vodafone's mobile network at speeds of up to 1.8Mbps, or around three times the maximum speed of 3G access, the report said.

Coimbra also said Vodafone will initially sell data cards for portable computers that can use the HSPDA service, with handsets becoming available later this year as manufacturers start to ship them.

He said Vodafone Portugal has around 500,000 3G users, with more than 20,000 using the current generation of 3G data cards.

Vodafone's Portuguese rivals, Portugal Telecom SGPS S/A's TMN and Sonaecom SGPS S/A's (SON.LB) Optimus, have also announced plans to launch 3.5G services, the report said.