Proposed standard aims to boost HSPA to 650 Mbps

T-Mobile USA is, not surprisingly, supporting a proposed standard that will push the data rates of HSPA technology even higher and enable operators to use a hodgepodge of spectrum to do it.

The proposed standard, called Long Term HSPA Evolution, would be the 11th iteration of the HSPA standard and promises peak data rates of 650 Mbps via a 40-megahertz channel. Nokia Siemens Networks made the proposal but Karri Kuoppamaki, head of technology with NSN, told FierceBroadbandWireless that a significant number of companies are in favor of the solution the vendor has proposed.

To significantly push download capacity to several hundred megabits per second, the HSPA proposal calls for combining up to eight channels into one data link. Such a capability would require a 40-megahertz wide channel, but operators would be able to combine spectrum from various frequencies.

"It doesn't have to be contiguous spectrum," said Kuoppamaki. That means part could be in the 1900 MHz band, while another part could use spectrum in the AWS band.

Other technical methods in the proposed standard that boosts speeds to the theoretical 650 Mbps include downloading data from multiple base stations at the same time, adding more MIMO antennas and implementing a higher modulation scheme. 

T-Mobile has aggressively pitted its HSPA service against Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) WiMAX and Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) LTE services. The company plans to boost its HSPA network to 42 Mbps at some point next year.

According to a white paper issued by NSN, T-Mobile's planned HSPA 42 Mbps network represents "Release 8" of the network technology. Releases 9 and 10 provide faster speeds and MIMO technology, and Release 11 and beyond are dubbed Long Term HSPA Evolution technology. "The evolution of HSPA beyond Release 10 will push the peak data rates to rival those provided by LTE Advanced," NSN stated in its white paper.

T-Mobile and NSN said "key features" of the Long Term HSPA Evolution standard were accepted during a meeting of the 3GPP standards group earlier this month. NSN and T-Mobile said detailed specification work on the new standard will take place in the 3GPP's working groups, and that other Long Term HSPA Evolution features "are expected to be considered in subsequent 3GPP meetings." The companies said they expect the standard to be ready for commercial deployment by 2013.

Karri Ranta-aho, NSN's senior specialist, 3GPP standardization, said that since many operators will run both HSPA and LTE networks, another enhancement that has been proposed is HSPA and LTE carrier aggregation whereby operators will use HSPA and LTE carriers simultaneously.

For more:
- see this T-Mobile release
- see this IDG News Service article

Related articles:
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T-Mobile expands HSPA+ coverage to 8 more markets
T-Mobile: myTouch 4G is averaging 5 Mbps download speeds
Battle erupts over T-Mobile's 'largest 4G network' claims
T-Mobile backs LTE, calls WiMAX a 'niche play'
T-Mobile USA planning upgrade to 42 Mbps HSPA+ in 2011

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