Malaysian cellco Maxis Mobile has contracted Swedish vendor Ericsson to expand its UMTS network and upgrade it with 3.5G high speed download packet access (HSDPA) technology, enabling data transfer speeds of up to 2Mbps, five times faster than existing 3G speeds. An HSDPA trial is expected to begin in the first quarter of next year, with a commercial launch targeted for mid-2006, aimed mainly at high volume data card users. Ericsson, which deployed Maxis’ first 300 UMTS base stations in the Klang Valley, will now expedite the 3G rollout to Johor. In recent weeks, the cellco agreed a deal with German firm Siemens to implement further network rollouts in Penang and additional areas in the Klang Valley. Maxis launched 3G voice services in July this year, and claimed over 7,500 next-generation users at the end of August.