Mobilkom Austria says it will launch HSDPA services in parts of Vienna at the end of January. The so-called 3.5G service will be available to users of Mobilkom’s Vodafone Mobile Connect Card. Users of the laptop datacard will be able to download a free software upgrade to allow the W-CDMA/EDGE card to utilise the HSDPA networks.
Mobilkom was the first Austrian operator to launch trial 3G services in September 2002, with initial coverage of eleven cities, or 25% of the population, and on 25 April 2003 it launched the technology on a commercial basis. In January 2005 it began rolling out EDGE infrastructure in outlying regions to complement its 3G network, and it offered EDGE and/or W-CDMA coverage of 97% of the population by the summer of 2005. Mobilkom refers to the combined network as ‘UMTS PLUS’ and justified the use of EDGE – a so-called 2.75G technology – by saying that it negates the need for the costly installation of new transmission stations in sparsely populated and rural areas. UMTS PLUS compatible handsets were launched that month.