SmarTone launches HSDPA for laptop users; handsets expected early 2007

7 Jun 2006

Hong Kong’s SmarTone-Vodafone yesterday became the country’s first mobile operator to offer commercial High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) services by launching a laptop datacard enabling internet access at speeds of up to 1.8Mbps, five times faster than its existing 3G network. Douglas Li, SmarTone’s chief executive officer, said the launch of HSDPA-enabled handsets is scheduled for early 2007, and an upgrade to increase maximum data speeds over the network to 14.4Mbps is planned for 2008. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, SmarTone’s 3G network provides coverage of 99.9% of Hong Kong’s population via 3,500 base stations. Amongst SmarTone’s 3G rivals, Hutchison and the newly merged CSL New World Mobility both plan to launch HSDPA services in the third quarter of this year, whilst PCCW, owner of Sunday Communications, has not set a timetable for a HSDPA upgrade.

Hong Kong, Ericsson, SmarTone