Hong Kong-based cellco SmarTone-Vodafone on Wednesday switched on an upgrade to its HSPA (HSDPA/HSUPA) mobile broadband network, boosting maximum upload speeds from 2Mbps to 5.76Mbps; the network already supported peak downloads of 14.4Mbps. In its press release, the company said the upgraded service is being provided to existing and new customers free of charge. SmarTone followed up the announcement yesterday with a statement revealing a plan to implement ‘4G’ Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, through the reuse of its existing spectrum, after its failure to win 2.5GHz-2.7GHz spectrum in Hong Kong’s broadband wireless access (BWA) auction. As previously reported in CommsUpdate, the company’s domestic rivals Hutchison (3), PCCW, CSL and China Mobile (Peoples) all won concessions. SmarTone said it ceased to continue with the BWA spectrum auction when the asking price ‘exceeded the cost difference between implementing LTE with new spectrum and implementing LTE on existing spectrum.’ The operator recently announced a pilot of multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technology for maximising performance and bandwidth as part of its upgrade path to higher speeds and greater capacity with both HSPA+ and LTE platforms. HSPA+ can provide speeds of up to 80Mbps while LTE will further increase peak rates to 160Mbps. According to the statement, customers will also benefit from superior in-building coverage through implementation of LTE at the lower frequency spectrum.