Hong Kong mobile operator SmarTone has awarded Ericsson a new three-year contract under which the Swedish technology provider will upgrade the cellco’s entire network to 42Mbps HSPA+ standard by the end of this year, reports Telecomasia. A SmarTone spokesperson told the news website that its first 42Mbps HSPA+ base stations entered operations ‘a couple of weeks ago’, whilst confirming a plan ‘to have 42Mbps HSPA+ rolled out over our entire network by the end of the year.’ SmarTone CEO Douglas Li said the deployment of the Ericsson multi-mode, multi-standard base stations would ‘smooth the way’ to providing peak speeds of 84Mbps as well as accommodating the future upgrade to Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. However, the company is in no hurry to jump to 4G, and says it ‘does not anticipate demand for LTE until 2013 or 2014.’ ‘Currently, our HSPA+ network should be capable of meeting the demands of the market. When there is a market demand for LTE, we plan to accommodate it,’ said a spokesperson. As reported in CommsUpdate, only last month SmarTone launched 28.8Mbps HSPA+ mobile broadband packages. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that the cellco launched commercial HSPA+ services in November 2009, HSUPA services two years before that, and HSDPA services in mid-2006; its 3.5G HSPA network covers at least 95% of the population of Hong Kong.