HSDPA Hiccups
By Mike Masnick, Wed Mar 16 01:15:00 GMT 2005

While the press has recently discovered the wonders of HSDPA as the next cellular mobile broadband offering of choice, it appears that it may be encountering some unexpected problems.

While plans for HSDPA deployments have been around for quite some time, it was only in the past few months that it seemed to register in the press that HSDPA was "the next big thing" in cellular mobile data services. With announcements from mm02 and Cingular that they were going to leapfrog UMTS and go straight to HSDPA, the buzz grew much louder.

In the last few weeks, with all of the big mobile technology conferences, it's almost hard to avoid all of the many, many HSDPA announcements talking about how wonderful an HSDPA-enabled world will be.

There's just one problem. Despite the various technology demonstrations, it might not work very well. Unstrung is reporting that the clear leader in HSDPA deployments, NTT DoCoMo has delayed its deployment due to problems with the technology. The report even suggests that mmO2 (or, rather, just O2 these days) could actually beat DoCoMo to market with an HSDPA offering, as DoCoMo has pushed back the commercial launch by an entire year. Of course, if DoCoMo is having trouble with the technology, it's quite likely that O2 (and others) will face the same problems down the road.

It's yet another reminder that this technology isn't easy. While every new wireless technology that comes along seems to be hyped as the savior of all mobile offerings, history has shown that it always takes more time just to reach a point that isn't nearly as good as what we were told to expect. It's looking quite likely that HSDPA is about to go through the same cycle.