More Evidence Of HSDPA Troubles
By Mike Masnick, Wed May 25 01:00:00 GMT 2005

Following trouble in Japan, reports are spreading that Cingular is also slowing down next generation network deployments. While each has a different excuse, it's reasonable to wonder if HSDPA technology is really ready for prime time.

Back in March when rumors first started spreading that NTT DoCoMo was delaying its HSDPA rollout, the reason given was that DoCoMo had discovered the technology wasn't working up to the levels DoCoMo expected. Earlier this month, when DoCoMo confirmed the delay rumors, it claimed the delays had nothing to do with the technology and everything to do with a lack of content ready for such high speed connections. That argument rings hollow as there's plenty of content out there. A more reasonable explanation might be that the rest of the HSDPA infrastructure wasn't ready. That is, there weren't any decent phones in production and not enough was being done to build services and applications that could really make use of the higher speed networks.

However, now rumors are spreading that Cingular is delaying its HSDPA rollout -- which the company had decided to move to, leapfrogging UMTS. Again, the reasons given aren't technical. In this case, the argument is that Cingular has too much on its plate, especially with the tremendous effort to merge its network with AT&T Wireless' -- a process that is ongoing and has run into some difficulties. However, with the growing attention Verizon Wireless has received with its EV-DO network, and the pending launch of Sprint's EV-DO network, it seems odd that Cingular would decide to slow down a next generation launch unless the technology wasn't really ready. In fact, with DoCoMo's investment in Cingular, it wouldn't be surprising if Cingular had access to some more detailed information out of Japan concerning the technology. Of course, it's likely that the technology issues will be figured out eventually, but it's a good reminder that new mobile technologies don't spring up in perfect working condition, but often take quite some time to get right.