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QUICKVIEW: O2 Germany's HSPA+ Trial in Munich
Posted by Arne Hess - on Tuesday, 25.08.09 - 16:50:25 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 23799x
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Last week, I had the chance to test O2 Germany's HSPA+ trial (which the company announced earlier this year) when I visited the O2 Germany HQ in Munich. As announced back in February, O2 Germany is currently running a friendly user test in Munich where O2 Germany's technology partner is Huawei. Beside being O2's network partner for the overall HSPA-network upgrade, Huawei is also O2 Germany's major vendor for UMTS sticks and therefore O2 Germany is using Huawei equipment for the HSPA+ test as well. The used Huawei E182E stick is a slide-out USB stick, supporting quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE as well as quadband UMTS/HSDPA up to 21.6 Mbps and HSUPA up to 5.76 Mbps. Furthermore the stick is MIMO ready.

For the quick hands-on, I've used the E182E with a LG X110 Netbook, running the final version of Windows 7 and indeed, even if not officially supported yet, Windows 7 installed all necessary drivers straight from the USB stick:

As always, Huawei is also using its Mobile Partner connection manager for the HSPA+ access and a first connection test indicated a downstream of amazing fast 14.83 Mbps:

This was confirmed by a second speed test where the download was 13.79 Mbps and a more HSUPA typical upload of 2.49 Mbps:

Nevertheless, HSPA+ also improves the latency massively. While normal HSDPA networks serves a latency of around 60 ms, HSPA+ came to 36 ms only. The latency is important for online games or VoIP communication (the lower the better).

Final Conclusion

In my very short and quick hands-on I wasn't able to reach O2 Germany's promised 28 Mbps for download and 5.76 Mbps for the upload but it doesn't made me wonder at all since I've tested HSPA+ at O2 Germany's headquarter where I wasn't the only one who tested it - I'm sure; and I was told that higher rates were archived already. Furthermore it's yet a test and from yet to now I even lost the signal because the engineers worked on the test environment.
Nevertheless, even with half of the available speed, I was completely thrilled. 14 Mbps is something I never dreamed about when I've started with mobile data in 1996. At that time, 9.6 Kbps was the maximum and now we are talking about 14 or even 28 Mbps. One thing is sure: I really hope that HSPA+ makes it commercially to the market as soon as possible. It's a worth upgrade to today's HSDPA/HSUPA and this speed should fulfill most users needs.

On the other hand, carriers needs to rethink about their handset strategy. While O2 Germany allows tethering and therefore the use of a handset as modem, many other carriers don't allow it today. But frankly - I don't need 14 or even 28 Mbps on my mobile phone but on my PC and Laptop. But if my mobile phone is able to archive this speeds, it definitely makes sense to allow to use it as a modem for PCs as well.

Cheers ~ Arne

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