Samsung to show HSDPA cell phone at CES

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. plans to demonstrate at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) its first cell phone compatible with a fast data download service that many wireless carriers plan to introduce beginning in 2006.

The cell phone, which is still a prototype, is being developed for Vodafone Group PLC and will be compatible with HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access), the company said Wednesday. HSDPA can be applied to third-generation WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) networks to offer significantly faster data downloads.

Vodafone said in September that it will begin trials of HSDPA technology in early 2006.

Its service will initially deliver a peak download speed of 1.6M bps (bits per second) compared to the 384k bps currently offered via its WCDMA network. In time the speed will be increased to 7M bps with future upgrades, the carrier said. For users this will translate to a rise in the typical data download speed from around 120k bps at present to around 425k bps over HSDPA, said Vodafone.

The carrier is also considering HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access), which boosts the upload speed from the cell phone to the network, in 2007 or 2008.

Samsung will demonstrate a working prototype of the cell phone at CES, said Sophia Kim, a spokeswoman for the company in Seoul.

Few details of the handset were available although Kim said Samsung has already completed hardware development and is currently working on the phone's software. The phone will be available to Vodafone sometime during the first half of 2006 although its availability to users will depend on Vodafone's commercialization plans for HSDPA.

Already one carrier has launched an HSDPA service. Cingular Wireless LLC's Broadband Connect service, which went into service in 52 markets across the U.S. in December, is based on the technology. Cingular's service provides speeds of 400k bps to 700k bps for downloads and is accessible via a laptop modem card for a flat-rate of US$60 per month.

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