Vodafone is preparing trials of high-speed mobile broadband technology that could eventually provide download speeds of up to 21Mbit/s.
The firm claimed that it has already achieved peak data download rates of up to 16Mbit/s in trials of HSPA+, and now plans to trial technology capable of delivering peak rates of up to 21Mbit/s using Mimo (multiple antennas in both transmitter and receiver) and 64QAM technology early in 2009.
QAM refers to quadrature amplitude modulation, a method of using phase and amplitude shifts to squeeze more bits into a signal of a given frequency.
If the trials go well Vodafone intends to deploy the technology in "selected commercial networks".
"Successfully demonstrating a live HSPA+ high-speed connection has been a key milestone in continuing to build confidence in this new technology," said Vodafone global networks director Andy MacLeod.
While current mobile broadband kit offers download speeds of up to 7.2Mbit/s, Vodafone estimates that the new technology will be capable of delivering upwards of 13Mbit/s in good conditions, but that at least 4Mbit/s will be the typical experience across the range of cell locations including urban environments.
Late last year, telecoms vendor Huawei announced hardware for HSPA+ networks capable of speeds of up to 21Mbit/s.
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