LTE rollouts are well underway worldwide and the industry is already looking forward to 5G, but Ericsson and Qualcomm have just demonstrated that there's life in 3G yet.
The vendors have teamed up with Turkcell to conduct the first live demonstration of three-carrier HSDPA, achieving downlink speeds of a solid 63 Mbps.
The demonstration used Turkcell's commercial W-CDMA network using three 5 MHz carriers on the 2.1-GHz band for downlink, and two 5 MHz carriers for uplink.
It used a smartphone powered by a Qualcomm processor with integrated modem. The core network and radio access network nodes were supplied by Ericsson.
Using Enhanced Uplink Multi-carrier (EUL-MC) technology, the trial network also delivered uplink speeds of 11.5 Mbps, the companies said.
The uplink and downlink speeds compare to the peak speeds of 43.2 Mbps and 5.76 Mbps respectively supported by Turkcell's current dual-carrier HSDPA network.
Both three-carrier HSDPA and EUL-MC are expected to be commercially available in devices during the second half of this year.
As smartphone users become accustomed to the faster speeds available under LTE networks and increase their uptake of high-bandwidth applications, upgrading existing 3G networks in areas that do not yet have 4G coverage may become essential.
News of the demonstration came a week after Ericsson revealed it had achieved downlink speeds of 5Gbps in tests of its pre-standard 5G technologies.