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March 17, 2005

LG Shows New Phones With 3 Mbps Data

Courtesy of Mobile Pipeline

LG showed a line of next-generation HSDPA mobile phones at the just-concluded CTIA Wireless show, even though that ultra-fast cellular data technology won't be available until at least the end of this year and probably longer.

The phones had the Cingular logo stamped on them, although booth personnel laughingly told attendees to ignore the logo and that they could not comment on which vendors might be selling the phones in the future. They said the phones would likely be available in 12 to 18 months.

High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) is a software-based upgrade that GSM wireless carriers can apply to their UMTS 3G systems. While UMTS systems only provide typical speeds of between 200 Kbps and 300 Kbps, HSDPA is expected to provide typical wireless data speeds of as high as 3 Mbps.

Cingular has previously said publicly that it will start fully rolling out its UMTS 3G system, which is the GSM version of 3G, later this year. It said it will later upgrade to HSDPA, but it provided no timetable for that upgrade.

However, unverified rumors circulating at the CTIA show indicated that Cingular would roll out HSDPA in a small number of U.S. metropolitan cities by the end of the year.

The LG phones had a small clamshell and a small screen design similar to many currently popular phones. Booth personnel acknowledged that the phones themselves would not be useful for data but said that they supported Bluetooth and could be used as HSDPA modems for Bluetooth-enabled laptops and PDAs.

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