With the addition of ever more features into HSPA by 3GPP, peak data rates keep rising and one can find many different peak data rate numbers in the media. To bring some order into this, I've decided to put together a table with shows which features bring which rough peak data rates:
- 3.6 MBit/s : Baseline HSPA with 16QAM modulation
- 7.2 MBit/s : 16 QAM, more simultaneous channels)
- 14.4 MBit/s : 16 QAM, even more simultaneous channels
- 21 MBit/s : 64 QAM modulation
- 28 MBit/s : MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output = 2 antennas) + 16 QAM, (3GPP Rel 7)
- 42 MBit/s : MIMO + 64QAM (3GPP Release 8)
- 42 MBit/s : 64QAM + Dual Carrier (3GPP Rel 8)
- 82 MBit/s : MIMO + 64QAM + Dual Carrier (i.e. 2 x 5MHz) (3GPP Release 9)
- + more in case 3GPP decides to increase the number of carriers that can be bundled in Rel 9 or beyond.
In the near future, operators that can upgrade their base station to 64QAM modulation without a hardware replacement are probably tempted to do so. If they were smart with the backhaul in previous upgrades, they might already have the capacity at the base station to support the added traffic. All further steps require new hardware at the base station so operators will probably think a bit about it before actually deploying it.
Important: These are peak rates, i.e. they are only achieved under very favourable coverage circumstances and microcell environments. In most macro radio environments, speeds are much lower due to interference and less then optimal signal strength.