By January 14, 2007

What is Super 3G?

I’ve been asked a few times lately ‘What is Super 3G?’ so here is a quick summary!

Super 3G is an upgrade to existing third-generation “FOMA” technology, which is derived from the globally dominant GSM wireless standard, though not identical to the 3G technology used by most GSM carriers, known as UMTS.

Super 3G will have speeds of roughly 100 megabits per second, making it about 260 times faster than existing 3G services.

High Speed OFDM Packet Access (HSOPA) is a proposed part of 3GPP’s Long Term Evolution (LTE) upgrade path for UMTS systems. HSOPA is also often referred to as Super 3G. If adopted, HSOPA succeeds HSDPA and HSUPA technologies specified in 3GPP releases 5 and 6. Unlike HSDPA or HSUPA, HSOPA is an entirely new air interface system, unrelated to and incompatible with W-CDMA.

Originally proposed by Nortel, HSOPA uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) and multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antenna technology to support up to 10 times as many users as W-CDMA based systems, with lower processing power required on each handset. Still in development, experimental performance is 37Mbps in the downlink over a 5MHz channel, close to the theoretical maximum of 40Mbps.

One carrier, DoCoMo of Japan, plans to launch new network based on HSOPA technology by 2010. The network upgrade will cost $1.7 billion USD or 1.3 billion euros!

HSOPA (Super 3G) competes directly with WiMAX technology and is said to be the one of the last 3G technologies before the launch of 4G.

See also “What is HSDPA“.


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More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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