Hutchison Whampoa’s Scandinavian subsidiaries Hi3G Access Sweden and Hi3G Access Denmark, which offer 3G services under the ‘3’ brand, have contracted Swedish equipment giant Ericsson to upgrade their HSPA+ (HSPA Evolution) mobile networks in stages from a current maximum 21Mbps (downstream) capability to 84Mbps using multi-carrier technology. Under a new three-year contract Ericsson will this quarter begin upgrading 3’s networks to 42Mbps (theoretical maximum downlink), in a nationwide rollout in Denmark which will also cover four major cities in Sweden; a second phase of upgrading, to 84Mbps, is scheduled to start by the end of the year. In addition, Ericsson will boost Hi3G Access Sweden’s indoor and outdoor coverage, with a special focus on remote areas, with the rollout of a W-CDMA/HSPA network based on re-farmed 900MHz band wireless spectrum. The Swedish vendor is also providing IP-based fibre-optic and microwave backhaul as part of the contract, as well as support services. HSPA+ technology can reach 28Mbps using multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) antennas, but can reach higher speeds with an additional multi-carrier (or ‘carrier aggregation’) implementation. Using these methods, Ericsson has already demonstrated 84Mbps HSPA Evolution and says 100Mbps-plus performance is possible. The Danish and Swedish twin cellcos belong to the regional group 3 Scandinavia which is owned by Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa (60%) and Stockholm-based Investor AB (40%). The group also holds a 3G licence in Norway, but is yet to launch services there.
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