Globe invited us this morning to witness the first live demonstration of the high speed capabilities of its HSPA+ network to the members of the press and media. The telco has announced the rollout of Globe 4G last week, the first commercially rolled out 4G network in the country which promises speeds five to seven times faster than the existing 3.5G speeds.
During the demonstration, Globe has set-up different workstations connected to the internet and tested these using the different available mobile broadband services available in the country (including Globe’s Tattoo (3G) and Globe’s SuperStick) against a workstation which is connected through Globe’s HSPA+ network. Naturally, Globe HSPA+ won the test against the four other 3.5G devices.
What’s interesting about the test (they used speedtest.net ping on a Globe server in Mandaluyong) was the download speed result. Globe HSPA+ was able to reach a download speed of 7.51Mbps and an upload speed of 1.02Mbps. When tested with a ping on a different server, BayanTel in Quezon City this time, the results showed a reduced download speed of 4.19Mbps and reduced upload speed of 0.82Mbps. Though the change is significant, if we take a look at it, the reduced speeds are still significantly faster compared to normal 3G devices.
Globe’s HSPA+ vs Smart’s LTE
The introduction of HSPA+ in Globe’s network will result to an increase in performance for existing 3G/3.5G users. That means all BlackBerry, HTC, iPhone and other owners of 3G devices will notice a significant increase in performance in their mobile broadband service. The reason behind this is HSPA+’s backward compatibility with existing devices. The increase in the existing 16-QAM (3G) to 64-QAM (HSPA+) will result to higher capacity and better quality of service. Though it promises lower throughput compared to LTE, the service can be improved when used with higher modulation techniques (combination of 64-QAM with a dual carrier).
A lot of people are comparing which service is better. According to Globe’s representative Peter Bithos, Globe’s focus is mainly in providing better and improved service to its current customers with their current devices and faster speeds when the mobile broadband service is used with HSPA+.
LTE however, which uses a different radio modulation technique, will require a new set of device of device. There’s no adverse effect to its existing 3G customers except for the network decongestion when 4G is massively adapted.
Rolling out of LTE across the country is part of Globe’s plan next year.
HSPA+ is 4G
Contrary to what a lot of people are saying, Globe’s HSPA+ is a 4G technology. In an announcement made by ITU in December 6, 2010, HSPA+, an improvement of the existing 3.5G service, is included in the ranks of 4G technologies.
“As the most advanced technologies currently defined for global wireless mobile broadband communications, IMT-Advanced is considered as ‘4G’, although it is recognized that this term, while undefined, may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed.”
Rolling out of HSPA+ in the country
Globe is already working on deploying the HSPA+ network across the country. Right now, several cities within Metro Manila already has live 4G networks. Globe is now on the process of rolling out of hundreds of HSPA+ sites across the nation. Though there are no existing consumer services available yet under the Globe 4G service, Globe is expected to make the announcement in the early weeks of May 2011.
Globe will be using Huawei and ZTE for their 4G mobile broadband dongles. As for the 4G-capable handset devices, Samsung has already agreed to give Globe the exclusive right of distributing the much awaited Samsung Galaxy S II.