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How Do I Choose the Best HSDPA Phones?

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  • Written By: Carol Luther
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 20 June 2014
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High-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) phones can expand your third-generation (3G) communication options. These phones let you search the Web, download streaming media, and upload data as easily as you can make a phone call. The phone's speed, operating frequencies, and design features can make it a valuable addition to your digital arsenal. Broadband networks that support these phones, however, do not always let you access every feature in your phone.

Data transfer speed capabilities for HSDPA phones vary. On average, HSDPA phones promise downlink rates of 7.2 Megabits per second (Mbps) and uplink rates of 2 Mbps, with some reporting rates as low as 384 Mbps in both directions. A few HSDPA phones have downlink rates as high as 10.2 Mbps with uplink rates that are more than twice the 2 Mbps average. Others operate at or near the average downlink rate, but have 5.72 Mbps uplink rates.

To select a phone that fits your needs, you need to consider which activities are most important to you besides voice calls. Data-intensive applications are less likely to bottleneck at the highest speeds. A phone that is capable of higher speeds requires less time on the same 3G broadband network to accomplish your tasks.

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The phone's operating frequency determines where you can use it. A majority of HSDPA phones can operate on the 1700 or 2100 Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) frequency. None operate on all four Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) frequencies – 800, 900, 1800, and 1900.

If you frequently travel outside your national network, your phone should work on at least one UMTS and more than one GSM frequency. On networks in the United States, HSDPA phones mainly use the 850 or 1900 GSM frequency. Europe uses the 900 GSM frequency and Asia uses the 1800 GSM frequency.

Choosing a phone also means selecting a carrier. The telecommunications industry has not offered consumers HSDPA phones that can work on any broadband carrier's network. Generally, the company that provides your mobile broadband connection restricts your phone choices. Its HSDPA coverage and speeds may be limited outside heavily populated areas.

The best HSDPA phone will have high ratings for durability and reliability. It should have a good design that incorporates a QWERTY keyboard and real or virtual hot keys that provide shortcuts for data-intensive tasks. The phone's operating system is important. Windows® mobile is the most versatile and widely accepted. Battery life, screen size and resolution, and the phone's weight also could contribute to your satisfaction or detract from it.

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Discuss this Article

anon195098
Post 3

I have a question. Let me explain first. I bought a phone that works on hsdpa 900/1200 and the network in my country has hsdpa of 850/1200 so my phone works in EDGE and not in 3.5G like the phones from here. My question is if I buy a phone that works on HSDPA 10.2 Mbps will it work here in my country? and will it work in 3G? Thank you.

kentuckycat
Post 2

I was recently hired a firm that does a lot of business outside of the United States. I could find myself in almost any country throughout Europe or Asia.

Does this article mean that if I travel outside of the United States, my cellphone may not work if it is not designed to use one of the GSM frequencies?

How can I tell which frequencies my phone can handle and whether I will be able to use it in a certain area? Will I experience different upload and download quality depending on where I am in the world and what frequency I am using? Since most of the information travels though satellites, it seems like problems should be minimal. Any help is much appreciated.

stl156
Post 1

I had been using a cheap cell phone for many years, but it finally stopped working a few weeks ago. I decided to upgrade to a smartphone, and the difference was incredible.

I didn't know there was a name for the technology, but my new HSDPA cell phone has all kinds of toys to play with. I'm able to watch videos on my phone and can download apps.

It is unfortunate that each phone will only work with a certain provider, though. I'm sure that increases the overall cost to the consumers.

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