Italian operators lead the way in HSPA in Western Europe
Nationwide HSPA upgrades gaining traction
As the fourth-largest global region by HSPA connections and with a HSPA penetration rate of only 1.15% by first-quarter 2008, Western Europe has plenty of room for growth. The move towards flat-rate tariffs underway in most European markets is helping to bed-in HSPA services and ramp-up data service usage. 3 Italy, for example, earned 30% of all service revenue (which contributed to ARPU of €29.30 per month) from non-voice services in 2007, a statistic helped by its 86% HSDPA network coverage. Similarly, rival TIM claims to cover 70% by population.
Western European operators are now looking to move beyond HSPA downlink speeds of 3.6Mb/s toward the theoretical peaks of the current standard of around 7.2Mb/s, which will only improve the mobile broadband experience for end users. Meanwhile, as users begin to demand faster end-application experiences, uplink speeds will become all the more important for services that push data from the handset, particularly e-mail and, increasingly, peer-to-peer usage.