It seems to me that in the rush to deploy and enhance HSDPA services, scaling downloads speeds from 3.6 to 7.2 to 14.4 and onwards, most operators have put their plans for high-speed uploads, through HSUPA, on the backburner.
According to the GSA (Global Mobile Suppliers Association) and also GSMA, we're on about 28 network launches, with another 24 in the works. There's a good table here. And there are now about 30 devices (the GSA says 33, GSMA says 26).
Sounds promising on the face of it, but it seems to be a much slower ramp-up compared with HSDPA, and certainly slower than the migration to higher speeds within HSDPA. And it's also worth noting that the vast majority of devices are still laptop data cards/dongles and fixed modems. In terms of phones, there's just a handful on DoCoMo's network in Japan, and a couple of HTC and i-Mate high-end PDA-type devices. It was conspicuous that none of the major handset vendors at 3GSM last month were talking up 'full HSPA' in their devices.
I think the problem is that nobody really knows what the added-value of HSUPA is. Just as most consumers don't really scrutinise upstream bandwidth for home DSL/cable, there doesn't appear to be an immediate need for symmetry on mobile either.
Yes, I know about user-generated content - but to be honest, just how many MB of video can any average person upload per month? Otherwise, yes, I can see the benefit for low-latency gaming (HSUPA improves ping time as well as bandwidth). And yes, professional photographers would like to send their 10-megapixel images to the newsdesk or a media agency. But ironically, most of the other HSUPA applications are probably "naughty" ones that the operators don't really want to encourage - VoIP, P2P, TV place-shifting (SlingBox et al), and people illicitly using their wireless endpoint as a web server.
And given that HSDPA is selling like hotcakes at the moment..... why move to HSUPA before it's really needed, given that the proposition is much less clear?
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