Vodacom is very excited to launch 3G with HSDPA on Sunday 2nd April 2006. Please find herewith information on this exciting new technology including processes for customers with existing 3G Mobile Connect Cards.
What is 3G HSDPA?
High-Speed Downlink Packet Access or HSDPA is a new mobile data protocol and is sometimes referred to as a 3.5G (or "3½G") technology. It is an evolution of current data standards, designed to increase the available data rate by up to 5 times.
What is needed to access the 3G HSDPA Broadband network?
The latest HSDPA data card that can be used with a Vodacom 3G contract or with a 3G/MyMeg Bolt-on.
Vodacom is currently introducing the new HSDPA enabled Vodafone Mobile Connect Card - the Option Nozomi.
The Novatel U740 and Huawei E620 data cards have also been approved on the Vodacom network, but are not currently being distributed by Vodacom.
How much does it cost?
Utilising HSDPA will cost exactly the same as 3G during the launch phase.
Are the current 3G Vodafone Mobile Connect Cards compatible with HSDPA?
No, unfortunately the current cards cannot be upgraded to support HSDPA. Customers will need to purchase the new HSDPA enabled Vodafone Mobile Connect cards which comes with a new disk for the installation of new software specific for the HSDPA card.
Why can the current Vodafone Mobile Connect cards not be upgraded?
All current Mobile Connect cards do not have the physical capability to be used on the higher speed, so just upgrading the software won’t help.
What can existing 3G customers do in order to get an HSDPA card?
The improvement and upgrading of technology is a global reality, however there are 5 options for existing customers to obtain an HSDPA card:
Option 1 – Wait for upgrade eligibility
As with all Vodacom’s 24 month airtime contracts, customers become eligible for an upgrade in month 22 and will be able to obtain the new HSDPA card at this point.
Option 2 – Premature upgrade
Customers have the option of a premature upgrade. What this implies is that customers will be able to upgrade their card and extend their contracts prior to their eligibility date. There will however, be a cost involved with this option. It should be noted that the extension of the contract for a further 24 months is based on the end date of the contract and not the date of the premature upgrade. The cost to the customer will depend on the number of months left on the original airtime contract.
Customers who would like to do a premature upgrade, should call the Retentions department on 082-1959 and apply for the premature upgrade. The Retentions Consultant will supply the customer with a quote for the premature upgrade and extension of the contract.
Such process can only be handled by the Retentions Department at Head Office and not at store level. Customers must liaise directly with such department as the upgrade will be processed internally at VSP and the HSDPA card will be couriered to the customer on receipt of the accepted quote.
Option 3 - Customer can buy the card for cash
Customers always have the option of purchasing any device for cash. Please call around for pricing.
Option 4 – Swop out of the 3G Mobile Connect Card for an HSDPA Card
Customers who would like to swop out their existing 3G Mobile Connect Cards will have such option and will receive a R400 (including VAT) discount on the HSDPA card.
Customers must return their 3G Mobile Connect Card to the trade partner in order to receive the above discount on the HSDPA card.
Option 5 – Get a free swap-out.
Any customer who received a 3G data card between 1 February 2006 and 31st of March 2006, can get a free HSDPA swapout.
Now that we will be supplying HSDPA cards, will the 3G cards still be available?
Yes, the 3G Vodafone Mobile Connect cards will still be available for purchase and use by customers. Different deals will be structured between 3G and HSDPA cards. HSDPA cards will be slightly more expensive than the 3G cards when purchased for cash.
Can any handsets make use of the 3G HSDPA Network?
No, current 3G handsets are not compatible with the HSDPA Network. New HSDPA enabled handsets are likely to only become available later this year.
Are the 3G Routers compatible with the 3G HSDPA cards?
Yes the existing Linksys Routers are compatible however, a firmware upgrade to the router will have to be done. The upgraded firmware will be available by the 1st of June 2006 on www.vodacom.co.za
Where can the 3G HSDPA Broadband Network be accessed?
All 3G enabled base stations have been upgraded to also support HSDPA, however, the coverage is not identical due to the fact that the HSDPA network is more sensitive to external influences.
Can customers roam with 3G HSDPA?
Yes, roaming will be available initially in Germany, Austria and Portugal. However, it must be noted that roaming is very costly and potentially more so than 3G due to the increased ability to download more data. Current 3G data roaming rates apply.
Does the 3G HSDPA card look different to the current 3G data cards?
No, the Option Nozomi, HSDPA card is identical to the Option Quad lite and Option Fusion cards. To identify your card, look at the serial number on the back of the card. These are the prefixes to the various cards.
Card Name___Serial Prefix__HSDPA
With regards to the Novatel U740, it too, is identical to the Novatel U630 but the main sticker on the top of the card will denote that it is an HSDPA card
Both the Option and Novatel HSDPA cards will have the 3G Broadband logo on the top of the card.
What speeds can be attained on the 3G HSDPA Broadband Network?
Under perfect conditions, customers would get speeds of up to 1.8 Mbps, but expect to see speeds of between 500 Kbps and 800 Kbps with peaks of approximately 1.4 Mbps.
If there is no HSDPA signal will I be able to use 3G and GPRS?
Yes, when the signal drops off customers will be able to access the 3G, EDGE and GPRS network in the same manner as with the 3G network.
When I am connected, how will I know that I am on HSDPA and not 3G?
When customers connect via HSDPA, they will seamlessly move between HSDPA and 3G, as the the same network infrastructure is being used. The flashing lights will however indicate which bearer you are using.
Why am I getting 3G like speeds whilst “connected” to HSDPA?
The HSDPA network has the intelligence to supply customers with increased bandwidth, where available, only as they require it, thereby providing a far more efficient utilisation of bandwidth. For instance, searching for a Web site on Google would not require large bandwidth, yet downloading a large video clip would require a lot more bandwidth and customers will therefore be allocated more bandwidth only when they start downloading.