Ericsson on Monday showed off new record speeds for 3G. The network gear designer said it had successfully tested HSPA service running at 168Mbps downstream and 24Mbps upstream using a real "prototype consumer device" and practical networking hardware. Its speed, achieved by using bonding an unnamed number of channels together, was about four times the 42Mbps peak of the very latest cellular networks.
Also on show was much faster 3G using a reduced number of carriers. Ericsson showed 42Mbps using just a single carrier by relying on the same multiple in, multiple out (MIMO) antenna technology used with 802.11n Wi-Fi. A dual-carrier version of the same networking was also possible and brought it up 84Mbps.
Networks using single-carrier 42Mbps and dual-carrier HSPA should go live this year. Ericsson has also promised faster 3G "later on." Singapore's SingTel has been identified as interested, but networks that are already focusing heavily on 42Mbps-plus 3G, such as Bell and T-Mobile USA, are the most likely candidates.