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Next-Gen Wireless Will Threaten Landline Broadband, Study Claims

As wireless data speeds approach 3 Mbps, many users will switch away from landline voice and broadband, a study from ABI Research claims.

The generation of wireless technology after current 3G deployments could pose a serious threat to landline broadband vendors, according to a study released Wednesday by ABI Research.

The research report specifically mentioned HSDPA, a follow-on to 3G UMTS cellular data technology. While UMTS provides speeds of about 300 Kbps, HSDPA will provide typical wireless data speeds of about 3 Mbps. A number of wireless operators, including Cingular in the U.S., are committed to upgrading to HSDPA in the next few years.

The report noted that many people currently keep their landline voice service just so they can get landline broadband. But that benefit will start to disappear as more users switch their landline voice service to wireless and wireless operators offer faster data speeds such as those offered by HSDPA.

"At this kind of speed what difference is there between mobile and fixed line communications?" the firm asked in a statement.

Alan Varghese, a principal analyst for the group, said that wireless operators must still improve voice service but, after they make more progress doing that, switching both voice and broadband data will become increasingly attractive.

"And that may spell the beginning of the end for fixed line as we know it today," Varghese said.

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