Vodafone has said it will be running a trial of HSPA+, an upgraded version of current access HSPA technology. The trial is to asses the potential of HSPA+ to deliver higher data rates through the upgrade of existing network equipment.

Vodafone said it would be working with Ericsson, Huawei and Qualcomm to trial Release 7 HSPA+ (also known as HSPA Evolution).

The trial is aimed at finding out if the new technology can deliver data at throughput rates of 28.8 Mbs. Current HSPA networks deliver data at a maximum of 14.4 Mbps. Should the trial prove successful HSPA+ could extend the life of current HSPA technology, says Vodafone.

HSPA+ uses multiple antennae on base stations and handsets and deploys a complex modulation technique called 64-QAM HSDPA. Both of these features require new advanced devices compliant to 3GPP Release7 standard.

Steve Pusey, Global CTO of Vodafone said, These trials will help us to ascertain whether HSPA+ voice and data capacity enhancements will be able to leverage existing UMTS assets, including radio spectrum, to prolong the lifespan of current UMTS networks still further.

It will complement the exploratory work we are carrying out into more long-term next generation wireless technologies such as LTE.