Multi-carrier technology is the next step in the evolution of HSPA and enables consumers to receive data simultaneously on two frequency channels. Current HSPA devices are restricted to using one 5MHz channel at a time.
With the introduction of multi-carrier consumer devices, data from two or more 5MHz channels can be received simultaneously by one consumer. The data stream is split over the channels used in the radio base station.
HSPA multi-carrier technology effectively doubles the user data rate in the coverage area of an HSPA network and on the cell edge, where consumers normally experience lower data rates.
As a result, the peak downlink data rate increases from today's fastest available 21Mbps to 42Mbps, according to Ericsson.
Ericsson said its HSPA multi-carrier technology will be ready for commercial implementation by the end of 2009.
It can be introduced with a software-only upgrade in all Ericsson WCDMA/HSPA base stations with two or more channels currently in the field.
Single-carrier, multi-carrier and Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output (MIMO) users can use the same frequency channels simultaneously, which allows for a smooth introduction of MIMO and multi-carrier technology in existing networks, the vendor said.
Future evolutionary steps for HSPA will contain multi-carrier configurations with four frequency channels in combination with MIMO antenna technologies.
By combining these improvements, downlink speeds of 168Mbps are possible, it said.
Telstra Wireless executive director Mike Wright welcomed the 42Mbps evolution but did not say whether Telstra would commit to tests of the new capability.
"It is impressive to see the next evolution in action today as an indication of what carriers will be able to experience by the end of the year," Wright said.
Telstra last year said it would be the first carrier globally to offer 21Mbps peak mobile broadband speeds to customers.