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Difference Between HSDPA and HSUPA

telecom-tower-pdHSDPA vs HSUPA

HSPA (High Speed Packet Access), commonly referred to as 3.5G, is an upgrade to WCDMA networks that allows for much higher data speeds for internet connectivity. There are two aspects to this technology and each is more or less independent of the other. HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) is the one that improves the downlink of the data transmission while HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access) is the one that improves the uplink or transmission from the mobile device to the network.

Common practices that would be affected by having HSDPA include watching online videos, browsing sites, downloading files, and a lot more. If you usually send emails with large attachments, upload files to sites, or seed files in a file sharing network, then HSUPA would improve the speed at which you do your tasks.

It is common practice for most mobile networks to deploy HSDPA first before doing HSUPA. Based on the usage patterns of majority of the population, internet bandwidth usage is asymmetrical. This means that we often download more compared to uploading. Telecoms know this and that is why they want to improve downlink as soon as it’s possible. There are areas in the world where only HSDPA is deployed while HSUPA is still pretty much absent. Mainly because telecoms want to allocate as much bandwidth to downlink as they can while spending as little as they could. Even when fully deployed HSDPA would still have much higher speeds compared to HSUPA. This is in keeping with the asymmetric use of the bandwidth. Allocating equal bandwidth to each would result in a huge waste for the bandwidth allocated to the uplink.

Although most telecoms do not deploy HSDPA and HSUPA at the same time, it should not be an issue for users in buying mobile phones. Most of the recent mobile phones that support the HSPA technology already have both HSDPA and HSUPA. Getting one or the other would just then depend on when your network decides to deploy either technology in your area.


1. HSDPA is the side of the technology that brings information down to the user while HSUPA is the side of the technology that brings information up from the user

2. HSDPA affects downloading and browsing while HSUPA affects uploading files and sending emails

3. HSDPA is often deployed way ahead of HSUPA

4. HSDPA has much faster speeds compared to HSUPA

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  1. Wow great info. I learned a lot from here. Thanks for sharing, me as a mobile lovers I used downloading and browsing to read som informationover the net. As an Eseries user i prefer HSDPA for downloading. But as time goes on im looking forward to HSUPA as website owner also.

  2. that is really well written, simple language and descriptive

  3. Hi Mr. Author,

    You did not tell us:

    1. is it possible to have both these connections simultaneously on one phone, and enjoy both uploads and downloads at high speeds?

    2. If I choose HSDPA, I will have high download speeds, say 7.2 mbps (minimum supported by both phone & network) .
    Then what speeds will uploads happen on? Is it 384 kbps?

    3. If I take a 3G connection on my phone today, it shows me 3.5G… Am I on HSDPA or HSUPA?

  4. Hi guys, I live in Canada and im looking to buy a galaxy nexus. I found a website from hong long that sells for cheaper but I noticed in the specs, it says HSUPA 850/900/1700/1900/2100, and when I checked on WIND Mobile’s canadian website it says HSDPA 850/900/1700/1900/2100.

    Is that a different version or it doesn’t matter?

  5. Hello Mr.Author,

    Here are some questions for you below:
    Please answer correctly

    1) I am using a vodafone 3g connection. Here i am getting to see HSUPA written as well as UMTS written. Why is it so?
    2) Why do you think that HSDPA is faster than HSUPA?
    3) first of all i was using reliance 3g which was showing HSDPA but not vodafone HSUPA is giving atleast 5 times more speed than the relance one. Why is it so?{you said above that HSDPA is faster than HSUPA}
    4) What is UMTS? Why it appears along with HSUPA when connectivity is low or near NO-EXISTENCE?
    5)What is the difference between 3g and 3.5g?
    6)Which one is better vodafone or Reliance in data packets?

    I will be anxiously waiting for your answers.
    Yours No One

  6. O it’s really very nice…
    It’s written very nice and simple language with correct meaning….

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