Vodafone has announced it has successfully trialled a 3G HSPA+ mobile broadband connection capable of peak download speeds in excess of 20Mbps.

The field trials of HSPA+ MIMO (Multiple In Multiple Out) were carried out on Vodafone Spain's network in southern Spain and Madrid city centre.

The initial test results have confirmed HSPA+ MIMO technology as a good candidate for delivering an enhanced mobile broadband experience in hotspot areas such as business districts and airports.

MIMO technology effectively uses two antennas in both the handset and base station to split the radio signal into two streams, enhancing network capacity and user experience, even in dense urban environments.

"Breaking the 20Mbps peak speed barrier in tests through HSPA+ MIMO is yet another key milestone in the evolution of 3G Mobile Broadband technology and raises the prospect of higher network performance for our customers in selected hotspots", said Andy MacLeod, global networks director of Vodafone.

"These test results mean that we will be able to derive even more value from our existing 3G infrastructure while raising the quality of service for our customers".

Earlier this year Vodafone announced the successful trial of "HSPA+
64QAM" technology which delivered peak speeds of 16Mbps in a test
environment, and has been found to be particularly suitable for
suburban and rural locations.

Vodafone is now looking at advancing the HSPA+ roadmap still further
through investigating Dual Carrier-HSPA, which apparently brings together two adjacent radio channels to further enhance the customer's experience.

Currently, Vodafone mobile broadband customers can download data and surf the net at speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps.