If you've never heard of CSoHSPA, we can't say we blame you, but the concept is surprisingly simple, the benefits are pretty clear, and odds are good the technology's coming to a network near you. Short for Circuit Switched over HSPA, the standard -- part of 3GPP Release 7 which covers HSPA+
-- seeks to improve handset battery life and significantly boost network capacity (something many carriers desperately need
) by moving voice from the traditional circuit switched voice channel found on legacy GSM networks to packet data. This means that all forms of connectivity your phone exchanges with the network get treated as the same payloads of bytes -- the same concept employed by any VoIP system and the strategy employed by LTE, WiMAX, and some EV-DO networks -- so the old-school voice channel can be repurposed for pure data. Long story short, phones end up running longer on a charge, networks end up with more capacity, and everyone sleeps a little easier. Nokia Siemens and Finnish carrier Elisa have just completed the world's first CSoHSPA call, which is a nice landmark on the road to wide-scale HSPA+ deployment; the technology is essentially a software upgrade for a lot of existing infrastructure, so we'd expect this to get rolled out all over the place as long as handsets support it in kind.