HSPA+ is the ultimate in pre-LTE wireless standards -- but before Vodafone UK gets there, it wants to take plain ol' HSPA just as far as it'll go by pushing downlink speeds all the way to 14.4Mbps. Great Britain's largest operator has announced that it has already flipped the switch on 14.4 in parts of London, Birmingham, and Liverpool, with the remainder of Her Majesty's Royal Network being bumped "on an ongoing basis." This puts rivals Orange, O2, and 3 in a bit of a crunch since they're just now in the process of rolling out 7.2, but then again, putting equipment in customers' hands to take advantage of the higher speeds is really the biggest challenge; otherwise, it's little more than a chest-puffing competition for these guys. At any rate, it makes you wonder about AT&T's claims that 14.4Mbps HSDPA had technical issues, doesn't it?