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HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) is an upgrade for WCDMA (UMTS) networks. It doubles network capacity and increases download data speeds five-fold. Simply put.
More detailed it is a packet-based data service in W-CDMA downlink with data transmission up to 8-10 Mbps (and 20 Mbps for MIMO systems) over a 5MHz bandwidth in WCDMA downlink. HSDPA implementations includes Adaptive Modulation and Coding (AMC), Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO), Hybrid Automatic Request (HARQ), fast cell search, and advanced receiver design.
Credit goes to webopedia.com & umtsworld.com.