A method and apparatus for cell update while in a Cell_FACH state are disclosed. After selecting a target cell, system information is read from the target cell including high speed downlink shared channel (HS-DSCH) common system information. A radio network temporary identity (RNTI) received in a source cell is cleared and a variable HS_DSCH_RECEPTION is set to TRUE. An HS-DSCH medium access control (MAC-hs) entity is configured based on the HS-DSCH common system information. High speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) transmission is then received in the target cell. A CELL UPDATE message is sent to notify of a cell change. The HSDPA transmission may be received using a common H-RNTI broadcast in the system information, a reserved H-RNTI as requested in a CELL UPDATE message, or a temporary identity which is a subset of a U-RNTI. The MAC-hs entity may be reset.