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David Williams
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David Williams
Global Director of Sales, Research
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Wireless VOIP & UMA: Friends or Foes?
Fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) is the buzz topic in telecom once again. And one of the areas making the most noise is the potential to complement traditional mobile services with VOIP and wireless LAN.

The vision is simple enough: When you're in range of a wireless LAN, you can make low-cost and/or rich media calls over IP; and when you're out of range, you can use the cellular network. For supporters of this approach to convergence, it's about tapping the explosive growth of wireless LAN and broadband access over recent years to bring "Internet economics" to mobile.

But this vision presents problems for operators. In addition to concerns that unlicensed wireless LAN technology would not work in a carrier-class manner, operators have not been enthusiastic about cannibalizing their successful voice businesses.

Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) seeks to assuage these concerns with a standards-based mechanism that allows operators to leverage some of the benefits of IP access and short-range unlicensed radio, yet preserve the operator call model and control. Because of this, UMA has emerged as the architecture most likely to deliver one-phone FMC services to a mass consumer market in the short term.

This report provides an assessment of the forces that are driving UMA adoption, combined with analysis of UMA technology, standards, equipment provider initiatives, and operator deployment scenarios. The focus is on how UMA can exploit a narrow window of opportunity (around three years) before SIP-WiFi and IMS solutions are standardized, mature, and ready for the mass market.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (uni1205_toc.pdf)
UMA has often been cast as competitive with other FMC solutions based on SIP and, eventually, IMS. Likewise, it is often unfairly characterized as "just an access technology" that doesn't produce much in the way of new services. On the contrary, UMA is now increasingly seen as an important stepping stone to IMS-based convergence. The excerpt below shows how this might shape up:
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
The excerpt below summarizes publicly announced, or publicly reported, UMA trials by operator. Most of the information is in the public domain, though some vendor data and launch dates are estimated based on information from industry sources.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Service providers covered in this report: BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA); Cingular Wireless LLC (a joint venture of BellSouth Corp. [NYSE: BLS] and AT&T Inc. [NYSE: T]); KT Corp. (NYSE: KTC); Orange SA (a subsidiary of France Telecom SA [NYSE/Paris: FTE]); Saunalahti Group Oyj (Helsinki: SAG1V); SunCom Wireless Inc. (NYSE: TPC); Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI); TeliaSonera AB (Pink Sheets: TLSNF; Stockholm: TLSN); and T-Mobile USA Inc. (a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG [NYSE: DT; Germany: DTE]).
Equipment providers in this report: Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGE); Azaire Networks Inc.; Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO); Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERICY: Stockholm: ERIC); Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT); Netrake Corp.; Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK; Helsinki: NOK1V); and Reef Point Systems Inc.
Total pages: 19
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