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Wireless Utopia

The journey towards a free wireless world.

Convergence and Operators

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Red Herring has a carefully worded article on the status of Fixed Mobile Convergence. It is the latest and the hottest convergence technology in Telecom nowadays and promises to solve all the problems associated in juggling between the home/landline connection and mobile connection. The landline phone's days are numbered if this technology picks up.

Unfortunately its not. And Red Herring places the blame squarely on the Operators. Either the backend network cannot handle the seamless handover between WiFi and mobile worlds or the Telco's haven't marketed it properly. One of the enabling technologies for FMC is IMS. But IMS is still being trialled. So the only option is to deploy GNA (the new name for UMA) which adds additional costs.

The other problem, which the report fails to mention, is that WiFi is something the operators are not really happy about. The combination of VoIP (read Skype) and WiFi can become a nightmare for the Telcos. Already their cash cow, voice revenues are at the lowest. And this combination has the ability to hurt that even more. Its only logical for them to resist this change. Their preferred way of doing it would be to replace the WiFi router in the home with a Pico or Femto cell. This approach removes the threat posed by the free VoIP services and keeps their revenues intact.

But again, WiFi is the incumbent at home. Its popular, cheap and proven to work. Virtually all devices at home are getting WiFi enabled. So how long will the operators be able to resist this onslaught is the question.

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posted by Rajiv, 2:14 AM

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