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Wi-Fi and cellular convergence set to hit mainstream
Posted: 18-Jan-2005 [Source: Senza Fili Consulting]

[New report projects growing interest by carriers in UMA deployment over the next 12 months offering seamless roaming from cellular networks to a WLAN.]

Wi-Fi and cellular convergence is about to hit the mainstream, with mobile operators planning to deploy UMA services over the next 12 months, according to a new report from Senza Fili Consulting, a consultancy focused on wireless data technologies and services. The report, UMA and Beyond: Mobile Operators Benefit from Wi-Fi and Cellular Convergence, estimates the revenues from Wi-Fi and cellular convergence services to be $1.6 billion by 2010 in the US alone, with over 26 million subscribers. "North America will be the largest and one of the first markets to launch UMA services," said Monica Paolini, author of the report. "Mobile operators see Wi-Fi and cellular convergence as a cost-effective way to improve residential coverage, increase ARPU, and keep churn down."

Worldwide demand for Wi-Fi and cellular converged services will reach 55 million by 2010. Western Europe, Japan and Korea will be key UMA markets and, as broadband penetration grows, China will quickly become a very attractive market.

UMA enables GSM mobile operators to offer fully converged connectivity using their existing core network. Subscribers will be able to seamlessly roam from the cellular network to a WLAN, maintaining their call as they move from one to the other.

"It is a simple and effective technology that enables mobile operators to roll out the solution in the short term," Paolini explained. "But mobile operators and manufacturers need to develop a clear transition path to a SIP-based architecture, which will make it easier to extend the service to other wireless technologies, like CDMA, EV-DO, WiMAX or FLASH-OFDM, and to include advanced IMS-based services."

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