Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Predictions for UMA 2007

Well, it’s that time of the year, when we take stock of where we have come from and evaluate where we are going. 2006 was very good for UMA technology, four launches by well known operators. But what’s the prognosis for 2007? More of the same?

Handsets models available will more than double

This is an easy one. Today Samsung, Nokia and Motorola each have a UMA device available. But Nokia has already announced a second unit and it’s easy to see new models coming from Samsung and Motorola. Then rumors abound about RIM and Sagem jumping into the market. But the UMAer has some inside information about some early players in the UMA handset market coming back strong in 2007 with new units. Double? Perhaps we should say triple the units in 2007.

Subscriber counts will go through the roof...

Well, that depends on how high the roof is, but if the UMA roof is 1m subscribers in 2007, then rest assured that we’ll see far more than that. Orange quietly predicted 1m subscribers in 2007 in France alone. That’s just under 5% of their total mobile base in France. If France, UK and Spain all get 5% subscriber penetration in 2007, Orange alone will have about 2m subscribers on UMA. T-Mobile in the US, with 25m subscribers, will likely do a similar number depending on how early in the year the service launches. But I happen to believe T-Mobile will have 1m UMA subscribers on net in 2007.

The others: Telecom Italia needs to resolve political issues before any significant traction will start, but indications are that the dust is settling. Telia, with all their excellent work, only has 1.5m mobile subscribers in Denmark. Saunalahti, committed to announcing their service in 2006. But let’s not forget the granddaddy of UMA offer, BT Fusion, which recently added Wi-Fi to the service offer. Subscriber counts are rumored to be anywhere from 30,000 to (a now discredited) 100,000. Unfortunately, at this point it’s clear Fusion isn’t going to be the 1m subscriber service they hoped for.

More operators launch service

UMA service is available in FR, UK, IT, ES, PL, NL, DK and FI. Not bad, but that’s with four service providers. The trend I believe will happen in 2007 is that a second operator in those countries will jump in with a UMA service to responds with a competitive threat. We should see at least four new operator/country launches in 2007.

VCC will actually be understood by the market

2006 was a year of VCC hype. VCC is the great white hope of fixed line operators everywhere to reign in FMS and put mobile calling back on the fixed network. Few of those discussing the “benefits” of VCC actually understand what it can, and far more importantly, what it can NOT do. My prediction is that in 2007 the market will actually understand what VCC can and can’t do.

Soon the market will uncover VCC. The “success” of T-One and other fixed line dual mode services will come to light and it will serve to highlight that UMA is the long term strategy for converging mobile and WiFi technologies.

So, are these really “predictions”? The UMAer has a lot of inside information. Perhaps this is just foreshadowing.

1 comment:

Nabin said...

Somewhat, realistic prediction for 2007. But still much room for improvement UMA specially with other rapid rise of competing technloogies.
Unless there are more varities and number of handsets and appealing and attractive business models for the subscriber UMA probably will grow in a slow and gradual pace.

The technology itself seems to be the best suitable and fully implemented FMC technology till date.Kudos Sir!! to Kineto Wireless and also others behind the technology.
What i see is the need of the hour now is a more rapid and aggressive improvements in terms of technology itself and business models so that it will grow rapidly and prevail for long.So a bit more of effort from the vendors, and the operators alike towards UMA would help it to be a famous technology in 2007.