Thursday, March 29, 2007

Informa's very successful 2nd UMA conference

Last week Informa held its second UMA conference in Cannes. Overall it was a very successful event, with 8 presentations from operators (two from Orange). All the key players were there in force, including Alcatel, Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia and Kineto.

In addition, there were many operators who had come to hear about the market and the successes to date. They weren’t disappointed, Orange, Telia and Telecom Italia all presented on the status of their deployments and feedback on the successes.

While it would not be appropriate for me to recite information verbatim, we did get excellent insight into metric of UMA users. Also, Telia shared a very clever television commercial they are running in Denmark for their HomeFree service. It highlighted their fixed/mobile offer and the key benefits. No wonder there is so much demand.

One very interesting presentation was from NXP on their efforts to increase battery performance for UMA devices. The net result is that NXP now has an extremely competitive platform which, in their words, offers up to 9 hrs talk time and 200 hrs standby-time for UMA-enabled handsets. I believe that meets the GSM bar. Kudos to NXP.

Will Franks with UbiquiSys offered an insightful presentation on femtocell technology and how dual-mode handsets and femtos will likely co-exist in the market.

There were two key themes at the event:

First, the industry absolutely needs more handsets. I believe in the coming months, two things will happen. First, there are a LOT of devices in the pipeline, and they will come to market. This is immediately very good news. Second, I believe the operators are beginning to realize the need to actively pursue the handset eco-system for more models. This means being more public about their services and the successes to date.

Second, several operators presented why they chose to go with UMA and not an alternative solution like VCC/IMS. I think hearing the feedback directly from operators on the evaluation process they went through and why they are skeptical or down-right dismissive of VCC was extremely validating for me. As you recall, this is the year I believe the industry will begin to realize just how limiting VCC truly is (witness DT dropping their pre-VCC “T-One service).

All in all, it was excellent. For those of you who didn’t make it, don’t hesitate to send me a note if you’d like to get more information. Next year’s event promises to be even better.

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