Friday, September 07, 2007

Sprint likes femtocells - not really a surprise

As reported by Doug Mahoney with VON from a conference in Chicago, Sprint Director of Signaling and Control Technology Manish Mangal stated that the company favored femtocells over Voice over Wi-Fi solutions.

Well, that’s not a surprise at all. For a company like Sprint, the only viable option for voice over Wi-Fi is an approach similar to VCC. As readers of this blog know, I have nothing good to say about VCC.

It’s a train wreck: burdensome to the network, complex t to install, and still not a ratified standard.

VCC isn’t tightly integrated into the phone or network. It’s sort of a ‘loose coupling’ which results in a poor hand-over experience and a high impact on battery performance.

But most of all, VCC delivers a very poor, fragmented user experience. Because subscribers are served from a different core network depending on the RAN they are using, subscriber get different services. How do you explain to someone that their phone can’t download ringtones or send an MMS when on Wi-Fi, but they can when on the CDMA network?

Don't take my word for it, Manish says the same things below:

“We’ve been testing voice over Wi-Fi,” stated Mangal, “There’s lot of hurdles [in implementing it], and no benefits. “There are so many technical issues to make it work.” Problems including the failure of dual-mode devices to catch on in the U.S. “We’ve sold [dual-mode devices], customers aren’t buying them,” he said, deterred by higher price points. Most current wireless networks were deployed as data networks, and haven’t been optimized for voice, so upgrading is expensive. More management time and demands for longer battery life round out the set of problems VoWi-Fi users have listed.

If Sprint’s comments are any indication, our analysis of VCC continues to be dead on. It's funny, operators rolling UMA-based dual-mode services don't have these problems at all.

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