Thursday, January 03, 2008

FMC Services Top Light Reading List

In wrapping up the year’s top 10 operator service stories from 2007, Light Reading named an unprecedented two (out of ten) UMA-based services to the list. Congratulations to Orange (#7) and T-Mobile (#4) for their noteworthy and visionary dual-mode service offers.

Look for more innovations in 2008:

7. At FT, FMC spells UNIK
It's our first entry for France Telecom SA (NYSE: FTE - message board), which has taken a very Gallic approach to fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) by giving its service a name that sounds great in French but plain weird elsewhere.

That service is UNIK (or YOUNEEK, if you live in Paris). And it's a winner for le grand porteur's domestic business, Orange France (Paris: OGE - message board).

In June we reported: "Orange France has left other European operators in the dust when it comes to fixed/mobile convergence." (See Orange Doubles FMC Customers.)

Those others include some pretty big names, too. (See Deutsche Telekom Cancels FMC Service and BT's Flat Fusion .)

The service has proved popular in France because it has been well marketed and, er, it works. It even got a namecheck from FT's CEO when the carrier reported a leap in profits for the first half of 2007. (See Emerging Growth Pumps Up FT.)

With solid growth continuing towards the end of the year -- 468,000 dualmode WiFi/GSM handsets sold for its unlicensed mobile access (UMA)-based service by the end of September -- the carrier is now planning a 3G version of the service. (See Orange Builds on FMC Base and Unik 3G.)

4. Born in the UMA
OK, so we've already had one FMC entry, but we make the rules, and we've stuck another one in.

This time it's T-Mobile USA 's HotSpot @Home service, launched in June this year. (See T-Mobile Launches UMA in USA.)

What's really special about this service is that subscribers not only get to hook up to their WiFi connections at home for cheap calls, but they can make mobile calls through any of the operator's 8,500 hotspots around the U.S. for just $10 a month.

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