Tuesday, March 03, 2009


First, I’d like to apologize for my utter lack of blogging over the past couple of weeks (months…?). It has been a bit hectic getting ready for Mobile World Congress, as well as for some other cool things we have in the works (yes... that's a teaser).

At MWC, UMA was certainly not as hot a topic as femtocells, but it continues to be a successful service offer for the providers offering it. There are so many companies with UMA products that the community's become a 'who's who' of the mobile industry.

Orange was a major supporter of UMA and its own Unik service at MWC. Executive Vice President Yves Tyrode spoke during the "Mobile and the Converging World" session on Tuesday and reinforced important messages about Unik:

  • Unik generates higher household ARPUs
  • Unik subscribers churn less than average

But he also took the time to talk about why UMA is key for the company's mobile TV service. The service was launched with two new 3G UMA phones, the Sony Ericsson G705u and LG Secret KF-757.

  • UMA provides a seamless experience, switching the streaming TV signal from 3G to Wi-Fi.
  • UMA and Wi-Fi complement the 3G macro network with high bandwidth and a strong signal indoors.
  • UMA, with it’s SIM-based authentication, satisfies DRM requirements for delivery over Wi-Fi.
  • There are an increasing number of high-end multimedia phones with UMA.

In addition to the presentation, Orange hosted the 2nd Annual UMA Innovation Awards with an elegant affair on their stand. The awards recognized innovation and excellence in UMA-enabled handsets.

A highlight of the awards program was the Innovator's Award, presented to the company which has demonstrated unique innovation in UMA over the past year. This year’s winner was T-Mobile US for its highly successful fixed-line VoIP service based on UMA.

In wandering the Orange stand, the handsets on display were primarily Unik/UMA devices, again reinforcing the company's commitment to UMA.

One announcement the UMA community was hoping for was an unveiling of the HTC Jade, a phone rumored to have UMA support. Unfortunately, no such announcement was forthcoming. But CTIA is just around the corner…

Of course the Kineto stand had its regular display of all UMA-enabled products. With 24 handsets, three terminal adaptors and five handset platforms on display, it’s clear UMA devices are abundant.

There were plenty of rumors about Telia’s re-launch of their UMA service, as well as Orange’s push into the UK, Spain and Poland. There were even rumors about new UMA-enabled devices from Nokia, perhaps even N series phones.

In retrospect, 2008 was an excellent year for UMA. And all indications show that 2009 will, once again, exceed expectations.

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