Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sonus has a VAN (Controller)

A few weeks back, Sonus Networks announced that it had joined the VoLGA Forum. Keen UMA Today readers recall that the VoLGA is a voice over LTE technology based on the existing 3GPP GAN standards.

Joining a forum isn't that exciting, but there was a nugget in the release that I missed. In the announcement, Sonus actually announced that it’s MobilEdge product (part of its MobilEvolution strategy) can be used as a VoLGA Access Network Controller, or VAN-Controller.

Sonus MobilEvolution architecture supports joint interworking of packet and circuit-switched network elements, enabling mobile network operators to initially combine a circuit-switched core network for legacy services with an IP-based access and core network for multimedia services. The Sonus MobilEdge can be used as a VANC (VoLGA Access Network Controller) as defined through the VoLGA forum. The VoLGA forum has been set up to facilitate the delivery of voice and SMS services within the LTE environment from initial development.

I believe this is the first confirmed product announcement supporting VoLGA. It’s good to see vendors pledging support to the technology.

Monday, April 27, 2009

AT&T continues to roll with Wi-Fi

One of my favorite topics is AT&T and their Wi-Fi opportunity. AT&T has quickly become the largest Wi-Fi provider in the US. Today was another story.

FierceWireless reported that AT&T’s connections at its 20,000+ hotspot network were 10.5m for Q1 2009. That’s up from 3.4 million connections in Q1 2008.

Where are all these new connections coming from? Laptops? Maybe, AT&T does offer free Wi-Fi hotspot access to AT&T DSL subscribers as well as 3G/HSPA subscribers.

But more likely is that this was from iPhones, which now receive free Wi-Fi access hotspots.

It would be so easy to add UMA to all those Wi-Fi enabled devices…

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

UMA dominates, reports Infonetics

Infonetics releases fairly regular reports on the FMC market. In October 2008, Infonetics principal analyst Stéphane Téral, wrote that “UMA continues to dominate the worldwide seamless FMC market.”

In the latest March 2009 report, Stéphane is reporting much of the same. He wrote:

“…Orange and T-Mobile and [now] Rogers Wireless are driving the UMA market and do not plan to slow down their deployments; in fact, they see the slowdown as an opportunity to lure more FMC subscribers."

Infonetics also reported:

  • The FMC and femtocell equipment markets will thrive during the current economic downturn.
  • Combined, sales of FMC network element equipment and femtocell equipment are expected to grow at a healthy rate through the economic downturn and really take off in 2011, reaching nearly $8 billion worldwide by 2013.
  • Worldwide UMA network controller (UNC) revenue is forecast to grow at a 44% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2008 to 2013.
  • The number of seamless FMC subscribers jumped 413% to 8.6 million worldwide in 2008 and is forecast to grow nearly 10-fold to 82 million by 2013.

Personally, I appreciate and second Stephane’s optimism about the UMA and FMC markets and think he’s right on track.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lusting after UMA

Is HTC on a roll with UMA devices? First there was the Shadow, then the new Touch 3G. And now, rumors are circulating about the Snap, aka S522.

As usual, broke news of the phone, catching it in the FCC shuffle. Now, others are beginning to dream about it.

“What would make this really lustful interesting is if the T-Mobile version supported UMA, or Unlicensed Mobile Access,” wrote JKontherun. It’s certainly a possibility. It looks like device will support AT&T’s 3G network and also T-Mobile’s 1700MHz band.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed. The list of UMA-enabled devices is growing by leaps and bounds.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Yankee Group Saves with UMA

It was like music to my ears to hear consulting firm Yankee Group raving to about the cost benefits and other advantages of its recent switch to T-Mobile for all its corporate mobile phone usage. It’s nice to hear about the benefits of UMA from a third-party, completely objective source.

Yankee Group decided to take control of its disparate wireless plans and selected T-Mobile's service, with one of the key advantages being the potential for cost savings with using Wi-Fi, particularly during international travel (the other being coverage on the 27th floor of the Prudential Tower in Boston).

The company chose T-Mobile 8320 BlackBerry Curves that “support unlicensed mobile access (UMA) calling over Wi-Fi, so employees traveling abroad can avoid outrageous international roaming rates."

They decided to standardize on Blackberries for all employees, while benefitting from the UMA capabilities on that device. The money saved on international calling far outweighs the device expenditures.

Beware of international calling and international roaming charges, Yankee Group recommends. “These charges can be enormous. Use Wi-Fi whenever possible.”

It’s just like I’ve been saying.

It’s true, Yankee switched to T-Mobile for a variety of reasons, and the company experienced tremendous savings in many areas. If you’re still not sure how UMA can work in the enterprise, read this article for some good ideas.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Rumored Blackberry Devices In The Works

Today, the BoyGenius reported on a few new RIM BlackBerry products that may be in the works. It seems that RIM continues to be bullish on UMA, along with Wi-Fi. There is even rumor of a version of the Bold with UMA.

There is always more to look forward to with RIM! The company has provided plenty of fodder for our news machine in the past.
In my Mobile World Congress wrap-up post, I lamented the fact that HTC did not launch its ‘Jade’ at the show, as many had predicted they would. Never fear, the HTC Touch 3G (aka Jade) is finally here.

Today, Orange is offering it to subscribers, and I’m sure other operators are waiting in the wings.

Engadget was right on track when it reported on the phone way back in September 2008. It’s a quad-band, UMA-enabled, 3G smartphone that features the next-generation TouchFLO™, HTC’s touch-responsive interface. It has integrated GPS and a 3 megapixel camera. It measures 102x53x14mm and weighs 96 grams. It supports video, has a USB connection, 6.5 hours of battery talk time and comes in a variety of fun colors.

These UMA-enabled devices….they just keep coming.

VoLGA Quietly Posts Stage 1 Requirements Document

It appears that the VoLGA-Forum has quietly posted the first document in a set of VoLGA specifications. Check it out here.

It looks as though Architecture (Stage 2) and Protocol (Stage 3) documents will be forthcoming shortly.

VoLGA, which stands for Voice over LTE via Generic Access, looks to use the existing 3GPP UMA/GAN specification as the basis for resolving the problems associated with delivering voice over LTE.