Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sony Ericsson Dominates User Survey

In an informal survey on UMAToday.com, 48% of web site visitors who voted selected the Sony Ericsson G705u as the best UMA handset, as compared to the LG KF-757 with 26.27% and Samsung’s P270 with 25.33%.

Sony Ericsson launched its G705u in September 2008. Us UMA enthusiasts rejoiced because, not only was this Sony Ericsson's first UMA devices, it was one of the first 3G/UMA devices ever. Orange was the first to grab the phone for its Unik customers.

The G705u features include a 2.4-inch display with automatic screen rotation courtesy of an accelerometer, aGPS with Google Maps for Mobile, 1GB included M2 memory, built-in FM radio, RSS reader, and full HTML browser. It also features a 3.2 megapixel cam that can capture video and then upload directly to YouTube under a new partnership with Google.

There’s a new survey at UMAToday.com now. Let us know what you think about femtocells.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What Are You Gonna Do Now, Mr. Operator?

Google Voice is coming out of beta, and the blogosphere is buzzing. Unfortunately for mobile operators, this is yet another over-the-top competitor that threatens to take over.

GigaOm’s Om Malik doesn’t mince words when he states:

“The Google Voice app essentially reduces the cell phone carrier to a dumb pipe.”

Google recently announced it will soon make its voice service widely available to users in the U.S. Mobile versions will allow users to manage Google Voice connections accessing and playing back voice mails, sending and receiving SMS messages and reading message transcripts, as well as making local and long distance calls from mobile phones. The apps will be fully integrated with contacts on the phone, so you can call via Google Voice straight from your address book.

Here's a screenshot from GigaOm:

In a Fierce Wireless article, Mike Dano purports that "[Google Voice] should give entrenched wireless operators pause. They've based their businesses on providing voice calling to millions, and if they can't at least stay on top of the innovations in that segment, what hope do they have of remaining relevant in a mobile broadband future?”

While FMC services like UMA and femtocells don’t provide all the bells and whistles of Google Voice, these services can go a long way for operators when competing with over-the-top services. One of the key features continues to be discounted international calling, and operators can bill calls made over Wi-Fi and/or femtocells at a dramatically reduced cost per minute, attacking one of the most important consumer issues.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

UMA Workaround?

When will we get UMA on the Android? I’m not the only one lamenting this sad state. Chatter on the Android Forums is chock full of techies hoping for a workaround or that T-Mobile will add it. Consumer demand is there, it’s time to get UMA on these new Android products.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sprint Embraces Wi-Fi

Sprint in the US is not and has never been a UMA operator. Still, I’ve written about the company before. Now, Sprint is making things a little more interesting for the dual-mode handset market.

"Sprint is embracing WiFi in all its major devices going forward," Jeff Clemow, the carrier's director of business product marketing, was quoted in a recent article in Fierce Wireless.

"It is now a requirement for all our PDA equipment suppliers to include WiFi," Clemow said, pointing to the new Palm Pre, which sports Wi-Fi, as evidence of the carrier's new position. "Several quarters ago we made a conscious decision to require all of our PDA suppliers to support Wi-Fi."

We have to say it. Sprint is behind the eight-ball on this whole “Wi-Fi is the way thing.” RIM has been leading the device market with Wi-Fi (and UMA-enabled) BlackBerries for some time, and spoke about how it was inevitable back in May 2008. The whole European market’s been bullish on Wi-Fi for some time now. In a study published in summer 2008, the European Union reported that within the EU27, 46% of households with internet access have Wi-Fi.

Even with a femtocell service, Sprint is realizing the best way to provide offload is with Wi-Fi. Now let’s talk about UMA…

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A UMA-Enabled iPhone?!

Someone is making a compelling case for a UMA-enabled iPhone, and, surprisingly, it’s not me.

In a recent article in PC World, IT Manager Michael Scalisi writes that he likes the new iPhone 3GS; Apple did a good job. However, it doesn’t quite cut it for business users.

"...However, the lack of a keyboard, UMA and better battery features allows the competition an edge with business users.”

Michael proposes the 3GS ‘B’ – another version of the much-loved iPhone. The B stands for business. That, he says, is what will cut into RIM’s ‘remaining share of the smartphone pie.” And, it’s a good business decision for Apple.

Michael makes a compelling case. It’s what I’ve been dreaming of for quite some time.

The argument is simple and a win-win for Apple and business users. Michael sums it up:

“A business model iPhone with a full QWERTY keyboard, UMA and a longer battery life would eliminate some of the last reasons for BlackBerry users to abstain from switching to an iPhone.”

Monday, July 13, 2009

VoLGA Webinar Redux

Did you get a chance to listen in live to the webinar the VoLGA Forum sponsored with Light Reading? If not, the replay is available now.

The topic was "Solving the Voice & SMS over LTE Problem." The focus was on understanding the issues from an operator's perspective. The concept of VoLGA, or Voice over LTE via the existing 3GPP UMA/GAN standard, is to “elevate” voice and SMS services to become packet applications over LTE. Today there is no viable mechanism to support SMS over LTE. VoLGA can be used to deliver SMS over LTE and solve this immediate issue facing service deployment.

Gabriel Brown, a senior analyst with Heavy Reading who covers the LTE landscape, introduced the topic and discussed the current landscape. The bulk of the presentation was by Franz Seiser, head of core network architecture with Deutsche Telekom (formerly T-Mobile International).

Listen to it at your leisure. Interested in more about VoLGA? Visit the VoLGA Forum site and VoiceoverLTE.com.