Wednesday, April 28, 2010


This is the week of RIM's big Wireless Enterprise Symposium (WES) event in Orlando. Hence the flurry of announcements related to new RIM devices, the new RIM 6.0 OS, and the addition of Wi-Fi calling to the MVS product.

Considering T-Mobile offers a UMA-based 'Wi-Fi Calling' service and offers MVS with 'Wi-Fi calling', there may be some confusion in the market. Is MVS competitive or complementary with UMA? The short answer:

They are complementary solutions.

UMA is the delivery of mobile services over Wi-Fi. With UMA-enabled BlackBerries (in this case), subscribers use their mobile services the same over Wi-Fi as over the GSM/cellular network. UMA offers two specific benefits to the subscriber: improved mobile coverage via Wi-Fi; and lower-cost calling, primarily due to T-Mobile's 'unlimited Wi-Fi Calling' offer for enterprises. We like to say that UMA makes the mobile phone "work better and cost less".

MVS addresses a different problem. The new Wi-Fi calling feature in MVS extends a subscriber's fixed-line PBX extension to their BlackBerry. Personally this isn't something I would want. If I really want someone to get ahold of me, I give out my mobile number. If it's not urgent, I give out my desk phone. But there may be subscribers (or enterprises) that want to push the fixed line onto a BlackBerry. More importantly, I think there are enterprises interested in managing how employees use their mobile phones and how accessable they are on their fixed lines. But I digress...

The point is that both MVS and UMA offer an overlapping benefit: lower cost calling. With UMA, it takes the form of mobile calls over Wi-Fi not using the bucket of minutes assigned to the enterprise. With MVS, it comes by not using the mobile network (and therefore the mobile operator's billing system) and routing calls through the enterprise PBX (and over negotiated fixed line contracts).

Therefore, it is possible to deploy MVS (ie put a PBX extension on a BlackBerry) with or without UMA. And conversely, it's possible to have a UMA-enabled BlackBerry without the MVS client. Ergo - it is also possible to have a BlackBerry with MVS *and* UMA.

For IT managers, what's better? Well, it comes down to what problem is being solved. UMA offers two benefits: lower cost mobile calls and better cellular coverage.

MVS offers at least two benefits: lower cost calls through by routing Wi-Fi calls through the PBX, better management/control of mobile calling and the ability to put a fixed line on the mobile phone.

For mobile operators, it's clear that UMA retains control of the call through the mobile network, where MVS takes Wi-Fi calls off the mobile network and into the fixed-line PBX.

To conclude, MVS and UMA are not competitive, they are complementary technologies, solving different problems for the enterprise.


inte said...

Does the MSV-solution provide mobile-to-wifi-handover as UMA?
Or will the connection drop when leaving wifi-coverage? Would make it pretty useless and odd in that case.

Lei said...

Yes, it has the mobile wifi "handover", but per my experience, it does not work well...

Lei said...

Yes, it has the mobile wifi "handover"; but, per my experience, it does not work well...