End Game: Wireline Eliminated (Best of both worlds!)

May 28, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Continuing the use of mobile phones to its logical conclusion, mobile phone Operators and phone manufacturers are delivering solutions and pricing plans that allow the wireless phone to completely eliminate the wired phone. The End User can get the best of both worlds: lower cost and more functionality. I’ve run the numbers for individuals and enterprises, and it works. (I use it in my Home Office every day.) Benefits: One number, always reachable, one voice mailbox, etc. Users can choose to merge their wireline and wireless systems, but the end game is to completely eliminate the wireline (“cut the cord”).

Wireless + Wireline (Interim Step)

If the administration prefers to keep the desk phone (for regulatory or policy reasons, to track corporate communications), then the wireless device can work as a wireless extension of the desktop phone (see the example of BlackBerry Mobile Voice System). This is a lot more complicated to maintain: more gear added to allow the mobile phone to act as an extension of the office PBX, and more maintenance of that gear. This solution is only desirable for those that must keep the wireline phone.

Wireless-only

Maximum savings of $1,000/year occur when the wireline or IP phone is eliminated. This solution is simple and easy to implement, as it does not add gear, it eliminates it. Eventually, the entire wireline solution will be eliminated, leaving the office with a wireless-only solution. This solution can be implemented using either (a) existing Wi-Fi or (b) a dedicated, in-building femtocell. Read on for a comparison of these two options and existing examples of these solutions, which concludes that UMA over Wi-Fi is best today, but Femtocells will eventually be the best solution.

Voice over Wi-Fi growing, Eliminating wireline phones

May 28, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Voice over Wi-Fi is growing, as predicted, since (a) Operators are happy to offload voice and especially data and, with Operator permission, the (b)Mobile phone manufacturers are building it into their (smart)phone platforms. This is part of the wider solution that Operators are employing to manage the deluge of data swamping their networks (see other articles for more details on how Operators are offloading mobile data to manage the exponential growth that they are experiencing, to prevent their Mobile Internet business from being broken).

UMA is the buzzword: enables Voice connections (transparent to the User) using available Wi-Fi connections. UMA is a piece of software that is built into the phone. It is a lot easier to use than a separate Voice over IP apps that must be installed and configured by the user, and that requires the user to have a IP data plan.

BlackBerry already has UMA  across their model line, and Android may offer it (there are rumors that this is being tested; see petition requesting it). Apple iPhone has Wi-Fi but does not yet include UMA, but it could easily (perhaps we’ll see it in a future release).

UMA can deliver significant savings of $500/year or more, by eliminating a landline phone and allowing the user to solely use their mobile phone. It’s the equivalent of replacing your landline phone by solely using your cellphone (than can also save you up to $1,000/year, surprisingly), but the Operator typically encourages this and includes it at little/no cost! You get free voice in the Home/Office! One can save a lot on International Roaming and Long Distance charges, too, since UMA calls are routed over Wi-Fi back to the Home network, and appear (and are billed) as local calls–as if you were calling from your home/office. In actual use, we found that “Road warriors” could save up to $1,000/month by using a UMA device (such as a BlackBerry) to make calls over Wi-Fi while traveling.

Read on to see how UMA is one of many solutions towards eliminating wireline, in End Game: Wireline Eliminated.

Confirmed: T-Mobile to Discontinue @Home service

January 12, 2010 at 4:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Update (Feb. 2010): T-Mobile confirms this (currently unofficial) rumor: @Home Service will be discontinued as soon as the current set of inventory (@Home routers) is sold, so if you like this service, go get the hardware now. T-Mobile will support existing subscribers. This removes the best wireline replacement service currently on the market in the U.S., as T-Mobile turns instead to focus on wireless-only services. Bad news for anyone that still likes to use a wireline phone (example: I use an excellnt Polycom conference phone for hours at a time in my home office).

Rumors are circulating that T-Mobile is about to discontinue their @Home service (although I have been unable to confirm this officially). Although these rumors refer to a statement made on January 7th by a T-Mobile rep, there is no official mention of it on the T-Mobile web site. Strange.  Even the purported T-Mobile statement is vague, and gives no clear reason for the change.

If true, then my interpretation is that T-Mobile is focusing less on the interim step (supporting wireline use with a VoIP product delivering small profit) and is focusing more on the destination, mobile-only use (and wireline replacement). This is consistent with the original rumor that referenced COO dislike for its lack of profitability, reported by Boy Genius in December.

This would remove an attractive alternative for some consumers that are cutting the cord, but prefer to still maintain wireline (and cordless) devices in their home. For those that are interested in eliminating their telephone and Long Distance bills, please check out the menu of options that I just reviewed.

Here are links to the rumors (and I would welcome definitive news of this, if it exists):

– RUMORS – RUMORS- RUMORS – RUMORS- RUMORS – RUMORS- RUMORS – RUMORS –

T-Mobile shuts down @Home landline replacement service
January 8, 2010 — 7:49am ET | By Sean Buckley

“T-Mobile was so confident that its @Home landline replacement service would be such a draw for consumers that when it introduced the service in July 2008 it had a commercial showing a woman cutting down phone lines with a chain saw. Cautioning consumers not to literally cut down lines, the @Home service tried to sell the idea that you could cut the phone company’s cord and get dirt cheap calling through your broadband line. But with so many new broadband VoIP options on the market, the @Home service never took off the way T-Mobile envisioned it and now it’s going to stop selling the service. T-Mobile will, however, support existing @Home customers.

The idea was simple enough. For $10 a month, a user could make unlimited local and long-distance calls by plugging a T-Mobile provided box into their respective cable or DSL broadband line. Although T-Mobile did not disclose why it’s cancelling the service, it’s likely that T-Mobile realized just as did Verizon when it canceled its Hub service last fall that its customers would just use their wireless phone instead of a new landline replacement service

– MORE RUMORS – MORE RUMORS- MORE RUMORS- MORE RUMORS- MORE RUMORS –

No One’s @Home: T-Mobile Axes Landline Replacement
01/07/2010

T-Mobile USA said Thursday it will no longer sell its @Home landline replacement service, although it will continue to support the customers already using it. The Deutsche Telekom-owned wireless service provider introduced T-Mobile@Home in July 2008; for $10 per month, the product – a box plugged into a broadband connection and landline phone – allowed subscribers to make unlimited local and long-distance calls. T-Mobile didn’t say why it’s yanking @Home, but rival Verizon Wireless last fall axed its similar offering, Hub, because customers relied on wireless services rather than the landline replacement option. It’s fair to speculate that T-Mobile’s users are following much the same patterns. T-Mobile emphasized the @Home decision does not impact the company’s Unlimited HotSpot Wi-Fi service.

– ORIGINAL RUMOR- ORIGINAL RUMOR- ORIGINAL RUMOR- ORIGINAL RUMOR-

T-Mobile to discontinue @Home service

by Kelly Hodgkins on January 7th, 2010

About a month ago, one of our tipsters hit us up to let us know that T-Mobile was probably in the process of shutting down their @Home service. The @Home service allowed T-Mobile customers to make home phone calls via a T-Mobile router connected to the internet. The @Home service was an available add-on to most wireless service plans offered by T-Mobile for a modest $10/month. Bad news for future @Home customers, though, because another circulating rumor confirms what we reported a month ago — T-Mobile has supposedly halted future investment in the @Home service. Current customers can continue to use the service and T-Mobile will continue to support it for the time being. Once the current inventory of @Home routers has been sold, T-Mobile will no longer offer this service to new customers, though. Any T-Mobile customers interested in jumping on board, should do so tout de suite.

Solutions for Expanding Data Usage

February 26, 2009 at 3:58 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Q: What would you do if your business costs were forecast to increase 100X?

A: Find ways to cut costs!

Operators In Search of Solutions

Having established the long-term trend of exploding data growth (see previous analysis “Problem: Data Traffic Growing Faster than Revenues“) and the consequent threat to profitability (see previous analysis “100X Data Growth vs. 2X Revenue Growth“), Operators are already looking for ways to offload or eliminate cost, and multiple solutions will be required. The problem represents a severe threat to mobile network operators (MNOs): perhaps 100X growth of aggregate data vs. 2X growth of revenue (in the next 5 years). This unrestrained growth in cost is not just a threat to the nascent mobile internet business, but to the entire industry, since the MNOs rely on mobile Internet services for revenue growth. If your Cost Of Goods Sold (COGS) increased 100X, what would you do? Find ways to cut out fat!

This problem is so severe that it must be addressed systemically, with multiple solutions. Since the growth in cost is 100X, no single fix can deliver that reduction in total cost of data delivery. LTE is not a silver bullet that can magically solve this problem: LTE offers, perhaps a 6X cost reduction against a tide of 100X growth in use (and therefore marginal cost). Analysys recently examined the business case for LTE and found that LTE could cut the cost of delivering a MB of data to 1/6 of its current level: from € 0.60 to € 0.10 pr MB. Since the delivery of data service is composed of many components, each component will have to be scrutinized and cost-reduced for the system to reach the necessary cost reduction.

Where is the greatest amount of CAPEX and OPEX in the value chain, and what are the greatest opportunities for cost reductions? Here is a list of promising candidates for reducing the cost of a segment of the data value chain, listed from high-level applications to low-level bit transport (not in order to total, potential cost reduction):

  • Elimination of Handset Subsidy
    Operators seek to eliminate handset subsidy since it represents a large, initial, per-subscriber cost. Some markets already have migrated to this model. In the U.S., for example, Clearwire is pioneering this model by focusing on the End User benefit of using any compatible device to their network.
  • Handset OS standardization
    The current handset market is filled with many competitors-too many competitors-that split the effort in developing an delivering handsets and applications. Competition will cull the field to a smaller number. Operators have made this concern known and have already started to implement this, within their own domain. Unfortunately, when each carrier reduces the number of handset OSs used, it does not effectively reduce the total number of OSs in the industry, as each operator may have a favorite. This reduction will, therefore, take time to play out, as the industry slowly reaches a consensus and pares down the list of providers.
  • Prioritization & Content-specific Billing, Policy-Based Control & Enforcement, Subscriber-awareness, and Fair Use Enforcement
    Operators can be more efficient in delivering traffic by smoothing out demand (reducing peaks demand) by prioritizing usage into classes (e.g., conversational VoIP traffic has stringent delivery requirements, whereas email can be delivered using whatever remaining capacity is available, as “best effort” delivery). Overall data traffic can be intelligently managed, so that congestion is reduced. In particular, fair use enforcement is likely to be invoked to avoid a few users hogging the available bandwidth. In some fixed broadband networks, 5% of users consume 80% of the bandwidth. By significantly reducing peak demand, less network capacity is required, reducing network cost.
  • Flat, Enhanced Packet Core (EPC), Architecture
    In LTE, the IP access architecture is flattened and simplified, allowing the architecture to be delivered in fewer components and connections to be achieved with fewer hops. This significantly reduces the cost and increases the scalability.
  • IP Backhaul (e.g., via Metro Ethernet)
    This is the single, greatest opportunity for reducing Operating Expenses (OPEX), since transport costs represent as much as 45% of OPEX. High-speed IP backhaul is becoming available in metro areas, and can replace the use of costly and cumbersome dedicated circuits (e.g., E1/T1) and point-to-point microwave when connecting hundreds of cell sites back to the mobile network.
  • RAN Sharing
    Where allowed by regulation, multiple MNOs can share a single, common RAN, avoid duplication of capital and operational resources. This can save perhaps 30% of RAN costs for each operator.
  • Monitor Resource Usage
    Available bandwidth can be efficiently shared by use of active monitoring and policy control.
  • Femtocell and UMA
    These techniques promise to radically reduce the capital and operating expense of delivering mobile broadband, by (a) offloading traffic from the existing, macrocellular network to small cell sites installed in the Home and Workplace of End Users. MNOs not only offload traffic, but they also obtain significant cost reduction by obtaining free use of End User resources. Femtocells obtain free backhaul from the End User; UMA obtains free backhaul, radio (Wi-Fi) and spectrum (Wi-Fi).
  • Increase RAN Capacity (e.g., Spectral Efficiency via LTE)
    By delivering more bits to more users over the same spectrum, the cost of radio spectrum (a large, initial investment that can be $1 Billion or more) is reduced. Ongoing improvements in radio techniques continue to provide greater and greater efficiencies, delivering 10X capacity improvements from current to planned systems (i.e., recent advances included in HSPA+ and LTE, such as OFDMA and MIMO).

Only by relentlessly and systemically reducing the cost of each of the components can we hope to maintain profitability as traffic (and cost) continues to increase dramatically. Femtocells, especially, hold a great deal of promise as they can simultaneously cut away the major CAPEX and OPEX costs-as described separately in “Femtocells: A Key Cost Reduction, via Offload.”

Femtocells: A Key Cost Reduction, via Offload

February 26, 2009 at 3:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Femtocells, in particular, represent an excellent method for MNOs to offload this expanding data use onto End Users’ networks-completely relieving the MNO of major CAPEX and OPEX costs! When an End User installs a femtocell in their home, the MNO obtains:

  • free or reduced cost radio access network (RAN),
    a major CAPEX and OPEX cost
  • free backhaul (from RAN to network) and site rental,
    the major OPEX cost

This solution may revolutionize the way that MNOs deploy their radio networks: instead of purchasing and installing very expensive “macro” cell sites to cover large areas, the MNO partners with the End User to deploy many, cheap, femtocells to deliver capacity where the End User needs it. Certainly, femtocells can efficiently divert/offload traffic (from the MNOs) by delivering excellent coverage and high capacity access where people consume it (perhaps 75% of use in their Home and Campus/Office environments).

Operators need major cost reduction in the delivery of radio access, as the current method is extremely costly, so they will drive Femtocell technology to a successful outcome and deploy them wherever mobile internet is available for free backhaul. Without femtocells, MNOs are forced to deploy more radios, leading to costly RAN enhancements. And MNOs are increasing their spending on radio networks, reflecting their reliance on adding macrocellular capacity. [“Mobile Networks Forecasts: Future Mobile Traffic, Base Stations & Revenues,” Informa, http://www.informatm.com/networks, 7/2008]

In a very short time, femtocells may become the dominant method of delivering coverage and capacity to subscribers. Operators are just starting to deliver service with femtocells costing $200, but the Cost Of Goods (COGS) will undoubtedly drop quickly as Femto deployments expand from thousands to millions.

Although Femtocells are an excellent way for MNOs to reduce or eliminate some of their largest cost components, femtocells are but one of many ways that MNOs will cut costs in delivering data services (enumerated in a previous analysis, “Solutions for Expanding Data Usage“).

Enterprises: UMA or Femto?

February 14, 2009 at 5:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Q: Which solution best serves an Enterprise or Campus: UMA or Femto?

A: UMA, then Femto

Summary: the best approach for an enterprise is “UMA first, Femto later”—the same recommendation that I’ve made for individual subscribers at Home, but for different reasons. Enterprises can start savings today with UMA. This allows the enterprise to reap significant savings now, with an Enterprise Mobility solution that can evolve and use Femtocells as they become available. No use waiting on a cool, new technology to save the day … especially when you have no idea on what benefits and pricing will be offered to you.

Our company agreed to deploy “UMA now, Femto later.” We easily came to this conclusion after a recent, enterprise-wide review of UMA vs. Femto with our IT and Telecom team for a moderately large, multi-location company (2,500 employees in large and small offices around the world). It is a relevant question for enterprises, with UMA available and Femto coming. We concluded that we should start the savings now for several, independent, use cases:

  1. At Work or On Campus: Reduce Mobile Charges, and potentially eliminate Wireline service (PBX/CENTREX/VoIP)
  2. When Roaming: Eliminate Roaming Charges
  3. At Home Office: Eliminate Wireline + LD Charges

Note: Any Enterprise can start using UMA for selective End Users, for each Use Case.

uma-vs-femto-for-enterprise-and-home

What Benefits Will Operators Provide With Femtocells?
Start saving with UMA today, as we do not know what the future holds. The undeniable truth is that Enterprise femtocells do not yet exist, we don’t know for sure when they will be deployed, or what benefits (if any) will be offered to the Enterprise by the Mobile Operator. So it makes no sense to put off savings, if your operator is offering them (as is our case in the U.S., with free, unlimied voice and data service using UMA over Wi-Fi).

Femtocells, when available for the Enterprise, will be welcomed by the End User but will present new concerns for the Enterprise:

  • It is easier for the End User to use Femto—no change is required (versus learning how to use UMA over Wi-Fi).
    To eliminate any learning curve, I suppose that the handset could be pre-configured for the user to use the (a) enterprise WLAN and/or (b) Home WLAN, but that is still a manual process that is not fun to consider for 1,000 handsets. I believe that this step (and others) can be automated for some devices, such as automatically configuring BlackBerry devices with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). However …
  • It is not easier for the Enterprise to use Femto—many changes are required.
    As I discussed with my IT organization, it requires a lot of carrier- and equipment-specific work for the carrier and IT organization to integrate the femtocells with the Enterprise routing and power, resulting in a carrier-specific configuration that locks the Enterprise to a single carrier. The enterprise will, quite literally, be an extension of the Mobile Operator’s Network, with lots of femtocells attached to their walls and routers. I worked for AT&T Mobility when we pioneered this solution (“Wireless Office Service,” using an earlier, more costly and complex microcell technology), and once installed, it is likely to stay in place due the inconvenience and cost of installing a new solution. Enterprise Mobility solutions are very “sticky” (and therefore extremely attractive for the Mobile Network Operator to lock in high-ARPU subscribers).

Eventually, for nearly all of us, Enterprise femtocells will be a wonderful thing for End Users on campus, just as they are in the Home. However, the technology is not there yet. Nearly all femotcells are low-capacity (up to 4 simultaneous calls), suitable for the residence. Only Huawei has a product that supports significant capacity (16 simultaneous calls) [see Light Reading report] and the first Mobile Network trials are starting (by Orange/FT and AT&T Mobility) [see Femto Trials and Deployments]. We simply can not predict certain, near-term success for enterprise femtocells with the confidence that we embrace Home femtocells. And, most importantly for enterprises, we will have to wait and see what service plans and benefits are offered to enterprises that allow their buildings to be an extension of the operator’s radio network. Will the mobile operator generously offer free, unlimited, on-campus voice and data service (as is offered with most UMA plans today)? Or will the operator be stingy, and offer no cost savings (as does Verizon Wireless with their “Network Extender” Home Femtocell, requiring the End User to purchase the unit, and offering no discounted/free usage)?

Conclusion: Reap savings now using free voice and data (using UMA over Wi-Fi) in the Enterprise just as at Home.

UPDATE: What Qs should an Enterprise ask regarding in-building wireless? Which technology would you deploy? Check out the excellent discussion on this topic, “Six Questions for Enterprise IT departments deploying Femtocells” at ThinkFemtocell. David & I discuss the pros and cons of Femtocell and UMA deployment in the Enterprise.

Femtocell Trials and Deployments (to date)

January 11, 2009 at 2:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Let’s watch the roll-out of femtocells, as it should be interesting to track the rate of commercial success, including:

  • Which operators are leading the deployment
    (I foresee that the first deployments will be from either a) a short list of data-centric incumbents and b) other, innovative competitors, as described in this recent post)
  • How femtocells are used by operators,
  • What type of femtocell is used
    (there are several, different technical and capacity configurations available now and in the near future)

Here’s the current data that I’ve collected. If you have an update, please do send it to me (email can be sent to me here). Please also check out David Chambers’ assessment of the U.S. femtocell market.

femtocell-trials-and-deployments-v7

Femtocell Trials and Deployments (as of 2/19/2009)

Which Operators Need to Deploy Femtocells?

January 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Which Mobile Operators Need to Deploy Femtocells?

(A) Incumbents: Strong, Data-centric carriers (seeking efficient offload)
             AND
(B) New Competition: Innovative players making a dent in existing wireline and wireless players

Incumbent candidates (category A) include (in order of data-centricity):

  1. NTT DoCoMo 
  2. China Mobile
  3. KDDI
  4. Verizon Wireless
  5. AT&T Mobility
  6. Sprint Nextel Launched 8/2008
  7. China Unicom
  8. Softbank Launched 11/2008
  9. O2 UK
  10. T-Mobile USA

“New Competition” operators are defined in each market (there’s not a top 10 list for this category), but you can recognize them within each market as they:

  • Significantly lag the incumbent provider(s)  
    Benefit: Femto improves coverage)
  • Innovate to succeed
  • Only provide mobile services
    (since operator does not currently deliver wireline service, they can provide a Femto solution that includes wireline at marginal cost)  
    Benefit: Cost savings for Subscriber, greater service revenue for Operator 

Already there is an operator in this category (third to market, with the most advanced product deployment to date): StarHub, a cable-based (ISP) mobile competitor in Singapore. Another example would be SFR, who can leverage their broad, DSL customer base through Neuf Cegetel, of which SFR owns 40.5 % stake (as Unstrung opined in June 2008). 

Note: Femtocells will become mainstream and will be widely adopted. These are the operators that will lead the delivery of Femtocell solutions, due to their competitive needs.

Watch the actual operator trials and deployments here (I plan to keep this updated to allow us to track the progress of femtocell deployment and to test my hypothesis).

Wi-Fi Appearing in Smartphones

November 19, 2008 at 12:59 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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It’s encouraging that many of the top handsets are starting to include Wi-Fi. 11 of the top 15 smartphones reviewed by PC Magazine include Wi-Fi! And Wi-Fi support is trickling down into mainstream (less expensive) handsets, as the core chipsets incorporate this as a basic feature. Accordingly, the number of Wi-Fi handsets is expected to double every two years (50% growth per year) [ABI Resrarch, 2009], to the point where half of the handsets will include Wi-Fi in 2012. A previous post discussed the current handsets that work with @Home and include Wi-Fi and UMA software, and included forecasts for lots more Wi-Fi handsets on the horizon.

The top, Wi-Fi capable handsets are (in alphabetical order, not by rank):

  • BlackBerry Curve 8320/8330 Available from T-Mobile for @Home
  • BlackBerry Pearl 8120 Available from T-Mobile for @Home
  • Apple iPhone 3G
  • HP iPAQ 910 (unlocked)
  • HTC Touch Diamond (unlocked)
  • Palm Treo Pro (unlocked)
  • Palm Treo 800w
  • Samsung SCH-i760
  • Nokia E71 (unlocked)
  • Nokia N78 (unlocked)
  • Nokia N95 (unlocked)

But, recall that @Home requires not just Wi-Fi but also UMA software. For details, see the previous post on UMA handsets.

Too bad we can’t just grab our favorite (unlocked, Wi-Fi enabled) handset and use it on @Home. I seriously doubt that there is a way to get a UMA client installed on an unlocked phone of your choice, as a 3rd-party app, since the UMA software is configured to reach inside the carrier’s network. Such an app would typically not be user-configured, nor would the config settings even be visible. But, hey, unlocked phones can be configured for other IP services (MMS, web browsing), so it’s possible.

If anyone knows of a way to get a UMA app installed on an unlocked phone, please let me know!

Comparing Femto vs. UMA Service: Sprint AIRAVE vs. T-Mobile @Home

November 8, 2008 at 1:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Q: What is the best solution for delivering mobile capacity in your Home/Office?

A: T-Mobile @Home has the edge

Or, technically speaking, how does a real-world exampleof UMA compare with Femtocell?
For a more general comparison of your choices for savings, please see my review of available solutions for “Cutting the Cord.” Alternatively, if  you desire to geek out on the technical details, check out my previous post on the technology alternatives that mobile operators are using to deliver service in your home/office.

femto-vs-uma-service-with-logos10

Estimate for single person subscription, two-year use.
Restriction: T-Mobile requires a 2-year service contract, Sprint has no contract requirements.

SUMMARY: @Home costs less and offers more features, but probably requires you to get a new handset(so you start out a bit further in the hole). Sprint AIRAVE could be less expensive if you only need improved indoor coverage ($5/month), but if you desire unlimited calling, it’s $15/month. I compared apples vs. apples, using unlimited calling. Sprint AIRAVE is less expensive if used only for better service coverage ($5/month), without the option of unlimited at home calling ($15/month). However, subscribers may find that unlimited in-home use can reduce their monthly bill, if they are able to revise their service plan to select a lower bundle of minutes.

Outlook: UMA will continue to be the best choice for the consumer for years. The only downside for UMA is the limited choice in phones (always a barrier for dual-mode solutions such as this, and typically a strong barrier to consumer adoption, since handset choice is a very personal thing for many users). Consumers will have a much broader choice of handsets over time, with many more UMA phones expected to be available, with as many as 50% Wi-Fi capable by 2012.

Why? Wi-Fi technology (and UMA) is already mature, so the costs are much lower. Consumer cost of the Femtocell will only slowly decline, as Femtocells become mature and start to sell in volume (In contrast, costs are already very low for the Wi-Fi + VoIP router). Operators will therefore tend to charge more to the consumer for the Femto than the comparable UMA solution.

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