04:40 PM

Web Services Companies May Lead Fixed-Mobile Convergence: Study

Companies such as Google, MySpace, and Skype have a leg up on telecom companies when it comes to fixed-mobile content distribution, an analyst says.

The integration of wired and wireless technologies will spawn many enterprise-class telecom services, though the traditional carriers spearheading those efforts may fall behind Web services companies such as Google, new research says.

Fixed-mobile convergence--such as using the same phone for both cellular and landline voice-over-IP access--is in its infancy. When it's mature in about five years, providers will offer "quad play" service bundles that combine telephony, video, broadband Internet access, and wireless, according to a Yankee Group report.

internet tablet
BT is among the first companies to wade into fixed-mobile convergence, with plans to launch a service in the coming months for large businesses that want to combine mobile phones, data services, and fixed phones into an integrated IP broadband network and run a common set of applications on top of it. The effort follows BT's debut a year ago of a consumer device that works like a cell phone when users are out and about, then switches to a Bluetooth-based broadband connection at home.

Fixed-mobile convergence relies on IP, so new services like peer-to-peer communications will start appearing on mobile devices, likely offered by Internet service companies. "This will further disrupt the traditional telco business models," Yankee Group analyst Philip Marshall says.

Companies such as Google, MySpace, and Skype have a leg up on telecom companies when it comes to fixed-mobile content distribution, Marshall says. They're less burdened by legacy systems and more focused on launching services. "Traditional telecom service providers have yet to demonstrate that they are adequately prepared to profit in such uncertain markets," the report says.

Google has a deal with Nokia to put its GoogleTalk app into the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet device. It lets people make free Internet calls or IM over a wireless LAN or a cell network from a compatible Bluetooth-enabled phone.

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