Fixed-Mobile Convergence To Succeed In Europe First: Study - InformationWeek

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Fixed-Mobile Convergence To Succeed In Europe First: Study

There are more advanced networks in Europe, and more of them, making convergence that much easier, a new study says.

Converging landline and cellular access will succeed in Europe first because the convergence technology is more amenable to systems there, according to a study released Monday by ABI Research.

Specifically, the study notes that UMA technology, which enables seamless hand-offs between cellular and Wi-Fi networks, will be key in adoption of fixed-mobile convergence (FMC). That technology is about to be widely available and that particular technology is designed for GSM-based cellular networks. GSM is the basis of virtually all European cellular networks while only Cingular and T-Mobile use that technology in the U.S.

"We expect FMC to take off sooner in Europe and Asia than in North America because of the greater prevalence of GSM and 3G services in those regions," report author Ian Cox said in a statement. "However any operator using a suitable network can gain a competitive edge by early adoption of FMC, and ABI Research anticipates that up to a fifth of all broadband subscribers will be taking advantage of FMC's convenience and lower costs by 2010."

Cox also noted that the release of handsets that support Wi-Fi and cellular technology also will trigger acceptance and those handsets are expected to be widely available in early 2006. He noted, however, that UMA will be more widely used by consumers while another technology, IMS, is likely to be adopted by enterprises. That's because IMS supports VoIP technologies such as SIP while UMA doesn't.

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