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I Want My Seamless Mobility

I have heard a lot about seamless mobility -- the dream of universal wireless access where users can roam freely between wireless LANs and cellular networks and back again -- this week at Interop. I keep hearing vendors promise dual-mode access, but when I raise the issue of the pink elephant in the room, the vendors just smile at me and change the subject.
I have heard a lot about seamless mobility -- the dream of universal wireless access where users can roam freely between wireless LANs and cellular networks and back again -- this week at Interop. I keep hearing vendors promise dual-mode access, but when I raise the issue of the pink elephant in the room, the vendors just smile at me and change the subject.It happened, yet again, yesterday when I met with Nokia. They talked up their partnerships with Alcatel-Lucent and Avaya as well as their new deal with Cisco Systems. Nokia promised a new dual-mode phone that would work with technology from these partners. I saw the demo and I was impressed.

But, Nokia could not tell me when they were going to launch a dual-mode phone. They couldn't tell my colleague, Antone Gonsalves, either.

When Nokia brought the E61 to the U.S. last fall, the new phone didn't have Wi-Fi, rendering it less than optimal. While Nokia promises the future of seamless mobility, they still don't have a device in the U.S. that can live up to the promise.

Then I really pushed Nokia. I asked them what they planned to do to help the U.S. carriers embrace dual-mode access. Then came the smiles.

I personally hope that Nokia will soon announce a working dual-mode device for the U.S. I have been waiting for fixed-mobile convergence to become a reality for the last three years. But given how good the carriers are at delaying this -- and how little enthusiasm they seem to have for dual-mode access -- I don't think I'll bet on it.