According to a new report from ABI Research
, at least seven handset makers have Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA)-enabled handsets on the market and network operators are itching to deploy the technology. Just last week T-Mobile launched its UMA-powered T-Mobile HotSpot @Home
service. With the number of UMA adopters set to climb to 65 million, UMA
's future is looking brighter."Until recently, proponents of competing fixed-mobile convergence solutions frequently cited the fact that UMA was only usable with 2G or enhanced 2G cellular services," says principal analyst Philip Solis in a prepared statement. "But recently, the UMA client software has received an upgrade that will allow it to work with 3G handsets and services, offering another mobile broadband FMC option that will be viable for some time to come."
This new 3G client upgrade is good news for network operators. It will allow them to off-load traffic from 3G cell towers to the open Internet instead, saving them money and relieving congestion.
ABI notes that British Telecom already has 40,000 customers of its consumer UMA-based service, called Fusion. BT has also made a corporate version of the service available across eight countries spread throughout Europe. France Telecom has sold over 250,000 UMA-capable handsets compatible with its Unique service.
These deployments, paired with T-Mobile's here in the U.S., shows that interest in UMA technology is strong.