According to a new report from ABI Research, the fixed-mobile convergence market is on the move. UMA-based Wi-Fi dual-mode solutions are said to have seen some significant penetration in both Europe and North America, due largely to successful market introductions by T-Mobile in the US (T-Mobile @Home) and Orange (unik) in France, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
The first real competitive solution that could rival Wi-Fi-based products has now appeared, in the form of Sprint's nationwide (US) femtocell-based AIRAVE solution. The questions remain: is there room for both types of convergence in the market; and which solution is best placed to succeed, asks ABI?
ABI forecasts a total of 103 million access points of both types to be in service by 2013. Vice president and research director Stuart Carlaw says, "We expect cellular-based femtocells to have taken over the baton from UMA- and SiP-based Wi-Fi solutions by 2013, seizing 62% of the market." He goes on to add that, "Although UMA-based Wi-Fi solutions have seen early gains in greenfield markets, these solutions have not proliferated much outside their current carrier footprints. This can be attributed partly to the carriers' desire to assess femtocell developments, but also to lingering concerns regarding the concept of Wi-Fi based fixed-mobile convergence."
ABI Research's study "Fixed-Mobile Convergence" examines the opportunity for UMA and SIP in converged network services, dual-use handsets, Wi-Fi access points, picocells and femtocells. It includes a review of the current standards position and activities of the major vendors.