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June 10, 2005

BellSouth/Cingular May Open the Dam

By Nancy Gohring

BellSouth said it is trialing a converged WLAN/cellular enterprise offering: Employees of a company will use a converged Wi-Fi/cellular handset that carries voice over IP over WLAN calls on the corporate campus and uses Cingular’s cellular network off campus. This is an ideal offering from a company like BellSouth. I’m assuming that the company’s broadband is supplied by BellSouth, so while BellSouth may be offloading calls from its cellular network (Cingular), it is offloading those calls onto its own wireline network. It’s cheaper for BellSouth to carry those calls on the WLAN then the cellular network, so depending on what it might charge for such a service it can be a good revenue generator.

While this is a trial with just one company, I’d expect other operators that own wireless and wireline networks to soon follow suit in exploring these offerings, if they haven’t already.

Posted by nancyg at June 10, 2005 7:49 AM

Categories: Convergence

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Thanks for keeping us up to date on the fast-moving announcements of wireless mobility for enterprise business users. It is getting very obvious that handheld devices will exploit both wide area cellular and campus wi-fi coverage, but will also have to support converged consumer and business use. (See recent announcement by Avaya/Nokia of "Extension to Cellular" handsets.)

Your assumption that the enterprise broadband network is also provided by BellSouth is questionable, since the press release describes the wi-fi access going to "business features" provided by an IP phone system. However, with an IP Centrex offering for enterprises, the converged service will indeed do what you assume. In fact, the press release stresses the partnering of BellSouth with Cingular for converged wired and wireless services.

What will be of practical interest to enterprise technology management is that such converged network services will enable the carriers to take responsibility for supporting individual users as subscribers for their handheld devices and off-premise connectivity, while still enabling the enterprise to control "business number" usage activities on converged devices, including security controls, messaging storage and management, and IP-PBX functions.

Posted by: Art Rosenberg at June 11, 2005 8:48 AM