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Osaka Gas in Japan is building a network that will allow employees to roam between a WLAN and the wide area cellular network: Workers will have dual-mode cellular/Wi-Fi handsets that reportedly will seamlessly hand voice calls between the networks. The service will use NTT DoCoMo’s cellular network. It’s not clear how many people will have the devices, but the WLAN will support voice and cover Osaka Gas’ 50 offices.
This is a pretty impressive system and one of the earliest to support seamless handoff of voice between cellular and Wi-Fi. I shouldn’t be surprised to see it happening from NTT DoCoMo, which has traditionally been pretty forward-thinking and willing to embrace new technologies. Many operators elsewhere seem to be regarding such converged solutions as a potential threat because calls are handed off the cellular network onto a network owned by an enterprise. It’s unclear, however, how this deal was set up so there’s a chance that NTT DoCoMo is retaining some sort of control over services that may be available over the WLAN or is somehow otherwise benefiting from the WLAN piece.
Posted by nancyg at July 27, 2005 5:19 AM
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