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Recent Entries

T-Mobile Launches UMA Nationwide in U.S.
BT Launches UMA Tomorrow
Orange's UMA Launch with unik
VoxFi Providers Launch in UK, Supports UTStarcom F3000
TeliaSonera Claims First Commercial UMA Launch in November
T-Mobile Picks Nokia Phone for Launch
T-Mobile UMA Launch Date, Perhaps?
Vonage Partners with The Cloud for UK Hotspot Coverage
Buy a Handset, Make Free VoWLAN Calls in Taiwan
Skype and Boingo Intro Deal

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Category: Service Launches

June 27, 2007

T-Mobile Launches UMA Nationwide in U.S.

By Glenn Fleishman

T-Mobile re-launched its HotSpot@Home service today across the U.S.: The service, initially offered just in Washington state since last fall, is now available nationally with new phones models, new router models, and a modified pricing plan, along with a short-term lifetime pricing reduction. See the main article at Wi-Fi Networking News about the launch.

Posted by Glennf at 9:13 AM | Comments (0)

January 7, 2007

BT Launches UMA Tomorrow

By Glenn Fleishman

The largest rollout of unlicensed mobile access (UMA) is expected by BT tomorrow: While you can find UMA, which uses Wi-Fi as an extension of a cellular network, in Italy, Sweden, and the US, none of those deployments are very large yet. T-Mobile requires you to go to a corporate store in Washington State, where I live, to obtain  their HotSpot@Home service.

BT, on the other hand, is apparently ready to supercede its short-range Bluetooth-based UMA with Wi-Fi, which would work with in-home Wi-Fi gateways as well as BT OpenZone, thousands of hotspots across the UK. The Inquirer says that three handsets will be offered initially: the Nokia 6136 (also sold by T-Mobile), Motorola A910, and Samsung P200. (T-Mobile offers an alternate Samsung model that has gotten poor reviews.)

Initially, BT will sell the service nationally to its existing broadband customers.

Posted by Glennf at 5:28 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2006

Orange's UMA Launch with unik

By Glenn Fleishman

HowdoesitworkThe unlicensed mobile access (UMA) service launches Oct. 5: The unik service has standard cell performance, but includes unlimited fixed-line calls (metropolitan France) and calls to Orange mobile numbers when near a Livebox, a Wi-Fi gateway that can be located at home or work (or both). Calls started while near a Livebox remain fee-free even if you walk away and out onto the cell network. Several phones can be linked to the Livebox, and up to three phones may placed unlimited calls via the Wi-Fi side of the network under a single plan.

unik’s initial release is limited to the first 100,000 customers requesting service. There are two plans for domestic French calling, one covering unlimited fixed-line calls (€10/month); the other adding unlimited calls to Orange mobile lines (€22/month). unik works with the Nokia 6136, the Samsung P200, and Motorola A910. The first two phones will be available in October; the Motorola in November. Handset prices start at €99.

Posted by Glennf at 1:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 5, 2006

VoxFi Providers Launch in UK, Supports UTStarcom F3000

By Glenn Fleishman

F3000Two firms launch VoIP over Wi-Fi plans: Mobiboo partners with The Cloud to provide mobile calling over 1,000 already-installed UK locations; aql (that’s all lowercase) expands from SMS into bring-your-own Wi-Fi calling. The Cloud is also building city center Wi-Fi hotzones across about 10 cities in the UK, with the City of London—that city’s business district—already launched. (The Cloud includes 7,000 hotspots in its roaming network, but apparently just 1,092 are enabled for Mobiboo at this writing.)

The two Wi-Fi mobile operators will offer UTStarcom’s new F3000 phone, what appears to be a much more cellphone-like Wi-Fi phone. The earlier F1000 had a ridiculous interface with smiley faces and poor responsiveness. It felt like a toy rather than a serious phone meant for mobile professionals and early adopter consumers.

Mobiboo costs $339 with the F3000 and aql $282; this article says the F3000 retails for about $200 separately. Both operators include setup costs and $19 of calling time with those bundles. Calling rates are in line with other plans, which typically means about two U.S. cents per minute for calls from VoIP to landline phones in most developed countries, and both landline and cell in most of North America. VoIP-only calls are free.

Posted by Glennf at 3:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 28, 2006

TeliaSonera Claims First Commercial UMA Launch in November

By Glenn Fleishman

The Finnish/Swedish cell giant will offer converged calling: The service will launch in Denmark, and try to convince potential subscribers to drop their wired landline in favor of broadband plus mobile. Motorola will be the equipment provider. The Motorola A910 might be the handset, but this report couldn’t confirm that. The key for this service, Motorola said, is that cost for UMA in the home (the Wi-Fi part of the equation) must not be more expensive than comparable wired landline service.

Posted by Glennf at 7:15 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2006

T-Mobile Picks Nokia Phone for Launch

By Glenn Fleishman

6136 Main-1More rumors, this time that the Nokia 6136 UMA phone will be the second offered model in September: T-Mobile’s launch, perhaps on Sept. 12, of a converged cell/Wi-Fi calling service using UMA (unlicensed mobile access) picks up the latest detail, this time on handsets. Engadget Mobile reports that Nokia’s 6136, a stripped-down phone with basic capabilities, will be offered alongside a Samsung T709 at launch.

T-Mobile has no 3G offering, but the largest footprint of Wi-Fi hotspots in their native network. They also have no U.S. landline or wire partner. Thus, UMA plans in which Wi-Fi at home and at hotspots are charged at an enormously lower rate—perhaps even with unlimited Wi-Fi minutes—has to be appealing as a competitive feature.

Posted by Glennf at 11:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 16, 2006

T-Mobile UMA Launch Date, Perhaps?

By Glenn Fleishman

Katie Fehrenbacher reports at GigaOm that T-Mobile will launch its UMA service Sept. 12: The service will launch in Seattle, the home of the division of T-Mobile that handles Wi-Fi, and perhaps in San Francisco or Chicago. Fehrenbacher notes that UMA handsets might not be allowed to roam onto arbitrary hotspots, perhaps being locked to home units or approved networks. However, she doesn’t pick up on a related fact: that the WMM (Wireless Multimedia) Power Save mode is a necessary feature for both handset and Wi-Fi gateway to ensure that the handsets have decent talk time.

The Nokia 6136 UMA handset—introduced as a proof of concept, as it’s not in use anywhere yet—offers 5.5 hours of talk time via UMA over Wi-Fi, but only if what Nokia labels U-APSD is in the gateway. That’s a long abbreviation for what is more commonly known as WMM Power Save. This mode, found in many current chips, is a function of providing quality of service (QoS), in that it lets handsets reduce unnecessary transmissions and power use, making voice over IP over WLAN practical with a battery-powered handset.

Posted by Glennf at 1:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 26, 2006

Vonage Partners with The Cloud for UK Hotspot Coverage

By Glenn Fleishman

Vonage’s handsets will work in The Cloud’s hotspots: The Cloud has over 7,000 Wi-Fi locations in the UK, at pubs, railway stations, and airports, and they have city center deals that will bring coverage across The City (the financial district of London) and several other metropolitan areas. Service with the handsets costs $14.25 per month (£7.99) for unlimited usage at supported locations.

Posted by Glennf at 1:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 1, 2005

Buy a Handset, Make Free VoWLAN Calls in Taiwan

By Glenn Fleishman

Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, will soon have a ubiquitous Wi-Fi network, and voice will flow somewhat freely over it: Ennyah Technologies will rent a phone for $33 per month that will include unlimited international calls. The phone will handle both GSM and Wi-Fi; a Wi-Fi only phone will start at $16 per month. Both handsets include a Wi-Fi gateway to make sure they can be used wherever the subscribers lives or works, too.

This is one of the many applications that will evolve from ubiquitous Wi-Fi networks, but it will also be challenging to roll these out without annoying early adopters, much like the early days of cellular. When there’s an expectation of seamless access, the service needs to meet or nearly meet the quality of a cellular network: the handoff has to be without a hitch, service can’t abruptly drop while someone’s walking, it needs to work in moving vehicles, and voice quality needs to be generally good to very good.

Interestingly, the international calls will be free, but local calls to wired and wireless numbers will have a metered fee.

Posted by Glennf at 1:06 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2005

Skype and Boingo Intro Deal

By Nancy Gohring

Boingo says it will offer a subscription for Skype customers to use the service in Boingo hotspots: The news is to be introduced early Tuesday but it appears to have already hit in Europe. Boingo customers can pay $8 a month to use Skype in Boingo hotspots. More details to come after we’ve had the chance to see the official announcement.

Update: The heads of Boingo and Skype offered some more details on this beta offering. Users will be able to download the software from Skype’s Web site and all of Skype’s premium services will be available to users. Initially, the software will just be available for Windows users. I’m not exactly sure what that means for voice over Wi-Fi handset users.

I would expect this to be marginally interested, but clearly the heads of these companies think this is going to be a disruptive offering. Dave Hagen, Boingo’s CEO and president, said he expects this service to interest mainstream users. But realistically, this would be most interesting to a budget-conscious frequent traveler. Hagen has a point when he says that most travelers spend a lot of time in airports, hotels, and cafesall locations that do or are likely to have hotspots. That traveler could save a lot of money by spending just $8 a month to make calls in those locations instead of paying for airtime on their cell phones.

One journalist on the call asked a question about companies like Vodafone, that are threatening to block voice over IP over their 3G data networks. If data access prices drop enough, at some point it can become more economical for users to do voice over the 3G data networks. Unfortunately, not only does that cut into regular voice profits for the mobile operators, it’s a really inefficient way for operators to carry voice. Skype’s CEO, Niklas Zennstrom, said such moves to block voice over 3G are evidence that the 3G operators might be worried about the types of applications customers might decide to use over their data channels.

For now, doing voice over 3G data networks shouldn’t be much of a problem, given the rates the operators are charging for data access. Zennstrom noted that he does voice over Vodafone’s 3G network using a data card and that in a matter of minutes he pays the same as a month’s subscription to the new Skype/Boingo offering. He’s exaggerating but his point that $8 a month is a good deal is well taken.

Posted by nancyg at 6:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 7, 2005

Skyhook Offers Wi-Fi-Based GPS for Soft Phones E911

By Glenn Fleishman

Sprint will offer 3G services to cell customers: Their latest customers is TCS, an E911 location provider that works with cellular carriers to provide the information for dispatch police, fire, and emergency personnel. In traditional E911, a fixed phone number is matched against records and provided to the response center. For cell users, their location has to be plotted against cell towers.

This partnership would allow VoIP companies that offer soft phones to meet the FCC mandate for E911 by integrating Skyhook’s technology into their packages and tying that, in turn, into TCS’s ability to deliver the coordinates to response centers.

Posted by Glennf at 10:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 9, 2005

Voice Over Wi-Fi Offered in Rio Rancho

By Nancy Gohring

Residents of Rio Rancho, New Mexico in the United States can use voice over Wi-Fi in town: Azulstar Networks is building the Wi-Fi network, which the company claims already covers 70 percent of Rio Rancho, and Ecuity, a telephone company, is supporting the voice over IP feature. Customers get unlimited North American calling for $30 a line.

This is quite an undertaking. Coverage will have to be absolutely top notch or customers will get annoyed. People are used to being able to use their cordless phones anywhere in the house so if their Wi-Fi phones don’t work everywhere the offering may not be worth the hassle.

Posted by nancyg at 7:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack