This VoIP News piece takes a couple of positions, both of which ring true. Today, the author concludes, mobile VoIP connectivity is pricey and not overly robust. The second idea is that this will change when WiMax projects get started in earnest.
The writer lays out some combined cellular/Wi-Fi phone options. They are expensive, which is particularly troubling in light of the fact that lower costs is a main attraction of VoIP. The one inexpensive device mentioned -- the UStar F100 from Vonage -- can't be counted because the company currently is enjoined from signing new subscribers.
The writer seems to think that WiMax will turn the picture around. Creating a footprint that covers a huge area instead of the small pockets of connectivity afforded by Wi-Fi hotspots will enable the use of less expensive WiMax-only devices. This will cut the cost of handsets and simplify the business.
The future may arrive in a year: In April, 2008, Sprint is slated to roll out service in 19 U.S. markets. The writer's unstated theme -- that we are in a transitional phase -- probably is on the mark.
That doesn't mean that nothing is happening, however. Vendors, enterprises and service providers are going through the intense process of creating the network infrastructure that will support these delivery platforms. This Light Reading Europe story discusses the state of fixed mobile convergence (FMC) -- the melding of wired and wireless networks -- in Europe. The piece focuses on carriers' use of unlicensed multimedia access (UMA) to do this.
The industry is in the throes of determining whether to use UMA, the Internet Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) or other means of surmounting the barriers between various types of wired and wireless networks. Getting the answers right to these questions is monumentally important and intensely complex, since the calculus extends across both business and technical lines.
This, we suspect, will occupy planners working for both carriers and vendors while the country awaits the rollout of WiMax, which is but one of the networks that these core infrastructures will support.