Will Femtos Be More Successful than UMA?

Recently, Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) and BT, two of the three tier one operators in Europe who’ve adopted Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) have decided to ditch the fixed/mobile convergence service. I wonder what that spells for the future uptake of 3G femtocells!?

While femtos are based on an entirely different technology, their value proposition seems to go in same direction: Replacement of the fixed line telephony service and better indoor coverage. Looks like users are not ready for it yet. So what’s your opinion, why should femtos be more successful than UMA?

Some US Operators Block UMA Wifi Access While Roaming Abroad

Steve Shaw over at UMA Today posted an article already back in February on using your UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) GSM/Wifi phone abroad. Here’s what he had to say:

"For me, making a call with my US [United States] SIM when I was in Barcelona cost about $1/minute. With
a UMA-enabled phone, technically I should be able to connect to any
Wi-Fi AP and calls would be local and therefore billed at my normal per
minute.  But mobile operators like the roaming
revenues, so most UMA service plans disable the use of Wi-Fi access
outside the home country.

UMA is a great technology. However, the above example shows once more what operators sometimes do to great technology when they and not the users are in control. Compare such an offer to what you can do with open GSM/UMTS/Wifi phones such as many Nokia N-series and E-series phones as well as many Microsoft Mobile equipped PDA phones these days that can run open, non operator restricted VoIP software that works anywhere around the world. You are the consumer, you have the choice…


My First UMA Phone In the Wild

TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile) seems to have entered into the UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) VoIP domain back last year. Today I saw their UMA offer in a TIM shop in Roma which includes the UMA Wifi capable Samsung SGH-P200 GSM/EDGE phone and a Wifi Access Point together with an ADSL subscription (see picture). It’s the first time I hear of this and an Internet search has also not uncovered a lot of evidence of a major breakthrough of the service so far. Anyone from Italy got an opinion on this? For more on UMA take a look at this blog entry.