Wednesday, August 02, 2006

UMA : Next Year's Model?

Unstrung writes that unlicensed mobile access (UMA) "has been embraced by carriers and vendors alike and is currently being tested by Nokia (NOK)." While folks are quite keen on "UMA's progress but aren't expecting speedy deployments."

Rob Enderle at the Enderle Group wondered "if UMA technology, which essentially gives carriers control of calls across cellular and WiFi networks, could be a bit of a white elephant in the enterprise."

Enderle said, "The problem isn’t technology. The problem is that PBX profit comes from handsets; they basically give the PBX away to get handset and service revenue. That means to implement this at an enterprise level it’s a rip-and-replace."

Enderle added that "even if UMA becomes part of a wireless voice-over-IP build-out, the value resides in the handset -- making it unlikely that vendors will enthusiastically support a UMA device that runs over the enterprise network."

Enderle expected "UMA to make more of a dent in the small-business market." He said, "If UMA does appear, it is likely to happen at the other end of the market, small business doesn’t use PBXs and many now live off of cell phones. I would expect the wave here rather than [large] enterprises first. I think we are within two years of such offerings."