Telcos are now rolling out converged services on fixed and mobile networks, converting trials to commercial deployments. This year will see another spate of trials, as femtocell technology begins to become available.
The move to FMC infrastructure is a natural evolution for the mobile network as broadband services, including Voice-over-IP and other Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) services, begin to be deployed.
Both Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) and SIP infrastructures are being deployed and dual use Wi-Fi and cellular devices will be joined by femtocells in 2008. According to a new ABI Research report, operators are fully aware of the increasing threat from mobile VoIP services and FMC will allow them to offer similar services and tariff packages.
"As we move to the end of the decade, mobile networks will emerge with a flat all-IP architecture using 3GPP standards to deliver multimedia services and VoIP," said principal analyst Ian Cox.
"In the meantime operators want to offer attractive calling plans to consumer and enterprise users. This will enable a single device to use both mobile and fixed broadband networks, improving business efficiency and enabling users to access directory information easily from their favourite devices."
For operators, FMC provides data offload onto the broadband fixed network and improved indoor coverage from the mobile network, Cox said.
For users, a wider choice of mobile devices is coming along and will remove a barrier to service adoption. This will speed up the development of content and services, to the advantage of the whole industry.
"The ABI research has examined the opportunity for UMA and SIP in converged network services, dual use handsets, Wi-Fi access points, picocells and femtocells. It includes a review of the current standards and activities of the major vendors.
Len Rust is publisher of The Rust Report