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VoWLAN services gain strong interest

Posted: 04 Jan 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:In-Stat  femtocell  VoWLAN  Wi-Fi  cellular services 

The billing and service plans for converged VoWLAN/cellular services is gaining strong interest among consumers, reported In-Stat, but the segment may develop slowly due to the lack of suitable handsets. Surveys also found little interest in technologies such as special mobile phones and Wi-Fi connections necessary to enable those services, according to the market research firm.

"There is unprecedented interest in 'home zone' pricing, which offers unlimited local and domestic long-distance calls for a single flat fee when the customer uses a home Wi-Fi access point or a Wi-Fi hotspot," said David Chamberlain, In-Stat analyst. "This concept is just one of the possible services from converged VoWLAN/cellular technology."

In-Stat found that unlike many other mobile applications, such as video and downloadable music, the primary market for home zone billing plans appears not to be high-spending, high-usage wireless customers. Moreover, the more frugal customers, who may be limiting their usage and spending to avoid unexpected bills, are a more important—but difficult to identify—market.

Furthermore, converged VoWLAN/cellular services face technology competition from miniature cell sites called femtocells, reported In-Stat, that customers could install instead of using Wi-Fi. "There aren't many Wi-Fi/cellular phones available right now," Chamberlain noted. On the contrary, "femtocells don't require specialised cellular handsets," he said.

Thus, In-Stat cited that it is necessary for wireless and fixed-line carriers to forge alliances to provide converged services and billing to cope with the situation.

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