Light Reading

Cingular's Got Big FMC Plans

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading

SAN FRANCISCO -- CTIA Wireless -- Cingular Wireless LLC is pushing ahead with fixed mobile convergence (FMC) plans, Unstrung has learned, and it could become the first GSM-based carrier to offer integrated services across cellular, fixed-line, and WLAN networks in the U.S.

Cingular is looking at first adding fixed mobile convergence services with unlicensed mobile access (UMA) technology, but eventually it plans to tie all of its networks together using IMS technology when it upgrades its wireless data networks to broadband speeds, sources say.

UMA allows subscribers to move between cellular and WiFi networks outdoors, and a fixed line indoors, with just one phone.

The long-term plans include rolling out a high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) upgrade to its network. Cingular has said that it expects to implement the high-speed 3G upgrade across most of its network in the U.S. by the end of 2006.

Overall, Cingular is planning a unified network architecture that can support a range of IP-based services for both packet- and circuit-switched networks, and employ a range of different wireless and fixed access mechanisms. This involves a major software upgrade at the network core and requires better performance across the entire cellular access network before it can be fully implemented. This is why many analysts and industry figures don't believe that full IMS implementations will be in place before 2007 or 2008. (See IMS Guide.)

Cingular's plan is to have a mobile phone with a UMA client and a SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) client on board. The UMA would handle the moves between the cellular network and public access hotspots. When the user gets home, the UMA client hands off to the SIP client, which enables voice over the wired network. The phone acts like a cordless unit with a wireless LAN connection between the handset and a base unit that is plugged into the PSTN.

Such a service could allow Cingular and its fixed-line parents -- BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS) and SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) -- to offer some fairly sophisticated fixed/mobile bundling options to potential subscribers. (See BellSouth Trials Convergence.)

Astute readers will note that Cingular's FMC strategy is very similar to the "Fusion" project -- formerly known as "BluePhone" -- being developed by BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) on the other side of the pond. (See BT Unveils FMC Service.)

Indeed, as Roger Entner, VP of wireless telecom at research firm Ovum Ltd. notes, Cingular has joined the BluePhone consortium, a group of vendors formed in May 2004 to develop the technology for BT Fusion. It is led by Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and includes Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERICY), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT).

"I think they joined too late to influence much of the decision-making process," Entner notes.

But Cingular's membership of the group reinforces the notion that the carrier will use UMA as the basis for its initial FMC strategy, since this is the path BT and the consortium have already laid out.

UMA was initially devleoped by startup Kineto Wireless Inc. but has garnered fairly widespread industry support from infrastruture vendors and handset makers -- including Alcatel, Motorola, and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) -- over the last year. (See Kineto Phones It In and UMA Gains Ground.)

"They’re moving fast on this now," says one source working with the company, adding that Cingular wants to edge out T-Mobile USA, which has looked at a similar strategy but hasn't forwarded it yet.

But Cingular's major rival in the U.S. cellular scene, Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S), still claims it will be first with a fully integrated FMC system in the U.S. (See Convergence Is Coming to CTIA.)

"We've had IMS underway for some time and hold the lead in North American implementation," a Sprint spokesman says.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:59:21 PM
re: Cingular's Got Big FMC Plans

This is some great information.


defiant child

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:59:06 AM
re: Cingular's Got Big FMC Plans
Any one know what Verizon Wireless is doing on this?
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:59:05 AM
re: Cingular's Got Big FMC Plans
I'll be checking this out, usually takes a while to dig around and find sources, carriers don't tend to reveal much.

-- DJ
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (1) comment

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Sonus Shakes Up SD-WAN

10|2|15   |   7:22   |   (0) comments

Sonus CTO Kevin Riley sat down with Light Reading to discuss the trajectory of the company, its SDN ambitions and why Sonus is taking a market-disruptive approve to SD-WAN.
LRTV Interviews
CityFibre's Gigabit Vision

10|1|15   |   03:18   |   (1) comment

Mark Collins, director of Strategy & Public Affairs at competitive UK city network operator CityFibre, talks about his company's plans to help build Gigabit Cities.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Automate, Scale & Create With Juniper's vCPE Solution

10|1|15   |   6:34   |   (0) comments

Join Kireeti Kompella, Juniper Networks CTO, and Steve Saunders, Light Reading Founder and CEO, as they discuss Juniper Networks' approach to NFV showcased with a turnkey vCPE solution, which demonstrates how service providers can use automation to rapidly deploy services.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe: Day 1 Takeaways

9|29|15   |   05:47   |   (5) comments

Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre and Iain Morris sup a beer and discuss some of the key takeaways from the first day of Gigabit Europe 2015.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit in Europe

9|29|15   |   04:24   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe 2015 event in Munich, Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie talks about the availability of gigabit broadband in Europe.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Band of Women

9|28|15   |   4:36   |   (0) comments

Brooks McCorcle, the president of AT&T's partner solutions divisions and a mathematician by trade, shares stats on AT&T's diversity and advice on how to create your own band of women at work.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Metaswitch's New CEO Martin Lund Discusses His Role

9|25|15   |   11:36   |   (0) comments

Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers ...
It's All About That App

9|23|15   |   02:15   |   (2) comments

The long-range goal of service providers is to deliver app-specific network performance and that is showing up in technical developments today.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon's Healthy Approach to WiC

9|22|15   |   2:30   |   (2) comments

If you think there are too few women in comms, you should see the healthcare industry. Nancy Green, Verizon's healthcare global lead, shares ideas on what we can do about it.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
UBBF 2015 Highlights

9|22|15   |     |   (0) comments

Drilling down deeper into the transformation process will provide network operators with a practical look at building new businesses around a digital virtualized network architecture, and lay out some of the transition steps required, particularly in the struggle to enable more dynamic and focused enterprise network services.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
ActiveVideo's Cloud Virtualization Technology

9|22|15   |   7:23   |   (0) comments

ActiveVideo's CMO, Murali Nemani, discusses how virtualized CPE functions can deliver applications from the cloud to various devices at home.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Communication service providers realize that an ICT transformation is critical to their long-term survival, but most haven't yet committed to making it happen.
Hot Topics
Are Sports Next for Netflix?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/28/2015
Google Gives Huawei a US Device Boost
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/29/2015
Following the Bouncing Capex Ball
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/29/2015
Verizon's Go90 Is Live – Will Anyone Watch?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/1/2015
Good News for NFV Interoperability
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 9/29/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
Hold My Calls, Indefinitely Click Here