But proponents are stuck on how, as well as whether, VOIP calls over wireless LAN should be integrated into the mobile network call model

February 15, 2005

3 Min Read

NEW YORK -- There's a cold, hard inevitability about the convergence of WLAN and 3G mobile, but the business case that will drive this integration forward has split the wireless industry – with VOIP the primary cause of the rift, according to a new report from the subscription research service Unstrung Insider.

The report, entitled Converge This! WLAN-3G Mobility, analyzes the business case, the service case, and the technical case (with reference to standards and handsets) for the integration of 802.11 wireless LAN with mobile network services.

"The major issue dominating the sector is how, and whether or not, VOIP calls over wireless LAN should be integrated into the mobile network call model," says the report's author, Unstrung Insider Chief Analyst Gabriel Brown. "Offloading calls to VOIP has its attractions, but operators are lukewarm on subsidizing handsets that could be used to bypass their networks."

The resolution of this issue is critical to the ongoing integration of multiple radio access networks, including WiMax, into a single converged core network. "Rather than straightforward VOIP offload, converged applications and rich-call services – data services over an IMS core – represent the best long-term opportunity for 802.11-to-3G convergence," adds Brown.

Among the report's key findings:

  • Corporate VOIP is the major early application for converged mobile and WLAN services because operators and customers are comfortable with the business proposition.

  • Fundamental business concerns will inhibit consumer/residential VOIP over converged 3G and WLAN devices; hotspot VOIP over converged devices is even more challenging.

  • There's no evidence of an impending mobile capacity crunch; on the contrary, 3G carriers have Erlangs to spare.

  • Texas Instruments and CSR have the most aggressive development schedules for mobile-device 802.11 chipsets and are poised to grab a lead in the market.

  • We estimate 802.11 attach rate of between 8 percent and 10 percent in the mobile handset market by 2008 – amounting to 64 to 80 million units per year – although many vendors consider this optimistic.

Vendors analyzed in this report: Avaya Inc. (NYSE: AV); Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM); Cambridge Silicon Radio plc (London: CSR); Cicero Networks Ltd.; Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ); Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT); NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY; Tokyo: 6701); Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK); Proxim Corp. (Nasdaq: PROX); Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM); Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; Toronto: RIM); Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC); and Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN).

Service providers featured in this report: BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA); Cingular Wireless LLC; mmO2 plc (NYSE/London: OOM); NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM); Orange SA (London/Paris: OGE); Skype Technologies SA; TeliaSonera AB (Nasdaq: TLSN); T-Mobile International AG; Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD); and Vonage Holdings Corp.

Converge This! WLAN-3G Mobility is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Unstrung Insider, priced at $1,350. Individual reports are available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.unstrung.com/insider.

For additional information, to request a free executive summary of the report, or for details of multi-user licensing options, please contact:

Jeff Claudino
Sales Manager
Insider Research Services
[email protected]

Members of the media may request review copies from:

Gabriel Brown
Chief Analyst
Insider Research Services
[email protected]

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