Cingular's Got Big FMC Plans
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 techology 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 (HSPDA) 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)
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