Analyst: FMC Won’t Catch on Until Carriers Upgrade Networks

Mae : Wireless Mobility Blog
| News and views on everything wireless and mobile, from WiFi and WiMAX to 3G and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC).

Analyst: FMC Won’t Catch on Until Carriers Upgrade Networks

Here is an interesting article about fixed-mobile convergence, by Computerworld Australia’s Darren Pauli, that appeared in the October 9 edition of Pauli predicts that, despite all the talk about dual-mode (WiFi/Cellular) telephone services and handsets, most companies will hold off another five years or more before jumping on board with the new technology.

The reason, Pauli says, is that “while FMC promises reduced call costs, access to multiple communication lines via one number and seamless network switching, the mobile technology behind it is dragging its feet.”

Pauli quotes Paul Budde of BuddeCom as saying that FMC won’t take off until mobile carriers are forced into deploying next generation networks. By “next generation networks” Budde refers to IP-based networks, which he says are “needed on both the mobile and fixed sides,” meaning that “mobile networks will need to replace 3G with a true IP wireless network”—be it 4G, WiMAX, or IMS.

In other words, there may be business drivers now for FMC services, but the network technologies on the carrier end just aren’t yet capable of delivering those services on a large scale.

This kind of reminds me of the mid-1990s when the library I worked for signed up for DSL service that wasn’t actually deployed yet. Despite many promises from the provider involved, the service wasn’t actually delivered until more than six months after the library ordered it.

Time will tell just when (if?) the critical mass on both the consumer/enterprise and carrier/provider sides turns the promise of FMC into reality. I am also curious to see the business models developed by carriers to deliver a combination of VoIP and GSM services in a sustainably revenue-generating manner.

What do you think?