|Телеком||ТВ и медиа||Облака||ПО||Кадры|
|ИТ в образовании||ИТ в медицине||Big Data||E-commerce||Спутниковая связь|
|Все новости||World News|
Orange unveils 3G UMA platform
|10 сентября 2008|
Orange announced Tuesday the industry's first 3G unlicensed mobile access (UMA) platform that will enable consumers to switch between their home WiFi connection and the operator's 3G network when accessing mobile broadband services.
The new service is designed to work the same way as 2G UMA offerings, which seamlessly switch between the two types of network without interrupting the subscriber's session; however, until now the technology has been limited to voice services.
Orange currently operates a 2G UMA service called Unik, which has 1 million users across France, the U.K., Spain and Poland.
"We've extended the technology to include 3G networks," said Gareth Abel, director of marketing operations at Orange's devices division.
"The hand-off between the WiFi network and the 3G cellular network needs to be as reliable as it is in the 2G world, and it has been technically challenging to get this to work," he told Total Telecom ahead of the announcement.
Abel also stressed that although the network technologies essentially work in different ways, Orange is working to minimise any discrepancies in connection speed when consumers switch between WiFi and 3G.
"Consumers accessing data services over a WiFi connection when it is available, rather than a cellular network, is already happening at the high-end of the market, although making the switch between the two networks seamless is a good idea," said John Delaney, research director at IDC.
"With multimedia services, tariffs are still an issue, so having a solution that makes it more affordable to access these multimedia services is going to appeal to consumers," he commented.
He also explained that one of the benefits for operators is that they can counter the strain that the upsurge of mobile broadband laptop use is putting on their networks by offloading the backhaul traffic onto their customers' DSL connections.
As part of the announcement Orange also unveiled two new UMA handsets, one of which has been designed by Samsung, the other by Sony Ericsson, which will be available initially in France in October.
The operator also plans to launch the devices in the U.K. and Poland at a later date, but did not specify when.
Abel added that Orange's strategy is to launch the phones in markets where it already has a significant broadband presence.
"It seems sensible. You need broadband to make UMA work, and the bigger the existing customer base, the less of an uphill battle you'll have trying to sell it. What's more, it'll be easier for Orange to upsell to their own customers," said Delaney.
The latest additions to Orange's UMA range are aimed specifically at a younger audience.
"Until now Unik has been a family-oriented service, but with these new handsets we are targeting a younger audience, one which is more likely to access [mobile] multimedia services," said Abel.
He explained that the two new slider phones will be "competitively priced" in the markets in which they will go on sale.
"It's very important to have eclectic handsets... It's not just important to sell them, it's important to sell them to the right customers," he commented, adding that Orange has sold 5 million Walkman phones via its partnership with Sony Ericsson.
"UMA does mean replacing your handset and quite a lot of people have a strong attachment to a particular brand," said Delaney.
"Orange have only got two handsets so far – they're quite desirable phones, but if you've got your heart set on an iPhone, then you're not likely to give up on that for UMA," he commented.
Abel hopes that as well as expanding Orange's portfolio of converged devices, the 3G UMA platform will drive the penetration of mobile multimedia services.
"It's difficult to make predictions about what the killer apps are going to be, but the key ones for us are mobile TV, music, photography and gaming," he said.
"[However], we realise it's important that customers are able to access whatever services they want," he added.
Источник: Total Telecom