Being at CTIA I was looking for a story that was overlooked by yours truely last week. Well pal Jon Arnold tells us that Canadian cable and mobile phone leader Rogers has launched a Wi-Fi calling service aimed at business, aptly named Wi-Fi Calling for Business.
Basically, its the same UMA based solution that T-Mobile and Orange use that comes from Kineto Wireless. It's a half-way solution to Fixed Mobile Convergence, and is not providing VCC (Voice Call Continuity) the way technology from client CounterPath or Varaha does. With their technology the call control is managed by the network and can be switched from the mobile network to the Wi-Fi network or vice versa.
But the benefits of UMA should not be mistaken as not solving a key problem. Wireless coverage.
While some carriers are fooling around with femtocells, Rogers move into Wi-Fi based calling solves a couple of problems. First is CAPEX costs to the customer. Wi-Fi is already usually in the campus or office building, so its accessible. There's no need to install any more hardware on the customer's location, and lastly, and directly beneficial to Rogers Business sales team, is the potential of selling more bandwidth to each customer. Bandwidth is easy to provision and deliver. To them, it's more dumb pipe to the premise.