Annual global sales of hybrid WiFi/Cellular mobile phones, which can connect to either a conventional cellular service or a WiFi network, are likely to exceed $100 million during the final year of this decade, so says a study. The study, conducted by research firm ABI Research, reveals that such dual-mode handsets have been virtually unknown to consumers until now, and have not penetrated the enterprise space to any degree either.
Despite these findings, ABI Research senior analyst Philip Solis says that some of the giants of global telecommunications, British Telecom and Korea Telecom included, plan to offer dual-mode services by the end of 2005, causing a very large ball to start rolling. "The advantages of dual mode handsets and services, when they arrive, can be summed up in two words: seamless and economical," he said.
The study reveals that even though the full spectrum of capabilities won't appear in the first generation of products, when these services are mature, users will be able to start a phone call at home (where your phone connects to your residential WiFi network and then to the user’s broadband VoIP phone service), continue it in the user’s car (where the phone switches to the user’s cellular provider's network), and wind it up at work, where the phone once more switches to the user organization's 802.11 LAN, and VoIP. Through all this, the handset would sense the available signals and switch automatically from one network mode to another, keeping the connected and saving him, and his company money.
The arrival of voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) technologies and dual-mode handsets is described in detail in ABI Research's new study, "Voice over WiFi", which examines the whole industry, from chipset providers to service providers. (All up and down the food chain, consumer VoWiFi will fuel accelerated market growth.) It discusses the technologies involved, the consortia driving these handsets and the competitive business environment. A number of forecasts are also included.
|Johanne Torres is contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was
assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She
can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]