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CTIA: ABI study shows promise for FMC

ORLANDO--An ABI Research study released this week during the CTIA’s Wireless 2007 trade show hinted at good things to come for mobile operators that invest in fixed/mobile convergence.

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The study, which sought opinions from more than 1200 U.S. wireless subscribers earlier this month, found that 25% of wireless customers would switch cellular carriers for access to the benefits of Wi-Fi/mobile convergence. The study, though conducted independently by ABI, was released by the Wi-Fi Alliance and featured a few questions based on input from that industry forum.

The study also reported that nearly 33% of subscribers would discontinue their traditional home phone service to access two of the key benefits of convergence: strong in-home signal coverage and reduced pricing for calls made from home. That would assume an FMC service in which Wi-Fi is the in-home technology that the converged handset switches to from the outside-the-home mobile network.

"Convergence presents carriers with a compelling opportunity to build subscriber loyalty and migrate more users to mobile applications such as email, Web surfing, and multimedia downloads," said Philip Solis, principal analyst at ABI Research in a statement. "We expect to see a number of U.S. carriers launching convergence programs over the next 12 months."

Speaking at the Wireless 2007 show, Frank Hanzlik, managing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance, added, “The way we look at it is there is no Wi-Fi industry anymore because these segments are joining. All of us are part of a larger broadband wireless industry. The criticisms that some people in the industry had about fixed/mobile convergence are falling away. Three years ago, I wouldn’t have even been invited to this show, but since last September, we’ve had a deal with the CTIA and launched our program to certify [FMC-enabled] phones. We’ll see those certifications in the first half of this year.”

Sales forecasts of converged handsets reflect the anticipation of widespread availability of Wi-Fi/mobile services. ABI Research forecasted that in 2011, more than 325 million converged phones will be shipped. This represents a 183% annual growth rate from the 2006 shipment total of 1.8 million.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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