Wired-Wireless Convergence Threatens Telcos

While enterprises and consumers embrace the convergence of wired and wireless communications, old-line telcos struggle.

June 14, 2004

2 Min Read
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Old-line telephone companies must be looking at wireless-wireline convergence the way a terrified by-stander might see high-speed trains rocketing toward a high-speed collision.

Traditional wireline and long distance operators have been losing a small but increasing chunk of their business to wireless carriers, according to a number of recent studies. Now, two new types of converged phones promise to accelerate that trend.

One type of the new devices will let users take cellular and wireline calls on the same phone. The other type will support standard cellular calls as well as voice-over-WLAN calls. Both types of phones let users choose the least expensive or clearest calling method.

This trend obviously offers advantages for enterprises and consumers, but it inevitably will lessen the reliance on traditional wireline calling methods. So what are the incumbent carriers to do?

BT in the U.K. is embracing the trend. In fact, it says it will offer converged phones, in conjunction with wireless operator Vodafone, starting at the end of the year. Responses from incumbent carriers in the U.S. are likely to be more varied. Large telcos that own or co-own wireless companies may well encourage the trend since they'll continue to make money one way or the other. Carriers that don't hold a significant stake in a wireless company could dig in their heels and resist as long as they can.Enterprises should enjoy the choices and lower prices. But enterprise telecom and IT managers should also start judging their telecom providers on the basis of how they adapt to these changes and, in particular, what wireless, wired and data bundles they offer.

VoWLAN: Coming Soon To A Handset Near You
Support for voice-over-WLAN is a natural step for wireless carriers, a market study claims.

British Telco To Converge Wireless, Landline In One Phone

BT says its 'Project Bluephone' will seamlessly switch between wireless and landline voice and data.

Vendors Team On Wireless, Wireline Combo Phone
Two vendors are working together on Bluetooth technology that will let a single phone take both cellular and landline calls.

Survey Finds Strong Interest In VoWLAN
Enterprises are quite interested in voice-over-WLAN, a survey has found.Some Smartphones Threaten Wireless Carriers, Consultant Claims
Smartphones that enable access to myriad wireless services could take money away from wireless carriers.

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