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Cellular, VoWLAN Convergence Coming Quickly: Study

Converged devices that support both cellular voice access and voice-over-WLAN are coming soon and represent the future of mobile voice communications, according to a study released Tuesday by ABI Research.

The study notes that voice-over-IP (VoIP) vendor Vonage is about to release a phone dedicated to VoWLAN, but the technology won't really take off until converged devices start becoming available.

"Motorola is expected to release dual (cell/Wi-Fi) handsets for corporate use by the end of 2004 or early 2005," ABI Research analyst Phil Solis said in a statement. "Falling chip prices will see consumer models follow soon after."

Solis also noted that SBC is actively trying to make the two technologies attractive using marketing tools such as its recently announced low-price bundle for both wireless hotspots and DSL. That company has said it has aggressive plans to offer converged voice services.

The end result is that converged voice access will take off both for enterprise customers and home users, the study predicted.