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Explosive Growth Seen For VoWLAN

Voice-over-WLAN (VoWLAN) is posed for fast growth even though it faces some technical challenges, according to a study released Tuesday by market research firm Frost & Sullivan.

The research firm predicted that operator revenues for VoWLAN will grow from 6.6 million euros in 2004 to just under two billion euros in 2010. That represents a compounded annual growth rage of about 159 percent, the company noted.

The study also said that the coming together of 14 major phone vendors and telecom operators to support Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) to seamlessly transfer calls from cellular to Wi-Fi networks is a huge step forward for VoWLAN adoption. It also will prove to be a boon for wireless operators, the study predicted.

"The momentum behind UMA is upbeat within the mobile domain - especially from the carriers that stand to gain tremendously from such an initiative," Luke Thomas, a Frost & Sullivan research analyst, said in a statement.

Thomas noted, however, that UMA does not support Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which is a key element in many VoIP systems. Neither is it compatible with the emerging Internet Protocol for Multimedia Subsystems (IMS), which is a similar technology gaining momentum among vendors.

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