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Service Providers Hold Key to Mobile VoIP Future

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December 21, 2010

Service Providers Hold Key to Mobile VoIP Future

By Stefania Viscusi, Assignment Desk Editor

Mobile VoIP solutions offer significant benefit for callers looking to cut down on calling costs and free themselves from unruly long distance charges.

For service providers, the need to adopt mobile VoIP into their offerings has become vital.

And while mobile VoIP solutions have been around for some time already, questions surrounding the market and which players will have the most success, still remain.

I recently caught up with William Bumbernick, Chief Innovation Officer at Alteva to find out his thoughts on the current state of the mobile VoIP industry and where he thinks the future lies.  

Alteva (News - Alert) provides solutions built from the ground, up to meet the national and global business communications needs that enterprise companies demand to be efficient, cost-effective and productive.

Our exchange follows.

What’s your take on mobile VoIP? How do you think it will impact the industry?

Mobile VoIP deployments are going to be challenging for service providers from a lot of different angles. The first is for the service providers to embrace the needs and requirements of all of the different mobile carrier networks, as well as embrace the software development required for all of the different devices. An example would be developing and maintaining software to ingrate and work well for mobile VoIP. You can buy the same Blackberry phone model on the AT&T network as you can on Verizon (News - Alert), but the way their networks handle the ability to transmit data to the service provider during a call are both very different. These different software loads would need to be managed differently by the carrier. Aside from complexity, the concept of mobile VoIP is certainly something that will eventually make an impact on the industry, but it’s the short term requirements that will slow that down.

What is the importance of mobile communication in the future of technology?

Increasingly, people are migrating away from desktop devices and migrating towards mobile devices. As the mobile device is better developed – with battery life, data connectivity, networks, etc. – it will certainly evolve to be a product that business users need and will embrace. It’s actually here already today through an FMC model, but a ‘true’ mobile VoIP concept of having your handset being an end device on your business PBX (News - Alert) is something that still has some challenges ahead of it.

Do you think mobile VoIP will change the nature of the global communications industry? How?

As service providers evolve to offer different flavors of the mobile VoIP product, we will see changes in calling plans, features and phone capabilities. End users will greatly benefit from those changes and over time that will change the mobile communications environment. It will no longer be about phones, but more about their applications. It’s won’t be handsets and mobile devices, but more about how voice and/or video communications, SMS or MMS, presence, integrates into your hard phones, soft phones, smart phones and other mobile devices – they will all become business process enabled communications and it won’t just be limited to mobile VoIP. There is becoming a tremendous need in the industry to not just rely on mobile devices anymore. These needs are driving the industry, not just the mobile requirements.

What other changes do you think will bring a competitive advantage of IP carriers and the wireless industry?

The IP Carriers and wireless industry certainly own their own networks. Fortunately for them, they have the ability to put requirements or restrictions on their networks that help leverage their best interests. I don’t know if there will be any changes, but there certainly are situations. For example, AT&T (News - Alert) is limiting the ability to handle a VoIP call over their 3G network. While the wireless carriers will eventually pursue wireless VoIP, they’ll do it in their own time and in a model that leverages their ability to control their networks. This will also have an impact on the smaller carriers that are trying to embrace these technologies and push forward.


Stefania Viscusi is an assignment editor for TMCnet, covering voice and Voice over IP technologies. She also oversees production of TMCnet's e-Newsletters in the areas of Internet telephony and speech technology. To read more of Stefania's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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