UWB and WiMAX are pursing the cellular market pretty aggressively by expressing interest in interfacing with UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access), according to industry sources. Even Intel has been asking around the UMA community for a means of latching on to the cellular network.
With UMA, a mobile handset can use many technologiesup until now mostly Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have been mentionedto make phone calls. The handset automatically switches between the different networks looking for the cheapest available connection.
To no one's surprise, there's plenty of UMA interest on the carrier side. BT is holding trials using Bluetooth to connect to the fixed line in the home and GSM outside. Meanwhile, TeliaSonera Denmark announced the completion of a six-month technical trial of UMA technology using Bluetooth.
Motorola favors using a 3GPP-compliant UMA system in an operational network environment using Wi-Fi. The company said 10 European operators are trialing its UMA system.
The more the merrier, I say.
From what we hear, the rollout will be announced in the next three to six months with UMA handsets becoming available in the second quarter of 2006.