Fixed-mobile convergence 'around the corner'

Users and operators will soon be able to think about applications and services, not access technologies, says Frost and Sullivan

Next-generation technologies for various types of networks are allowing operators to push forward with fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) and even fixed-mobile substitution (FMS) strategies.

A range of advances means operators and user organisations can think increasingly in terms of applications and services rather than access technologies, according to new research from Frost and Sullivan.

The analyst house points out opportunities arising from the integration of wireless LAN technology with broadband and cellular networks.

However, it contends a big upcoming area is IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). IMS is a platform that will allow operators to concentrate on rolling out applications rather than vertical access technologies. It helps break down barriers between fixed and mobile networks.

This can be handy for many telcos around the world but F&S said there are still opportunities for pure-play mobile operators in Europe — the likes of Bouygues, O2 and Vodafone — which are looking towards FMS while being careful that embracing technologies such as WLAN isn't to the detriment of existing services.

F&S ICT research manager, Jennifer Fruehauf, said in a statement: "FMC is a gradual trend but it is a fundamental shift with wide-reaching implications on all carrier types."

Earlier this month Yankee Group, another analyst house, predicted FMC will take root in enterprises — once they understand what it means.

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