Pieces Falling into Place for Consumer Voice -over -Wi -Fi

Last month, the Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) Consortium also approved a set of protocols for seamless handoffs between cellular networks and IP-based wireless networks such as Wi-Fi.

Oyster Bay, NY - November 4, 2004 - The recent announcement from the Wi -Fi Alliance that it has formed a Wi -Fi/Cellular Convergence working group (WCC) highlights a trend identified by ABI Research, in which many different elements needed to bring voice over Wi -Fi (VoWi -Fi) to consumers are beginning to intersect.

Last month, the Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) Consortium also approved a set of protocols for seamless handoffs between cellular networks and IP -based wireless networks such as Wi -Fi.

According to Phil Solis, senior analyst, wireless connectivity, such initiatives by industry consortia are falling in behind new products from IC vendors and equipment and service providers that are pushing VoWi -Fi from the enterprise to the wider consumer market.

"IC vendor Agere, for example, has withdrawn from the general market," says Solis, "and is focusing all its efforts on Wi -Fi chips to be embedded in mobile handsets. Texas Instruments is making Wi -Fi and VoIP ICs, and has produced a reference design to make it easier to build future handsets."

"Embedded Wi -Fi ICs are a growth market," adds Solis, "with those going into cellular handsets forming a big part."

Over in handset territory, a number of vendors - - Vonage, Net2Phone and Zyxel are three obvious examples - - have offered (or will soon offer) single (VoIP) mode cellular handsets for the consumer, and a new crop of dual (cellular/VoIP) mode models are issuing forth from companies like Motorola, which has an enterprise -oriented model undergoing user trials. SBC will offer its Cingular customers such a phone to consumers in 2006; it will be able to access SBC's own Wi -Fi hotspots as well as many available via a roaming agreement with Wayport.

ABI Research's study "Voice over Wi -Fi" forecasts the growth of various VoWi -Fi client solutions and the direction VoWi -Fi will take in regard to 802.11 and VoIP technologies. Shipments, ASPs, and revenue forecasts are provided through 2009.

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in New York, ABI Research maintains global operations that support annual research programs, quarterly intelligence services and market reports in wireless, automotive, semiconductors, broadband, and energy. Their market research products can be found on the web at www.abiresearch.com, or by calling 516.624.2500.

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