TeliaSonera's UMA relaunch attracts criticism - femtos are the way forward

Although said to have corrected failings with its previous offer, TeliaSonera has announced the relaunch of its UMA service with the addition of "free calls"--in fact a chargeable package for calls made from within the home.

TeliaSonera now packages the Home Free router in two ways. The first is a below-the-line retention tool to provide better in-building coverage for those customers who have an issue and threaten to churn. Secondly, this latest announcement sees TeliaSonera turning the product into a revenue generator, offering it above-the-line with a homezone tariff package.

However, the company's revised UMA service already has been given the thumbs-down by one telecoms analyst claiming it'll only have limited long-term impact.

According to Carrie Pawsey, an analyst with UK-based Ovum, the company has solved the issues with its previous "Home Free" UMA service, making it easier to use for consumers and revamping the positioning of the service so it can be commercialised.

But Pawsey believes the TeliaSonera product still has limited appeal because of the fundamental issues around the limited range of UMA handsets that will prohibit mass-market success. "Many operators are keen to provide homezone solutions and encourage users to offload data traffic when in the home, and UMA solves both these issues. However, in the long term we believe femtocells are likely to be a more viable solution provided the price continues to decline."

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