T-Mobile, Cisco team to enable enterprise mobile-to-WiFi roaming

T-Mobile has made another move to obtain a larger foothold in the enterprise market--historically a very weak market for the operator. The operator has teamed with Cisco to deliver a solution that enables mobile calls over WiFi, which should allow businesses to reduce cell-phone voice calling costs.

T-Mobile has been pushing its WiFi access solution based on the Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) standard for some time into the enterprise. In 2009, it debuted an unlimited voice-over-WiFi calling service via T-Mobile WiFi hotspots. Its WiFi Calling with MobileOffice service allows users with T-Mobile BlackBerry devices from Research In Motion to use WiFi while in the office and have the same number as their desk phone.

By teaming with Cisco--a WiFi stalwart in the enterprise--T-Mobile could boost its presence in the enterprise. The two companies will be delivering a WiFi access solution that is based on UMA and is optimized with the Cisco Unified Wireless Network and Cisco Compatible Extentions. As such, enterprises can use a Cisco Unified Wireless Network to access voice and data services using T-Mobile WiFi-enabled smartphones.

T-Mobile and Cisco said the combination of their solutions should bring enterprise customers the potential for significant cost savings, improved user experience and high-performance wireless coverage. T-Mobile business users using dual-mode UMA smartphones will be able to transparently roam and hand over voice calls between T-Mobile's macro network and WiFi networks. The companies said the Cisco Compatible Extensions adds phone features such as improved quality of service, fast and secure roaming and intelligent power savings.

There are some caveats, however. Wi-Fi Calling for Business does not support Apple's iPhone, which only operates on AT&T's network, nor does it support the Google Android platform since T-Mobile has yet to integrate UMA on Android devices. Enterprises must use Cisco's WLAN equipment. Moreover, pricing for the services varies.


For more:
- see this Cisco blog post
- read this InformationWeek article


Related articles:
T-Mobile launches unlimited WiFi calling for businesses
RIM introduces enterprise voice over WiFi calling
T-Mobile makes corporate WiFi play