Editor's Corner

Ready or Not, Wireless VoIP is Coming

VoIP was big news this week, thanks in large part to Google's new Skype-killer IM client, Google Talk. Wireless VoIP (wVoIP) was also big this week. Mobile infrastructure firm Kineto Wireless inked a deal with Nokia that will bundle Kineto's UMA solution -- a technology that lets wireless carriers offer dual-mode cellular/WiFi phones -- with its converged network solutions. This deal is a major win for Kineto and for wireless VoIP, proving that leading vendors like Nokia are ready to adopt this technology.

Carriers, however, remain skeptical about wVoIP. A new study from Alexander Resources only serves to confirm the reasons many carriers are scared of this technology. The study says that wVoIP has the potential to create as much disruption for cellular carriers as landline VoIP created for wireline service providers. In short, the study confirms something I have been saying for a while: Wireless VoIP is coming, and it is going to create more competition for everyone.

Carriers should not shun this technology. Solutions like UMA offer the potential to harness the power of wVoIP while helping wireless service providers preserve their businesses. New technologies, like CDMA2000 EV-DO Rev. A, promise to convert all cellular networks into wireless VoIP networks. This transformation could lead to lower prices and better services for consumers.

While all of this sounds great, wVoIP could still allow other service providers, especially non-cellular broadband wireless companies, to compete head on with cellular carriers. The combination of WiFi and WiMax with VoIP could allow any number of companies to launch inexpensive mobile voice services. This threat, however, will not disappear just because carriers try to ignore it.

Everyone needs to acknowledge this threat and turn it into an opportunity for success. New technologies like UMA, IMS, and enhanced 3G will allow wireless carriers to harness wVoIP to their advantage.

Carriers, what will wireless VoIP be for you? Lemons or lemonade stands?

Also: I encourage you to check out FierceMarkets' newest publication: IT-Wireless. It's a weekly newsletter that helps CIOs and IT managers implement wireless and mobile technologies. In it, readers will find "how-to" advice and practical tips for purchasing, using and protecting new technologies. Please sign up at www.it-wireless.com. - Stephen