Monday, October 09, 2006

Get Up To Speed With UMA Technology

MobileCrunch has you covered on what UMA is all about, and you're gonna need it now that T-Mobile has launched its alternative connectivity service using the technology. Basically, it's a win-win solution to both T-Mobile and its customers. For customers, it means dropped calls are less of an issue when you enter residences or buildings by having the UMA enabled mobile switch automatically from GSM/GPRS to WiFi along with decreased [possibly eliminated] charges while using WiFi as a connection option. For T-Mobile, it means fewer calls are using the limited capacity cellular network at any given time as well as monetary savings for the company.

I see a lot of potential for the technology, but it also has the potential for abuse by T-Mobile. If they do right by their customers, they could come out looking like the hero. Here's what I think are the possible drawbacks that could come from the new service:

[1] Because handsets must listen to two different radio technologies, they must have two radios on board. Both radios must be scanning for networks at all times, in case the user roams into an area where a WiFi network exists. This will mean shorter battery life for UMA enabled mobiles.

[2] If T-Mobile opts to extend its control over WiFi networks and continue to charge customers, one might wonder why they should be charged for data going over their own Internet service when they could use it for free with any other WiFi enabled device.

[3] New technology means new problems. Because the technology is relatively new, customer service and technical support will take some time getting to know how to deal with any problems that could potentially arise. This means stock up on Aspirin early adopters, it's likely to be a rough ride.


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