UTStarcom, Inc. (Nasdaq: UTSI), a global leader in IP-based, end-to-end networking solutions and services, today announced its end-to-end Continuity™ solution for the fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) market. The company will debut its Continuity solution at 3GSM World Congress 2006 in Barcelona, Spain and will conduct demos at Booth G62, Hall 2 Level 0.
The Continuity FMC solution is designed to increase network efficiency and coverage. It can also enable end users to access a rich set of services and features that, in the past, were available through either wireline or wireless networks. In the future, the Continuity FMC solution allows users to communicate with anyone from virtually anywhere while using a communication device of their choice. This allows for a simple, cost-effective solution for both wireline and wireless carriers and generally eliminates the need for a major overhaul of existing infrastructure.
The Continuity solution includes an FMC Feature Server (FMC-FS) based on the company’s mSwitch™ IP softswitch platform and a dual-mode Wi-Fi/GSM handset. With Continuity, fixed and mobile service providers can deliver a unified service over both wireline and wireless networks. End users can interconnect to the fixed-line or cellular network transparently and roam across them seamlessly regardless of their location, communication device, or network access method.
“UTStarcom’s Continuity solution has the flexibility and power to enable all types of carriers to enhance their services,” said Brian Caskey, vice president of worldwide marketing at UTStarcom. “The mSwitch provides a solid foundation for our FMC solution; it is a proven platform that currently supports more than 48 million subscribers around the world. Plus, our Continuity architecture is designed to enable all service providers to continue to add mobility feature servers for CDMA, WiMAX, and other services well into the future. We believe FMC is the first step for streaming media, and ultimately, we expect the Continuity solution can even support IPTV over the mobile device.”
Solution Supports Single or Dual Numbers
The Continuity solution is designed to support both single- and dual-number configurations and provide a migration from one to the other. Carriers will be able to choose which approach to use depending on the regulatory or technology environment. A single-number configuration will give the user one identity and one number, while allowing the service provider to save on spectrum when the user is indoors and calls are carried over the broadband network.
A carrier may need to support dual numbers for regulatory or tariff reasons; for example, different tariffs may apply to wireline and wireless segments of a call. Dual-number capability also lets carriers home handsets to either the Wi-Fi or GSM networks. Also, users do not need to change their behavior when the carrier migrates to a single-number service, an advantage that reduces churn.
See companion release announced today titled, “UTStarcom Announces Trial of Its ‘Continuity’ Solution with Brasil Telecom.”
True Conversion, Not Substitution
Because UTStarcom’s Continuity is designed to be a true FMC solution, carriers can retain control of calls as subscribers roam between WiFi and wireless domains. The Continuity FMC solution can provide subscribers with the best of both worlds: the mobility of a wireless service plus the low cost and high QoS of a wireline service. Today, about 50 percent of cellular subscribers’ calls originate in areas such as the home or office where there is an existing Wi-Fi network.
Another advantage of FMC is that the connection will not be dropped when users leave or enter buildings where wireless service is enabled and allowed; instead, the connection will be seamlessly switched to the most appropriate service. Because the wireline and wireless networks are peered, and transparent to the user, and particularly because Continuity is an all-IP solution, it is capable of supporting call control. Most other FMC solutions are configured for Fixed-Mobile Substitution (FMS), which does not provide the type of overall quality and transparency that end users expect.
Support for Multiple Dual-Mode Handsets
In addition to the compatibility of the FMC-FS with UTStarcom’s dual-mode Wi-Fi/GSM handset, the FMC-FS is also designed to interoperate with other handsets via standards-based API protocols and interfaces. This reflects UTStarcom’s commitment to keeping the handset supply chain secure for wireless service providers, while continuing to provide them with a wide range of new handsets.