A group of global telcos has teamed up to develop next-generation voice services that could cut corporate call costs by automatically routing traffic between fixed-line and mobile infrastructures.
Founding members of the Fixed-to-Mobile Convergence Alliance include fixed-line operators BT, Brazil Telecom and Korea Telecom, who claim that their collective backing will help to kick-start the long-promised convergence of mobile and fixed-line services, which would allow the routing of voice traffic through the cheapest available local infrastructure.
The move has been welcomed by industry watchers, who pointed out that companies signing up for such services could make substantial savings on call charges.
Angel Dobardziev, senior analyst Ovum, said: "Fixed/mobile convergence can offer tangible benefits in terms of cost savings. Such services mean that staff using mobile phones on company premises will pay fixed-line rates for their calls and so save something in the region of 25 to 30 per cent."
But Dobardziev cautioned that mobile and fixed-line integration would encounter technical issues at a network level. "It is not easy to implement mobile to fixed-line convergence," he said.
"Different networks and different operators employ different standards and technologies, so getting to the stage where they can transfer calls between each other's infrastructures seamlessly is problematic."
The formation of the Fixed-to-Mobile Convergence Alliance follows BT's recent unveiling of Project Bluephone with mobile operator Vodafone, which achieves mobile to fixed-line convergence at a handset level by switching between mobile and fixed infrastructures using Bluetooth wireless links.
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