There is a powerful trend toward seamless mobility in the wireless industry, where mobile professionals today and eventually all consumers in the future will want to communicate and be able to do their daily business anytime, anywhere. As a result, there is real demand for ubiquitous connectivity between a wide variety of mobile devices and access technologies, which (at least for now) include wireless wide-area networks (WWANs) and wireless local-area networks (WLANs). Roaming and communications between these technologies are therefore "must-haves" for seamless mobility to occur.
To realize the potential of seamless mobility and ensure continued profitability, service providers have to focus as equally on WLAN implementations as they do on their cellular WWANs. Wi-Fi and traditional wireless services are adjuncts that can exist and succeed together and provide consumers what they want, when they want it.
As mentioned in eTinium's study, Seamless Mobility: The Marriage of 3G and Wi-Fi, customers will use these technologies for different reasons and at different times. The 2.5G and 3G technologies such as general packet radio service (GPRS), enhanced data rates for GSM evolution (EDGE), code division multiple access (CDMA) 1XRTT, and CDMA 1xEV-DO will be used for applications requiring instant gratification and bursty data: e-mail, calendar access, text messaging, and multimedia message service (MMS), among others. But WLANs will be used in specific locations where users need access to their corporate files and Intranets.
Published by the International Engineering Consortium (IEC), Seamless Mobility is the result of extensive primary and secondary research on a variety of industry participants including service providers (both U.S. and international), equipment vendors, wireless Internet service providers (ISPs), semiconductor manufacturers, software providers, and aggregators, among others. The study covers the potential as well as the shortcomings of 3G and demonstrates how service providers can take advantage of WLAN deployments to make up for 3G's revenue shortfall and what strategic moves are required for success in mobile data. Drivers and obstacles that must be addressed to achieve growth in the WLAN market—such as roaming, billing, security, seamless authentication, and handovers—are discussed. In addition, the study covers the business of failed companies and offers lessons learned for successful business models.
The report is available for US$ 1495 from the IEC website.