As various wireless broadband options become available, a few cellular carriers have been trying to figure out the best way to offer a combined WiFi-cellular phone service to their customers. Recently more and more carriers are turning to UMA — unlicenced mobile access — to solve this problem, given it can offer carriers an element of control over the handoff between WiFi and cellular networks.
Kineto Wireless, a Milpitas-based startup that sells both handset and network technology for UMA, has been gaining customers in recent months and plans to announce tomorrow that it has partnered with TeliaSonera, the Swedish carrier, for a dual WiFi/cellular service called “Home Free.” TeliaSonera has been trialling Kineto’s UMA solution since last year, and it’s been an open secret that the carrier had chosen Kineto’s solution.
TeliaSonera plans to use Kineto’s network UMA technology, and the initial cell phone for the launch will be the Samsung P200. The “Home Free” service is likely similar to T-Mobile’s planned launch of a UMA-based service on the west coast of the U.S. sometime in mid-September. Supposedly that service was supposed to be launched several weeks ago.
The attention towards UMA by carriers has been growing in recent months, but we’re not entirely sure what delayed the T-Mobile UMA launch. If you’re a T-Mobile subscriber in Seattle and you actually have access to a UMA service, let us know how (and if) it’s working. And for any UMA deployment, of course, we’d always love to hear your feedback.
Update: The WSJ has an article out this morning that puts T-Mobile’s planned WiFi/cellular service launch “as early as October” and likely some time in “the fourth quarter.”