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Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) provides access to cellular mobile voice and data services over unlicensed spectrum technologies, such Bluetooth or Wi-Fi (802.11). A UMA phone will use a cellular networks (GSM, CDMA, etc.) when out and about, and automatically switch to a UMA-enabled Bluetooth or Wi-Fi local network when in range, such as at home or in the office. UMA technology is the 3GPP global standard for fixed-mobile convergence. UMA enables secure, scalable access to mobile voice, data and IMS services over broadband IP access networks. By deploying UMA technology, mobile operators can deliver a number of compelling fixed-mobile convergence services. The most well-known applications of UMA include dual-mode cellular/Wi-Fi handsets and 3G femtocells access points.

Leading operators around the world have embraced UMA technology as the foundation for their fixed-mobile convergence strategy, including Orange/France Telecom, British Telecom, T-Mobile US, TeliaSonera, Netcom, Saunalahti and Cincinnati Bell. UMA enables secure, scalable access to mobile voice, data and IMS services over broadband IP access networks. By deploying UMA technology, mobile operators can deliver a number of compelling fixed-mobile convergence services. The most well-known applications of UMA include dual-mode cellular/Wi-Fi handsets and 3G femtocells access points. Leading operators around the world have embraced UMA technology as the foundation for their fixed-mobile convergence strategy, including Orange/France Telecom, British Telecom, T-Mobile US, TeliaSonera, Netcom, Saunalahti and Cincinnati Bell.

Improving coverage in areas where cellular signals are weak is an important issue for many organizations. UMA extends coverage to the workplace without forcing employees to change the way they use their cell phones. The only difference is that the phone will switch to Wi-Fi when it loses cellular coverage. To improve coverage with UMA, an organization sets up Wi-Fi access points in areas with poor cellular coverage to overcome coverage gaps and call dead zones. Companies with state-of-the-art, centrally managed wireless LANs (WLAN) can make a global configuration change to enable Wi-Fi UMA access from any location.

UMA-enabled Dual-Mode Wi-Fi Handsets: By far the most well-known UMA service is dual-mode cellular/Wi-Fi handsets (DMH), which enables operators to provide high-performance, low-cost mobile services to subscribers when in range of a home, office or public Wi-Fi network. With a UMA-enabled dual-mode Wi-Fi handset, subscribers can automatically roam and handover between cellular and Wi-Fi access, receiving a consistent set of services as they transition between networks.

UMA-enabled Femtocells: UMA-enabled femtocells represent a growing UMA service opportunity. The wireless industry has been searching for low-cost licensed indoor coverage solutions since the beginning of mobile networks. Unfortunately, the bulk of this opportunity (i.e. residential environments) has been beyond the addressable market for cost and operational reasons. To be successful, a residential licensed access point (i.e. femtocell) deployment must include low-cost femtocells (under €150), a reasonable approach for managing RF interference, and a standard, scalable, IP-based approach for core network integration.
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