FMC to hit 103 million consumer access points by 2013

The fixed-mobile convergence market (FMC) is on the brink of very interesting times, according to analysts at ABI Research. UMA-based Wi-Fi dual-mode solutions have seen some significant penetration in both Europe and North America thanks to successful market introductions by T-Mobile in the US (T-Mobile @Home) and Orange (unik) in France, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The first real competitive solution that could rival WiFi-based products has now appeared, in the form of Sprint’s nationwide (US) femtocell-based AIRAVE solution, according to ABI. Yet the research firm stated the questions remain: is there room for both types of convergence in the market; and which solution is best placed to succeed?

ABI Research forecasts a total of 103 million access points of both types to be in service by 2013. Vice president and research director, Stuart Carlaw, said: “We expect cellular-based femtocells to have taken over the baton from UMA- and SiP-based WiFi solutions by 2013, seizing 62% of the market.”

He continued: “Although UMA-based WiFi solutions have seen early gains in greenfield markets, these solutions have not proliferated much outside their current carrier footprints. This can be attributed partly to the carriers’ desire to assess femtocell developments, but also to lingering concerns regarding the concept of WiFi based fixed mobile convergence.”