In a new study from ABI Research, fixed mobile convergence (FMC) handset voice connections for business customers are forecast to rise from 6.3 million in 2009 to more than 27 million by 2014. FMC voice connections include WiFi FMC connections as well as cellular FMC connections using picocells and femtocells.
However, its not just femtocells that are driving up enterprise FMC connections, said practice director, Dan Shey: “While femtocells have been all the rage, dual mode cellular and WiFi phones will also increase enterprise FMC voice access.”
Indeed, WiFi in smartphones will grow from a 45% attach rate in 2009 to a 90% attach rate in 2014. Business customers are the primary adopters of smartphones and with increased penetration of WiFi smartphones, this change levels the playing field between cellular and WiFi FMC. Previously, the knock against FMC solutions particularly for voice over WiFi was the lack of WiFi phones.
Another variable affecting the business FMC landscape is business customers accessing the web, watching videos and connecting to social networking sites for personal reasons. FMC solutions and smartphones provide IT managers with ways to manage these kinds of connections.
The wildcards for enterprise FMC are downloadable VoIP applications from companies such as Skype and Truphone. Commented Shey: “Downloadable apps that offer VoIP connections over WiFi or on unlimited cellular data plans may not be enterprise grade for now. But their availability will change how we view VoIP on cell phones, leading to some interesting opportunities and challenges for the mobile supply chain.”