Operators will be ale to offer VoWi-Fi on devices without a SIM card, while Ericsson and HP will combine on LTE and Wi-Fi packages for businesses
Ericsson is looking to improve indoor connectivity for businesses and consumers by enabling non-cellular devices like tablets and PCs to make calls over a cellular network, and with a new partnership with HP which will combine the best of mobile and wireless networking technologies.
Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) has been possible on compatible smartphones for some time, and allows users in complex indoor environments to make calls over an access point, often natively from the dialler.
The update to Ericsson’s existing VoWi-Fi product allows operators to extend this ability to devices without a SIM card, enabling customers to accept calls on multiple devices and have simultaneous conversations on the same phone number.
Software must be installed onto the device in question and calls can be transferred between smartphone, PC or tablet, giving consumers some of the benefits of unified communications platforms.
Ericsson claims the update will help mobile operators compete with over-the-top (OTT) services as the ease of use of VoWi-Fi and native integration in smartphones is an advantage over the likes of Skype. It could also reduce churn by improving customer experience.
Read More: How telcos can compete with OTT services
“While natively integrated Wi-Fi calling in smartphones has been commercially available for some time, both consumers and operators can benefit from extending this functionality to multiple devices,” claimed Anders Olin, head of product area network functions at Ericsson.
Ericsson expects the first operator multi-device VoWi-Fi to go live later this year. In the UK, Vodafone and EE have launched native VoWi-Fi, while Three and O2 both offer similar functionality via an app.
The Swedish network equipment manufacturer’s agreement with HP’s Aruba Networks also promises to improve indoor connectivity. The two firms will work together on new projects combining their respective expertise in cellular and wireless networks and will sell each other’s products to business and operator customers.
Ericsson and HP say there is a great need to maximise the benefits of licensed and unlicensed spectrum within the enterprise and hope their combination of Wi-Fi and LTE solutions will open new opportunities.
“Ericsson’s global scale and market leadership in building mobile infrastructures with operators worldwide is an ideal complement to Aruba Networks’ enterprise-wide networking solutions,” said Antonio Neri, general manager for HP’s enterprise group. “Together we expect to transform the way mobile networks are deployed in order to stay ahead of the pace of mobile requirements.”
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