Nokia Has Doubts About UMA

Nokia is uncertain about the future of UMA and may not develop any more dual-band handsets for the standard, according to George Fry, director of technology alignment for the Finnish company. “We’re not seeing use diminishing, but we are seeing deployments level off,” Fry said earlier this week at the Personal Computing and Communications Association meeting.

Fry said that in cases in which an operator such as T-Mobile is trying to fill holes in its coverage without spending more to build out the network, UMA makes sense. But he said he wasn’t aware of any new deployments in the last six months or so. Indeed UMA, a standard that allows for secure hand-off between a cellular and fixed network, has proved somewhat polarizing.

Meanwhile Steve Shaw, associate VP of marketing for Kineto Wireless, notes that UMA is also a key component of femtocells, which are currently en vogue in the telco world. Again, there’s no sense of how wide any sort of femtocell deployment might be, but Shaw, whose company bills itself as the UMA company, isn’t counting the standard out.

While admitting that current UMA deployments requiring dual-mode handsets are few, he points out that Orange does have plans to deploy a dual-band network in the UK, Spain and Poland to augment its program started in France. Maybe UMA will become a useful but limited standard, in a manner similar to the way Infiniband was hyped as a replacement for Fibre Channel and Ethernet, but instead was only adopted by the smaller market for high-performance computing.