02/06/2005

UMA Technology : Extending Mobile Services to unlicensed Spectrum

UMA Technology : Extending Mobile Services to unlicensed Spectrum

UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) allows mobile terminals (i.e. phones) to roam on to local networks using technology like Bluetooth or WiFi. In terms of technology it extends the mobile roaming capabilies to cover the Internet.

The site has a full set of specifications available to download (in PDF), though it's not easy reading.

This is what BT are trying to do with "Bluephone", though their trials are meant tohave been too successful to date.

If the technology can be made to work then it should allow the cost of calls to reduce when on a local network, since the mobile operator no longer has to transport the call over the cellular airwaves as the call traffic will be sent over the Internet (which is someone else's infrastructure).

Calling it "UMA" is a bit misleading in the UK (and in fact most of Europe) as there is no unlicensed spectrum. Ofcom still require licenses (as per the Wireless Telegraphy Act) to use any part of the radio spectrum, just that some bands (like 2.4GHz) are license exempt. License exempt spectrum means that if you stick to the license published by Ofcom, you don't need a specific one.
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