Posted by: Tom Nolle
Wi-Fi, Wireless broadband
September 21 2007: Nokia has become the latest in a crowd that is releasing WiFi handsets that lack UMTS or high-speed 3G capability. As we have noted, the multimodal handsets are both a potential positive in that they may be promoting FMC options and offering some symbiosis between wireless and wireline broadband, and a potential negative in that they are socializing what is basically application offload from 3G. The long term risk, we believe, exceeds the benefit for the wireless world, but it is empowering to those operators who have strong wireline broadband franchise. It seems likely that voice as an application will actually end up being tapped off a bit from mobile as well. As an entry below remarks, VoWiMAX is already becoming viable in emerging markets, and it is not impossible that a portable voice service that mingles WiFi at home and WiFi in muni-Fi form, and later WiMAX, will take off. This could be facilitated if a reasonable video strategy emerges for WiMAX.