Handset availability may hinder consumer interest in converged VoWLAN/cellular services, according to In-Stat, a market research firm. Several recent surveys also found little interest in technology such as the special mobile phones and Wi-Fi connections necessary to enable those services.
According to an In-Stat analyst, there is a strong interest in “home zone” pricing, which offers unlimited local and domestic long-distance calls for a single flat fee when the customer uses a home Wi-Fi access point or a Wi-Fi hotspot. Converged VoWLAN/cellular services face technology competition from miniature cell sites called “femtocells” that a customer could install instead of using Wi-Fi. Femtocells don’t require specialized cellular handsets and there are not a lot of Wi-Fi/cellular phones available currently.
Recent research by In-Stat found the following:
- Unlike many other mobile applications, such as video and downloadable music, the primary market for home zone billing plans appears not to be high spending, high-usage wireless customers.
- The more frugal customers, who may be limiting their usage and spending to avoid unexpected bills, are a more important—but difficult to identify—market.
- Wireless and fixed-line carriers must forge alliances in order to provide converged services and billing.
The research, Consumer Demand for Cellular/WiFi Services, covers the market for converged Cellular/VoWLAN services. It includes extensive analysis of an In-Stat consumer survey on these services. It also provides background on the technology, and discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of deployment for carriers and consumers. This report is important to companies considering entry into the converged services market including equipment vendors, handset manufacturers, and wireless carriers. The price is $3,495 (US).
More info: In-Stat’s Mobile Consumer Service »