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Friday, June 23, 2006

Another problem for dual-mode and UMA

I've seen a couple of articles commenting that the Italian Telecom regulator has blocked Telecom Italia from launching its upcoming dual-mode WiFi/cellular phone, called Unico. (I'm struggling to find the link now, bar this short comment).

It looks like this move is based on the notion that TI can't offer the product on a wholesale basis, and therefore it's anticompetitive. I'm not sure of the exact details of the regulatory regime around FMC in Italy, and I haven't heard of this sort of thing occurring elsewhere, although various people have discussed issues around FMC single bills being in something of a grey area.

I imagine that if the service offers customers some form of benefit (eg better coverage / lower prices) then there will probably be some sort of agreement made with the regulator eventually. However, the timing of this is a bit unfortunate for the already-beleagured UMA enthusiast fraternity, as it is another indicator of the narrowness of the window of opportunity - especially as I've already heard various TI people sing the praises of the next-generation of dual-mode technology, VCC.

Regular readers will know that I'm not the world's greatest UMA advocate. Despite this, I've actually been asked to speak at the UMA Conference in Barcelona next week. More details of my (rather punchy) presentation to follow shortly..... Let's just say that much of this weekend is going to be spent buying a bulletproof vest & hiring a bodyguard in preparation.


macaia said...

I´ve found many posts in Italian. If you can read it, here we go:


Agcom blocca Unico di Telecom Italia


Faccia da Unico


Unico: per una volta ha ragione Telecom?

The bottom line is that in the Italian market MVNOs should be allowed to operate, so to makes possible for many more operators (and not only Wind/Infostrada) to match Telecom Italia´s offer.

Stefano said...

Now Telecom Italia do have an UMA wholesale offer and the regulator cleared it to offer its Unico service, although with strong limitaions. Other details are available in this post.