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« iPhone - Sling Media SlingPlayer Mobile | Main | Message to AT&T and international iPhone carriers; Service pricing is a big drag on iPhone sales »

January 13, 2009


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Chris Carlin

To be clear, because a lot of people miss this, femtocells and UMA don't entirely overlap in terms of the problems they solve.

Femtocells have the advantage that they work with any cellphone, but UMA phones have the advantage that they can work anywhere there's an available wifi connection.

I hear many people encouraging T-Mobile to immediately give up on UMA and rush to femtocells, but plenty of people like myself have absolutely no need for a cellphone repeater but a critical need for a cellphone that can work over existing wifi.

It's important to realize that they're not entirely interchangeable; both have their places.

Stephen Skarlatos


Two points of clarification:

1. A Femtocell is not a repeater. It is a micro cell site which transmits and receives calls over a broadband connection.
2. UMA WIFI cell phones do not necessarily works on every WIFI HotSpot. The HotSpot may block IPSec ports and/or require a log on via a web page which is not gracefully handled by a phone's UMA software.

That said, I want to make clear that I don't think one is necessarily better than the other. The Femtocell addresses weak indoor signal while UMA addresses that plus the ability to make UMA calls at compatible WIFI HotSpots like Starbucks.

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