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September 18, 2015

Ericsson takes wi-fi calling to tablets and PCs

Customers will be able to move calls off their smartphones to other connected devices.

By Alexander Sword

Ericsson has extended wi-fi calling beyond smartphones with its latest solution.

Wi-Fi calling for multi-device, available for operators to resell, allows voice service coverage to be extended to tablets and personal computers.

Devices that only carry wi-fi access but no cellular connections can now be used to make voice calls.

With consumers now able to pick up calls on any device, areas with poor cellular coverage will now be accessible in a native form on their chosen device.

The functionality has been added to Ericsson’s existing solution, with the possibility of setting up simultaneous calls on different devices and transferring calls between them.

According to Ericsson, the first operators will launch Wi-Fi calling for multi-device services during 2015.

"The multiple devices has value got potential. Essentially mobile data whether cellular or wi-fi is a way of providing OTT solutions to an operator," according to Rob Bamforth, Principal Analyst at Quocirca.

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"The challenge for operators is how they sell this to customers both at the enterprise and consumer level.

"If there’s no value added they might move to other services such as OTT like WhatsApp."

There could also be opportunities for providers outside the mobile space to sell these services.

"It may not just be the traditional operators who look at this," adds Bamforth. "Lots of operators are moving to offering wi-fi; you can see that opening as a potential opportunity."

Wi-fi calling, which is also provided through over-the-top services such as WhatsApp, is becoming an increasing focus of operators.

In the UK, Vodafone recently launched a wi-fi calling solution, while EE, Three and O2 have had the technology in place for some time.

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