Cisco, T-Mobile team up for Wi-Fi calling for business system

It's designed to ensure reliable voice calls over Wi-Fi, seamless roaming

Cisco and T-Mobile USA today announced Wi-Fi Calling for Business to help ensure reliable voice calls over Wi-Fi as well as seamless roaming of voice and data traffic between Wi-Fi and cellular networks for smartphone users.

The two companies collaborated on the system, which can help companies lower communication costs by putting more mobile voice and data calls over often-free Wi-Fi networks than on cellular networks, where monthly usage fees and expensive per-minute charges on international calls apply.

Cisco and T-Mobile named Cytec Industries as an early adopter of the service. Marc Rohleder, director of sales engineering at T-Mobile, said that about about 1,000 of Cytec's 6,000 workers have used the service for about six months, with the company now putting about 30 per cent of its mobile calls over Wi-Fi.

"That translates to cost savings," Rohleder said in an interview, although he didn't specify how much. Cytec has global operations and 28 sites in the U.S. alone where connecting over a Wi-Fi network would virtually cut out mobile service costs, he said. International roaming charges over cellular connections are generally very expensive, but can be avoided using Wi-Fi, he explained.

Cytec was not willing to discuss the new service or cost savings.

Rohleder said that T-Mobile also benefits with the new service. "For us, we're the only major U.S. carrier to offer the service, so it gives us a greater reach into enterprises that wouldn't be inclined to go to T-Mobile" for network services.

Cytec consolidated a number of mobile carriers onto T-Mobile, getting attractive rates that are enhanced partly because T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsche Telekom already operates cellular networks in 14 countries and partners with operators of 45,000 Wi-Fi hotspots globally, Rohleder added.

The new service requires a Cisco wireless LAN infrastructure, which Cytec had deployed. The Cisco infrastructure includes Cisco's Unified Wireless Network technology and Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX), which is software to improve quality of service, roaming and power savings and must be embedded in silicon on smartphones using the system. So far, CCX is supported in BlackBerry and Nokia smartphones, both in use at Cytec.

Cisco is working to expand the use of CCX on other popular smartphones, including iPhone and Android, said Chris Kozup, director of mobility marketing at Cisco.

The handoffs between Wi-Fi and cellular are also enhanced with T-Mobile's use of the Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) standard, which is an Internet Protocol extension of T-Mobile's GSM/EDGE network, Rohleder said. UMA has been in use for four years at T-Mobile to enable Wi-Fi calling; the network extension handles 40 million calls a month.

T-Mobile announced Wi-Fi Calling for some Androidsmartphones on Oct. 6, adding them to several earlier Wi-Fi supported Nokia and BlackBerry smartphones. The four Android devices ready for Wi-Fi at T-Mobile are the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G, LG Optimus T, the G2, and the Motorola Defy. While they are Wi-Fi enabled, they do not support CCX yet, Rohleder said.

Cisco and T-Mobile did not discuss the cost of a typical Wi-Fi Calling for Business system, since it would involve variable costs for a Cisco Wi-Fi network and T-Mobile cellular service costs.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobilesmartphonesNetworkingtelecommunicationPhonesconsumer electronicsMobile and WirelessT-Mobile USA

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?