If Only the New iPhone 3G Supports UMA


Steve Jobs’ announcement of the new iPhone will definitely rattle the telecom industry worldwide. Not only does it support 3G, it looks more refined, and more importantly, for $199 – this is a price point that a lot of people will shell out.

Steve Jobs’ announcement of the new iPhone will definitely rattle the telecom industry worldwide. Not only does it support 3G, it looks more refined, and more importantly, for $199 – this is a price point that a lot of people will shell out.

As for me, no matter how tempting it is, I am still holding off for one reason: It doesn’t support UMA.

What is UMA? It stands for Unlicensed Mobile Access – essentially, it allows you to roam between regular cellphone networks AND wi-fi networks. Yes, you can place and receive phone calls using wi-fi. So far, only T-Mobile in the USA provides this service which they brand as Hotspot @ Home and there are only selected phones that supports UMA.

Here are the following reasons why UMA is such a big deal to me:

1. Better coverage. You see, at home, I have spotty cellphone signal. With UMA, my blackberry curve routes all the calls through my wi-fi network. The signal is strong, voice quality is crystal clear.

2. Cheaper. I use to have the macdaddy minutes for my cellphone plan. Today, I have downgraded to fewer cellphone minutes and pay $9.99 extra for UNLIMITED UMA minutes 24×7. That means whenever I place or receive calls using UMA, it is unlimited calls baby. These days, anywhere I go, I get wi-fi access anyway. The $9.99 fee includes starbucks and other places that has T-Mobile hotspots (airports, Fedex Kinko’s, hotels).

3. No more international roaming charges. I travel a lot internationally. Used to be, I would pay $2/minute for incoming or outgoing calls whenever I use my cellphone outside of the US. Well, with UMA, as long as I have wi-fi access in the location I am in, NO MORE international roaming charges. This is the most compelling reason for me to love UMA. Imagine, I can talk on my cellphone as long as I want while I am overseas yet not pay anything extra. Brilliant isn’t it?

No matter how much of an early adopter that I am and admire Apple products, I am still holding off on the iPhone for now. UMA had me @ hello.

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