Is FMC Dead? - InformationWeek

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Commentary
2/8/2008
06:32 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
Commentary
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Is FMC Dead?

BT has silently killed its much-hyped fixed-mobile convergence service, Fusion. Three years ago FMC was the hottest thing since sliced bread. Now its biggest champion, BT, is walking away. Is this a sign of things to come?

BT has silently killed its much-hyped fixed-mobile convergence service, Fusion. Three years ago FMC was the hottest thing since sliced bread. Now its biggest champion, BT, is walking away. Is this a sign of things to come?Here's a look at the end of BT's Fusion:

Launched with great fanfare in 2005, the U.K.'s former state telco, BT, has now quietly dropped its Fusion FMC solution. The company had proudly stated that it expected Fusion would generate £1 billion from new mobile and convergence services within five years--instead only 45,000 people have subscribed to date (not the millions forecast) and the company has now stopped advertising the service.

The sales pitch was that users could make cheap or free calls using the Fusion handset at home over BT broadband, and switch to the Vodafone network or BT's WiFi hotspots outside. However, the concept seems to have proven too challenging for potential users to grasp.

The biggest hurdle for FMC services, especially in the United States, is the cheap rate of cellular phone calls. It's not that expensive to make cell phone calls, so that value proposition for most consumer-grade FMC services isn't that appealing.

In fact, most users don't even use all of their cell phone minutes each month. If you factor in programs like rollover minutes, the value is even less apparent.

For the enterprise, cost cutting isn't a selling point either. Sure, companies always want to cut costs, but FMC deployments are expensive and businesses need to see more impressive ROI than just simple cost cutting to make it worth their time. This why enterprises are now less excited by FMC and are more interested in unified communications, which promises far more interesting applications.

What do you think? Is FMC dead? And if so, does the same fate await unified communications?

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