Most business users of wireless mobile devices can see the benefits of using a mobile device that can connect to both ubiquitous wireless carrier networks and Wi-Fi networks, when they are available. Using faster, more reliable, and much cheaper Wi-Fi for data transfer, and even voice calls, has long been in demand but wireless carriers have been loath to offer the dual mode devices. Historically, the carriers have seen the Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices as a threat to their revenue stream; after all, why would they want to let people use a free or cheap Wi-Fi connection when they could charge exorbitant fees for access to their networks? Everything changed with the advent of unlimited data plans and now carriers want to get users off of their networks.
The Benefits of Dual Mode Devices
While dual mode cellular/Wi-Fi devices have yet to be fully integrated with carrier networks they still offer several benefits. Again, carriers have been reluctant to implement true Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC) where a dual mode device can roam seamlessly between carrier networks and Wi-Fi networks. As it stands now, a phone call or data connection is not handed off between cellular and Wi-Fi networks. There are solutions, such as those available from DiVitas Networks and Agito Networks, which enterprises can implement to allow for seamless roaming between cellular and Wi-Fi networks.