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First UMA roaming handset breaks cover

From Wi-Fi to GSM and back again

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A year after the Wi-Fi-to-cellular roaming standard UMA was initially published, the first true mobile handset supporting the technology appears to be heading for the USA.

LG's forthcoming LG-CL400 will support the Unlicensed Mobile Access specification, designed to allow Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices access to GSM networks, and to handover seamlessly without dropping the call.

BenQ's P50 was expected to be the first UMA device to market. The PocketPC based device was announced last October but will is only creeping onto the market, in limited numbers now. But carriers might find the LG-CL400 more attractive, and LG clearly has Cingular in sights with the clamshell camera phone, as its supports the old AT&T Wireless 850Mhz.

Development of UMA was blessed by the 3GPP in April, and now shelters under the GSM organization's standards umbrella. Technical Specification 43.318, as it's known, will be included in future versions of the 3GPP standard.

Over the summer UMA received two boosts from Nokia and Symbian, which both announced partnerships to work with Kineto Wireless, the Silicon Valley start-up which has driven development of UMA.

LG's handset also uses Kineto's UMA controller. ®

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