Orange Unique and Blackberry

Orange to launch the BlackBerry 8820 – UMA and email in a single device


Orange have announced that they will be launching the  BlackBerry 8820 will be at the end of July which   will replace the BlackBerry 8800 in Orange’s portfolio.

The 8820 is a revamped 8800 that offers all the  functionality of the 8800  and combines it with UMA  (The ability to use WiFi VoIP and Cellular in the same device). The 8820 therefor supports Orange’s  Unique offering where home workers can roam onto Orange’s Unique VoIP service via the Internet through their Orange Broadband connection when in their home location.

email on the go and UMA is a great feature, HP have combined the options in the iPAQ 514 Voice Communicator (still waiting HP!!) on the Windows Mobile 6 Platform so it’s good to see RIM following suite for those Blackberry users out there

Interestingly Orange Caveat the Unique service as follows  

Please note that the Unique/Homeworker proposition offers users the ability to continue to make voice calls when in the home, irrespective of GSM coverage, using WiFi/Orange Broadband. It may however be subject to busy periods as with all broadband connections. Customers are therefore advised to trial the solution before committing to large rollouts.

Which hints that they might be having capacity problems, I don’t use the service myself but would be interested in any Orange customer experiences of problems in this service.

I think the jury is still out on the whether UMA or Pico Cells will be the best technology to provide local roaming so any user experiences are of great interest to me.

remember Rabbit anyone ?

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5 Responses to Orange Unique and Blackberry

  1. Steve Shaw says:

    This is very exciting news. I know Orange is very committed to UMA, but I would have guessed T-Mobile US as the first customer for this device.

    Two comments on your post.

    First, I’ve never seen that type of caveat before. I wonder if they are caveating the capacity of the broadband link. Perhaps there’s an implication of an enterprise deployment which may lack the Orange LiveBox with QoS capabilities.

    I can’t imagine it’s a capacity problem with UMA. That is something Orange can easily fix by installing more controllers. No need to warn customers about something internal.

    My second comment is on nomenclature: There is a lot of debate on the relative merits of pico-cells (or femtocells) versus *dual-mode handsets*, rather than UMA. UMA is actually a generic protocol, not a service. UMA is being used in both femtocell access points as well as dual-mode phones.

    In a broader context, I believe that a femtocell service is complementary to a DMH service. Femtocells are about improving 3G coverage in the home whereas dual-mode handset service is about cheap voice. Orange may very well leverage their existing UMA infrastructure to roll out a femtocell service in parallel with their Unique/DMH offer.

    For more info on UMA, check out

  2. Less than three weeks after the iPhone release, RIM drops some serious challenger. While I am an iPhone fan, the 8820’s built-in GPS, 32GB expansion storage, and unrestricted wi-fi is winning me over to this one.

  3. alasdairford says:

    @ steve , firstly hi and thanks for your feedback, knowing Orange I’m pretty sure the caveat is in response to a real world problem they’ve had.

    I’m sure it’s a backhaul jitter /latency problem, their network used to be freeserve and they weren’t renowned for the stability of their network.

    also knowing the enthusiasm of a few Orange acount managers I suspect they might have given their customers expectations that are far from exceeded in reality and tbh the Orange Livebox is flaky in the domestic environment I’d certainly not be deploying it in a corporate network. all in all a recipe for disaster.

    as you say the Pico cell versus DMH debate is not really about technology it’s about complexity and you can as you say have a DMH handset that spends some of it’s time associated to a pico cell.

    The key is that UMA uses and requires multiple transports ( cellular radio and Wireless ethernet) and there has to be an overhead and risk associated with managing the transitions between those transports, using a handset that exists in a Picocell environmnet means you can stay with cellular radio which is so very tried and tested.

    In the UK the release of the guard frequencies and their subsequent purchase has opened the Pico cell option, I see it’s potential in two ways:

    1) as you say as an infill solution, there are customers out there at the moment who have solutions based on similar principles with private cellsites deployed to mitigate local coverage or capacity issues, you could have a cell your office and benefit from cheaper homed calls, incidentally your cell could extend the MNOs network allowing external handsets to use it as a regular cell without you being aware of it.

    2) mini celular routers connected to a broadband link and have a locally homed device (coudl be homed on multiple cells in a corportate network) to take advantage of lower costs when on a homed connection.

    The benefit of option 2 as a competitor to a UMA solution is that the device maintains Cellular connecton at all times with the cell determining the backhaul voice transport.

    This reduces the processing power needed on the mobile device improves it’s battery life and means you can immediately make the service available to your entire customer base without the need for new DMHs.

    an MNO also potentially has a lower support burden as you aren’t expecting your end users to cope with a device that is flicking from one network to another and you don’t need to employ additional network support staff or retrain your existing tech team.

    the problem with option 2 is that a broadand wireless router can be picked up for as little at £30 I have no idea what a cellular router would cost but I’m betting five or six times that as a minimum.

    There’s also a great deal of scepticism about the health risks of traditonal cell sites so I can see a little resistance to having one, even a low powered one in your office a few feet from your sleeping babies

    very interesting times ahead :)

  4. alasdairford says:

    @ bb8820 frankly I’ve steered away from the iPhone debate the only thing that I find interesting is the multitouch UI – I’m a bit of a UI trainspotter – as far as I’m concerned the damn thing doesn’t support exchange activesync so it’s not on my wish list

  5. Rob D'Alessio says:

    I am frustrated at having been convinced by Oranges’ answer to a poor signal reception issue in my area: we (Orange) now have a limited – yes VERY – selection of phones that use UMA to continue or route a new call over a w-fi- connection instead of GSM. Well we jumped for it, but they didn’t say we’d have similar dropped connection problems via UMA over our wireless service (provided by BT Internet & Netgear WAP & Router. They have flatly refused any support for the HTC 3G Touch I have got on a 24 month contract (been with Orange for 15 + years) because we aren’t using Orange Broadband or their router. I’m fairly certain it is a software configuration issue (both what settings I need to use on the phone & the WAP need tweaking), but they are unable to assist. Can you help at all? I have a reasonable IT understanding even though I’m just a “bricks & mortar” builder. Many thanks, Rob

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