by Al Sacco

BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (MVS): Benefits of Using T-Mobile UMA for VoWi-Fi v. New MVS 5

Apr 26, 2010
Mobile Small and Medium Business

BlackBerry MVS 5 with VoWi-Fi is similar to T-Mobile's existing MVS offering but with a few key differences. RIM explains.

BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) this morning unveiled a new version of its BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (MVS) with new VoWi-Fi calling features.

RIM's BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (MVS) Diagram
RIM’s BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (MVS) Diagram

MVS lets corporate users employ their BlackBerrys to answer calls placed to their corporate desk-phones and smartphones, as well as make calls via BlackBerry that appear to originate from their desk-phones, among other things. And the new version, MVS 5, supports VoWi-Fi calling.

T-Mobile has offered VoWiFi calling functionality via MVS to its corporate customers since the fall of 2009 as part of its “Wi-Fi Calling with MobileOffice” service. But MVS 5 uses a different VoIP protocol to route voice calls over Wi-Fi, so VoWi-Fi features are available through MVS 5 for users on wireless carriers other than T-Mobile.

Last week, I had a quick chat with RIM’s VP of Product Management Tom Goguen to determine the differences between the MVS VoWi-Fi calling that has been available via T-Mobile and the upcoming MVS 5 VoWi-Fi features.

Goguen says that since T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi Calling with MobileOffice uses Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) technology and the new MVS 5 does not, T-Mobile’s offering actually has an advantage over the newer version in that T-Mobile users can fall back on UMA if a direct VoIP connection via MVS 5 fails, before dropping to cellular service, if available.

However, from an IT perspective, MVS 5 can be easier to get up and running, since BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) administrators typically have to open up a specific port in their organizations’ infrastructure to permit and secure UMA traffic, according to Goguen. Since MVS 5 doesn’t use UMA, that separate process is unnecessary.

On the other hand, corporate BlackBerry users could need to make a separate VPN connection to secure VoWi-Fi calls made via MVS 5, depending on the specific implementation, Goguen says. With T-Mobile’s UMA service, corporate users don’t need to connect through a VPN for secure Wi-Fi calls.

For more on RIM’s BlackBerry MVS 5 read, “RIM’s BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (MVS) 5 Gets New VoWi-Fi Features.”