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Almost exactly a month to the day I wrote a short editorial about why I think UMA still matters, especially on Android. I don’t think I read one dissenter in the comments who stated that UMA on Android wouldn’t be a welcomed addition. Then yesterday came a report from GigaOM namesake Om Malik who spoke to an unnamed T-Mobile representative and was told that T-Mobile would “continue to support UMA on the current and forthcoming Blackberry devices and Nokia E73.” So that’s less than a half dozen devices and assuming the 9780 includes UMA upon its arrival in November, that’ll still make less than a half dozen devices.
The thing is, I’m not sure if I want to interpret this differently but I don’t know if we can say T-Mobile has given up on the idea of UMA and Android based on this off the record statement. It’s not exactly a non-denial denial and yet it wasn’t anything that gave us hope either. It sounded more like a deflection of the question than an outright no. Is T-Mobile hindering this process or is it more likely the manufacturers are having a rough time incorporating this feature. Is T-Mobile worried that UMA will allow for users to back away from HSPA+ services they will undoubtedly spend billions rolling out this year alone.
I do agree with Om though, T-Mobile is making a mistake here. UMA is a terrific way to make up for shortcomings in a specific building or house where service might be less than stellar. It’s inexpensive and it doesn’t tax the network and its likely available where the service might be needed most. There is no question the addition of this service to T-Mobile’s growing Android line-up would give it a leg up and a huge differential between other carriers and devices and I think it’s a golden opportunity being pass over. Of course, I don’t know the circumstances and I don’t pretend to know the technological requirements necessary to enable this service, but I know it works and it works well.