AT&T aside, cable has its eyes on some forms of wireless convergence

AT&T took some solid shots at the cable industry when it announced a new quad play of services that threw mobile wireless into the traditional triple play mix of IP voice, video and broadband data. "We know this is an option consumers want and can't get from cable," said Joey Schultz, vice president of consumer marketing for AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets in a news release.

That's mostly true. Cable customers can't really get a mobile service from their operators, but they may be able to leverage the non-cable-provided mobile service they already have. A fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) demonstration of how to seamlessly link mobile and fixed phones drew an inordinate amount of floor traffic at Nortel's booth at Cable Show 2010 in Los Angeles, said Mark Woollam, Nortel's global solutions market development director.

"If you're going to become more compelling in the home then you have to not just think about delivering an abstract application; you have to think about the total experience," Woollam said. In Nortel's case, that experience went beyond the ho-hum traditional IP voice to the long-talked about FMC experience of migrating from cell phone to IP phone and back.

"One of the advantages of doing communications over the IP domain is that whatever the device is, broadband, wireless, in the house or even an IP-enabled television, that capability just moves from screen to screen," said Rob Scheible, senior marketing manager--IP Communications. "I can get my content anywhere but if I take it on a device I'm not stuck on that device; I can move it live from device to device to whatever's comfortable at the moment."

It's not a quad play, but for cable, it might be the best play right now.

Related articles:
AT&T goes where no cable operator can and offers quad play
Comcast launches HomePoint VoIP Phone/Router, some ask 'why?'
Cable operators taking different routes to same destination: broadband wireless