Saturday, August 11, 2007

T-Mobile Prepping FMC Service?

T-Mobile, which has launched a dual-mode (GSM plus Wi-Fi) Hotspot@Home service, looks like it is getting ready to integrate landline service as well. T-Mobile is working with Linksys on a router that integrates home phone lines into the service along with providing VoIP service over cell phones, according to documents with the Federal Communications Commission.

In June, T-Mobile launched its Hotspot@Home service, which allows T-Mobile cell phone subscribers to transfer calls seamlessly between the T-Mobile cellular network and a Wi-Fi hot spot in the home.

My issue with the implementation is that it only supports two phones: the Samsung t409 and the Nokia 6086. So far, no tier one provider has found its dual-mode service very attractive to users when device limitations are that stringent.

The new router, not yet available but already bearing the model appellation WRTU54G, also has two slots that support two GSM SIM cards, allowing users to add up to two additional mobiles.

If T-Mobile wants to unify the access to VoIP and other IP-based communication services, over Wi-Fi in the home, wired connection in the home, at a T-Mobile Hotspot or on the GSM network, that might be more interesting. But there still is the handset issue. Given a choice between the tri-mode feature (even with seamless VoIP across all devices)and relatively unrestricted handset choice, I think handset choice wins, just about every time.

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