Wi-Fi

T-Mobile leverages Wi-Fi with free calling via the Net


While the Deathstar (you have seen the AT&T logo replacing Cingular's, right?) fiddles on the iPhone and conventional telephony burns, T-Mobile's made a very smart move by offering HotSpot @Home to its customers for unlimited voice calling via Wi-Fi connections at home, at the office, or on the road.

America's Network thinks it could affect wireline phone companies, as 27%-41% of cellular minutes are calls from inside homes. In 1Q2007, AT&T lost 285,000 residential consumers, up from 251,000 lines lost in the same period of 2006. Tie those customers to T-Mobile, and that's a big chunk of accounts.

The techiness of it all appeals to technophiles, a psychographic market slice that T-Mobile doesn't reach well. Port your number to T-Mobile, and you've effectively got a one-number service, which telcos charge dearly for.

It also strikes at VoIP companies, for almost all of those charge more than T-Mobile's $10/month Wi-Fi feature, though some do offer some international calling for free, which T-Mobile does not. And, stealing a page from their playbook, T-Mobile offers free wireless routers to sign-ups. Of course, you can still get one by telling FON you live next to a coffee house, but this is easier and easy sells.

It also helps T-Mobile compete against MetroPCS and LEAP Wireless, which offer unlimited calling for less than T-Mobile's thousand-minute months cost.

Does Wi-Fi in a cell phone intrigue you? Join the discussion.

2 comments
ebanksto
ebanksto

Yes and no. I, also, have a past in radio communications. We are steadily increasing the RF saturation of the air waves with an interesting result. For example, I temporarily live in an corporate apartment complex that uses a WiFi provider for the internet connection. The provider has so many access points that it interferes with cell phone reception. To insure I do not miss a call, I have to place the phone next to the window and walk onto the balcony/patio to sustain the call. If we continue to increase the transmissions, we will all be living in an area so densely populated with radio waves that we will become a frustrated consumer. Major cities already suffer from building interference, etc. and in some cases, other private WiFi access points. On another note, I am also tired of cell companies trying to create monopolistic solutions. Manufacturers of the cell equipment want to offer things such as SatNav in phones, etc., but carriers are saying they won't sell them because they want to offer pay services instead. It is all about getting the the maximum dollars from consumers for services that would otherwise be free. This is beneficial to society how?

K7AAY
K7AAY

I think T-Mobile should leap on the Nokia 9300i, a smartphone with WiFi, to add to its two new cellphones with WiFi, but does the whole concept intrigue you?

Editor's Picks