updated 02:10 pm EDT, Fri September 8, 2006
T-Mobile At Home Service
Cellphones and broadband Internet have irrevocably affected the popularity of wired phone service. Many urban dwellers now use cellphones as their sole avenue for phone calls or choose VoIP as a backup. Service carriers are often frightened of the mix, however: Internet calls through Skype and similar services removes the incentive to subscribe to more expensive cellular plans with extra talk time. Rejecting conventional wisdom, T-Mobile in the US is expected to soon introduce what could be an ideal compromise for both providers and their users. The company's T-Mobile At Home plan will take advantage of dual-mode phones that can connect both to cellular networks as well as VoIP through WiFi: if within range of a WiFi access point, T-Mobile subscribers could switch seamlessly to Internet calling to improve reception and save minutes on their cellular plans. The link between methods would also provide the distinct advantage of a single phone number. T-Mobile has not set a formal launch for its At Home feature, but the existence of promotional material (pictured) reveals that the service is close at hand.