updated 08:25 am EDT, Wed June 27, 2007
T-Mobile Hotspot at Home
T-Mobile on Wednesday announced a US-wide launch of HotSpot@Home, its currently unique service that bridges cell and VoIP calling. Expanding from the limited trial, the carrier pairs a D-Link or Linksys wireless router with special phones using Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) that can switch back and forth between Wi-Fi and regular GSM phone connections. The service lets cellphone users call regardless of reception indoors and without eating into subscription minutes -- in some cases letting subscribers drop landlines entirely, T-Mobile says. Those with the plan can also connect for free at T-Mobile's public Wi-Fi hotspots.
The service adds $10 per month to an existing individual calling plan or $20 for a family plan; either router is free after rebate. Two phones, the Nokia 6086 and the Samsung t409, are the first two devices to work with the service and feature both UMA as well as cameras and other basic features. They sell for $50 each when signed to a two-year contract.