updated 11:05 am EDT, Wed May 7, 2008
BT VoIP and HTC Phones
BT on Wednesday formally rolled out Total Broadband Anywhere, its own approach to merging Internet and phone service. The plan gives users both an 8Mbps DSL connection from the British carrier but also two phone offerings that promise to avoid the need for traditional cellphone or landline service. A home router known as the BT Home Hub provides the basic connection and creates a Wi-Fi connection in addition to including a cordless voice-over-Internet phone for making calls when at home; the feature allows much less expensive calling, particularly over long distances.
More important are the cellular phones, the company says. Every version of the Anywhere plan includes a BT ToGo phone with built-in Wi-Fi that also supports VoIP calls from most access points, including free access from any of BT's own hotspots in the UK and those created by FON routers supplied to BT customers. Two devices made by HTC launch with the service: the S620, a QWERTY bar phone with a 1.3-megapixel camera (also known as the T-Mobile Dash in the US), and the S710, a QWERTY slider with a 2-megapixel camera known alternately as the Sprint Mogul or Verizon SMT5800 in American service. Both continue to have access to regular cellphone service and GPRS data when off of the wireles network.
A basic Total Broadband Anywhere plan starts at £24 ($47) per month with the Home Hub and a ToGo phone that includes 50 minutes of non-Wi-Fi calls, 50 SMS messages, and 10MB of data. Plans peak at £54 ($106) per month with 600 minutes and 700 messages for very frequent users.