updated 10:25 am EDT, Wed May 7, 2008
Matching internal leaks published in March, Fido today kicked off the launch of its UNO calling service. The feature closely mirrors T-Mobile's HotSpot@Home in the US and lets users save on cellular plan minutes and improve indoor reception by calling when within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot. Fido's implementation is likewise based on UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) and automatically bridges to or from the regular GSM phone network to keep calls active as the phone user roams into or out of coverage.
UNO in Fido form officially requires a voice-optimized Linksys Wi-Fi router, a related Internet connection, as well as a supporting cellphone; the service initially launches with the Nokia 6301, a tri-band bar phone that includes the necessary Wi-Fi as well as mobile data over EDGE and a 2-megapixel camera. The phone sells for $50 with a three-year contract; service itself costs either $15 per month for unlimited local calls or $20 with Canada-wide long distance. Either version requires an existing cellular voice plan but provides the wireless router for free.
Rogers is expected to debut an equivalent service soon under the Home Calling Zone name.