updated 12:45 am EDT, Wed June 25, 2008
T-Mobile $10 phone service
T-Mobile is readying a VOIP phone service that will allow its customers to use standard landline phones over any broadband network for only $10 per month. Similar to offerings from Vonage and Packet8, T-Mobile's nationwide service has already been tested in the Seattle and Dallas markets since February and is expected to launch on July 2 as T-Mobile AtHome; it offers unlimited domestic calls as well as features such as call waiting, caller ID, three-way conferencing, voicemail, call forwarding and other features as well as optional features such as CallerTunes (ringback tones). Users will be able port their existing home phone numbers, but T-Mobile will require customers purchase a wireless plan that costs at least $40 per month as well as a compatible T-Mobile Internet router: the "HiPort" router costs $50 (with a two-year contract) and works with any standard corded or cordless phone and plugs into any broadband connection.
The system also works with T-Mobile's HotSpot @Home WiFi cellphones, which lets Wi-Fi-equipped cell phones use a home wireless router for calls (both to improve indoor coverage and relieve congestion on its own cellular network--while seamlessly switching between WiFi and the cellular network).
The nation's fourth largest carrier said that the new VOIP service offers its customer "an incentive not to be on competitive landline service," since it doesn't have its own landline business like rivals AT&T and Verizon.
"For years, the traditional landline companies have been great at consistently delivering one thing to their customers--a high monthly bill," said Robert Dotson, president and CEO, T-Mobile USA. "T-Mobile is now delivering the best priced home phone service in America for our existing and future customers. In addition, we are not only delivering the traditional features of a landline service, we are also including the innovative features consumers love in their more widely used mobile phones."
T-Mobile @Home is available exclusively for T-Mobile customers and will be offered at T-Mobile retail stores nationwide and online; it requires a single-line mobile plan $39.99 or higher, or any FamilyTime mobile plan $49.99 or higher.
T-Mobile @Home HiPort Wireless Router and optional VTECH cordless phone ($60)