Friday, February 22, 2008

T-Mobile Goes VoIP!!!

In one of the worse kept secrets in the UMA industry, on Thursday T-Mobile US announced a new “Talk Forever” fixed line home phone service. The service uses the existing UMA network infrastructure to provide fixed line VoIP service in the home.

The application is similar to Vonage, where subscribers port their fixed-line number to a new provider (previously Vonage or now T-Mobile). The subscriber gets a terminal adaptor for the home. The terminal adaptor is used to connect to the existing fixed line/cordless phone in the home and route calls over IP and broadband.

For T-Mobile, this is an extremely low cost way to drive more fixed-mobile substitution (FMS). For a variety of reasons, there continues to be consumer preference for fixed line phones in the home. A mobile-only operator would typically be locked out of providing fixed line services. Now with the flexibility and investment protection of UMA, T-Mobile is able to extend their existing mobile core network to provide fixed line VoIP.

Certainly for Vonage, this is a bit concerning. Unlimited calling plans from Vonage are $25/month. T-Mobile is dramatically undercutting the market with a $10 offer. And just recently I signed up for a flat rate fixed line service from ATT for $40/month. Even Comcast, the ‘leader’ in fixed line VoIP in the US is offering an introductory rate of $29.99/month (normally $39.99).

As pointed out in several articles, T-Mobile now offers a LOT of calling for very little money. With a $40/month mobile plan (which offers 1,000 mobile minutes, plus unlimited nights/weekends), it is possible to add unlimited mobile calling from Wi-Fi (home, office, international) for $10 (HotSpot @Home). Or for $10 add unlimited fixed line calling from home. Or bundle it all together for $60 and get more calling than one person could ever use! Is this why AT&T and Verizon Wireless launched ‘unlimited’ mobile calling plans?

PS – the service uses the Linksys WRTU54G gateway/router.

PPS – will they add a UMA-based soft mobile client as well?

Congratulations T-Mobile.


Tommy said...

they don't have a soft phone YET. But you can hack one together. I have their latest a Nokia 7510 I wired to to my PC VIA USB then used the Current Nokia PC Suite. Finally I got a blue tooth connection that supported an audio gateway profile. Poof phone 100% usable sole by my PC. It is not a true soft phone but it is as close as you can get with current available technology allowed by the operator.

Michael said...

I have a nokia E63 and want to use the UMA. Would I do the same by connecting my phone via usb and using blue tooth, or is there a certain menu to gain access?