Friday, January 21, 2011

Samsung Vibrant (Galaxy S) to get Wi-Fi Calling

The long awaited  firmware update for T-Mobile's Samsung Vibrant (Galaxy S) phone should start today, according to comments made by Cole Brodman at T-Mobile's Investor Day conference yesterday.

With more than 1 million units in the field, this is a huge push for Wi-Fi Calling.

Here's a link to the original article from PC Mag.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

T-Mobile: The Wi-Fi Calling Carrier!

At T-Mobile's investor relations day in New York, new CEO Philip Humm, CTO Neville Ray and CMO Cole Brodman made this presentation.  While there are many fascinating facts, for those of us at the Smart Wi-Fi blog, we were drawn to slide 54.  Given the (moderate) controversy about  T-Mobile and femtocells this week, I think we know one thing for sure:

T-Mobile is the Wi-Fi Calling Carrier!

Or said another way, it's unlikely that T-Mobile will drop Wi-Fi Calling in favor of femtocells.  They may choose to add femtocells to their coverage portfolio, but one might want to ask why?

Slide 41 - "Wi-Fi coverage to bolster in-home coverage and broadband"
Slide 44 - "Wi-Fi provides improved coverage and offloads capacity"
Slide 54 - "Broad portfolio across all Android and BlackBerry smartphones"

T-Mobile Femtocells: Yes, No, Maybe

Earlier this week Michelle Donegan at Light Reading reported that an unnamed source at the operator confirmed that "the carrier will have 3G femtocells as part of its product portfolio in 2011".

As one might expect, the post was light on details - there was no timeframe and no vendors because T-Mobile was 'still in the process of selecting them.'

Then today, Kevin Fitchard at Connected Planet posted that "T-Mobile USA has no plans to offer a femtocell and will continue to focus on its dual-mode Wi-Fi fixed mobile convergence strategy," adding "at least that's what we're hearing from T-Mobile."

I think the answer is clear:  a definite maybe.

It's a blog, so let's speculate:  Why T-Mobile would want to offer a femtocell:
Everyone else is.  ATT, VZW, Sprint all have a femtocell, they don't want to be left out.  Undoubtedly there are T-Mobile customers who would be willing to pay for a femtocell to get better coverage at home.

Why T-Mobile wouldn't want to offer a femtocell:
It's not at all clear that people want a femtocell service - especially if they have to pay for it.  Of course, some do, but recall that earlier this year the Femto Forum announced that there were 'more femtocells in the US than macro cell towers'.  They pegged the number at 350,000 units.

Let's do some math.  Between the three largest carriers in the US, servicing some 230,000,000 subscribers, they have managed to sell (or give away) 350,000 femtocells - or about 0.1%.  No wonder 2010 was the 'year of the femtocell', or was it 2009, or 2008..., or maybe it will be 2011.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile seems to be rocking the Smart Wi-Fi.  It's part of their hottest selling '4G' phones the MyTouch 4G and Google G2.  Plus with Wi-Fi installed in an estimated 50,000,000 homes in the US, Smart Wi-Fi has a HUGE head start when it comes to installed base.

Monday, January 10, 2011

T-Mobile Launches Motorola Cliq 2 with Wi-Fi Calling

Somehow I manged to squeeze in to the Motorola stand at CES last week.

The stand was jam packed with people there to see the new Motorola tablet, zoom.

But equaly popular were Motorola's lineup of Android phones, including the Cliq2.

The phone I found shows T-Mobile's Wi-Fi Calling app pre-loaded on the desktop.

Great news for T-Mobile and Wi-Fi Calling enthusiasts.