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BT plans to introduce its Bluephone service this spring and will integrate Wi-Fi into the service within 18 months: Bluephone customers will have a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone that allows them to make and receive calls within range of a Bluetooth receiver and pay landline prices. Outside of that range, customers will use the regular cellular network for calls. BT says that it will launch the service in a few months and ultimately begin using Wi-Fi to carry the calls within the home or office.
A BT spokesman says he expects to have a dozen converged cellular/Wi-Fi devices to offer customers when the Wi-Fi-based service hits the market. That sounds a bit ambitious to me, but there have been quite a few announcements of such converged devices recently so he could be right.
I believe that Bluephone will be based on Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA), a method for using Wi-Fi to carry calls when in range of an access point but relying on the GSM backend network for functions like billing. More on UMA here.
Posted by nancyg at February 16, 2005 3:02 PM
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