T-Mobile launched its HotSpot@Home across the U.S today, entering a new era in Fixed-Mobile convergence (Cellular-WiFi convergence). For an additional US$19.99 a month over any voice plan of at least a US$39.99, you can make unlimited calls on any of T-Mobile’s 7,000 WiFi hotspots or on your home WiFi network. HotSpot@Home is available only on two phones: Samsung SGH-t409 and Nokia 6086. T-Mobile sells them for US$49.99 (with contract).
These phones can seamlessly switch between the cellular network and WiFi network. Say you get a call on the way home. If cellular coverage is spotty in your home, the phone will automatically switch the call through the home WiFi network when you get home. HotSpot@Home uses a technology called Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA), which allows the phone to connect to the cellular radio network through an IP access point (e.g. WiFi).
There have been reports of high battery drain on the Samsung SGH-t409 that was used in the limited trial launched last year. However, a reliable source who tried HotSpot@Home last year says that the battery drain is not very high and the new Samsung SGH-t409 has improved battery usage. Of course, expect to find higher battery drain than for a regular cell phone.
This should be a great offer for:
- Cord-cutters looking to discard the landline phone connection.
- Those with indoor cellular coverage problems.
- Those who make a lot of calls from home and want to be reached at a single number anytime, anywhere.
This will be a great offer for some customers, and for T-Mobile because they don’t have a landline partner in the U.S., yet has an extensive WiFi network. This will be a great offer for some customers, and for T-Mobile because of extensive WiFi network and lack of a landline partner. I predict that it will be big blow to Vonage and other Cable/DSL based VoIP providers.