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T-Mobile: The @Home Service

June 29, 2007 in Wireless Industry News

I can’t remember the last time I heard the term “@Home” for Comcast’s cable internet service, but it appears that a new agreement between Comcast and T-Mobile could be the start of something big. iPhone big.

T-Mobile's new @Home service provides a fake landline for $10 bucks a month.

T-Mobile’s new @Home service provides a fake landline for $10 bucks a month.

Simply put, the @Home service is the ultimate conversationalist’s dream: the ability to talk for free over w-fi (through VoIP) for as long as you want, with a seamless transition to GSM if you move out of range. Best of all, if you start a free call over wi-fi, it’ll remain free for the duration of the call. (this also applies in the opposite direction – if you start a call on GSM you’ll be billed for the entire call)

It’s interesting that T-Mobile is fronting this whole service, because on one hand it’s in the none-too-enviable position of being sandwiched between two huge wireless giants (AT&T and Verizon), and on the other, it owns an entire chain of T-Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspots across the country. I figure big T has to start taking risks or end up selling out to AT&T eventually.

At any rate, the @Home service offers a couple of benefits:

  • It’s cheap ($20 bucks a month on top of a wireless plan, $10 for a limited time)
  • You can have 1 phone number for your landline and cell phone.
  • You get a free wireless router ($50 minus $50 rebate).
  • A seamless transition from wi-fi to GSM and vice versa

…and a couple of problems:

  • The phones aren’t free. You can choose between the Nokia 6086 or Samsung t409 ($50 each with 2-year agreement or $170 each with no commitment)
  • No handset variety. For now. T-Mobile claims all phones will support this service in the future
  • Handset delay in finding wi-fi networks – according to the reviewer, up to 3 minutes. Ouch!
  • The phones suck. Did I mention they’re not free?

Replacing your landline for $10 seems to be a pretty good deal, but being stuck with 1 of two phones isn’t exaclty my cup of tea. Still, the service does pique my interest, and I’d certainly like to know where this is headed.

Source: “T-Mobile’s Newest HotSpot: Right @Home” – BusinessWeek Online

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