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T-Mobile Responds To The IPhone

Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:24 pm

Free VOIP calls
Fair use

Here’s the basic idea. If you’re willing to pay $10 a month on top of a regular T-Mobile voice plan, you get a special cellphone. When you’re out and about, it works like any other phone; calls eat up your monthly minutes as usual.

But when it’s in a Wi-Fi wireless Internet hot spot, this phone offers a huge bargain: all your calls are free. You use it and dial it the same as always — you still get call hold, caller ID, three-way calling and all the other features — but now your voice is carried by the Internet rather than the cellular airwaves.

There’s one big limitation to all this freeness: these phones can’t get onto any hot spot that require you to log in on a Web page (to enter a credit card number, for example). Unfortunately, this restriction rules out most airports and many hotel rooms.

There’s one exception — or, rather, 8,500 of them: T-Mobile’s archipelago of hot spots at Starbucks, Borders and other public places. In these places you encounter neither the fee nor the Web-page sign-in that you would encounter if you were using a laptop; the words “T-Mobile Hot Spot” simply appear at the top of your screen, and you can start making free calls.

Hmmmm looks like a nice way to get more people in Starbucks  Silly

T-Mobile’s billing system isn’t smart enough to notice handoffs between Wi-Fi and cellular networks. So each call is billed according to where it begins. You can start a call at home, get in your car, drive away and talk for free until the battery’s dead.

The opposite is also true, however; if you begin a call on T-Mobile’s cell network and later enter a Wi-Fi hot spot, the call continues to eat up minutes. If HotSpot @Home catches on, therefore, the airwaves will reverberate with people coming home and saying, “Hey, can I call you right back?”

That's kinda a bummer in a way...

At the moment, you have a choice of only two phones: the Nokia 6086 and Samsung t409. Both of these are small basic flip phones (both $50 after rebate and with two-year commitment). They sound terrific; over Wi-Fi, in fact, they produce the best-sounding cellphone calls you’ve ever made. But the screens are small and coarse, and the features limited. Fortunately, T-Mobile intends to bring the HotSpot @Home feature to many other phones in the coming months.

The Wi-Fi sucks power, too; these phones get 6.5 hours of talk time on the cell network, but only 4 hours over Wi-Fi.

That'll change if HotSpot @Home catches on. People will want to have their iTunes, email, and calls all in one package.
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RE: T-Mobile Responds To The IPhone

Fri Jul 06, 2007 1:30 am

People are buying iPhones because it's trendy. This isn't going to detract anyone willing to spend $600 on a phone that really isn't that special to begin with.
Posts: 505
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2006 3:06 pm

RE: T-Mobile Responds To The IPhone

Fri Jul 06, 2007 2:07 am

The technology T-Mobile launched is called UMA. I believe that in future it will be quite spread, but right know there's a lack of end-user terminals...
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RE: T-Mobile Responds To The IPhone

Fri Jul 06, 2007 3:18 am

Quoting FriendlySkies (Reply 1):
People are buying iPhones because it's trendy.

Some probably do. Most just want a phone for themselves that's more fun than aggravation.

The T-Mobile offer isn't bad at all - the old billing models are outdated, and this is a good step into the right direction. And no, the iPhone at least currently wouldn't work with this new mode until it gets a VoIP client one way or another...
Topic Author
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Joined: Sun May 23, 2004 2:18 pm

RE: T-Mobile Responds To The IPhone

Fri Jul 06, 2007 5:30 am

Reading a bit on T-Mobile today, they only have about 11% of the US market share, compared to 26% from AT&T. The deal isn't bad, and the fact that I could use this phone from Germany just makes the deal pretty damn nice. Really, I see T-Mobile's approach as one pitting function before features. It seems like an approach that can gain market share, or at least make some profit, but they're going to need to integrate this technology into more T-Mobile phones, esp. Treo and/or iPhone type phones.
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:07 am

RE: T-Mobile Responds To The IPhone

Fri Jul 06, 2007 7:33 am

BT offer this in the UK under BT mobile, its very good but only a few handsets can handle this.
Added bonus however is that BT mobiles work at HOME as well as in BT openzone hotspots.
Heathrow has been described as the only building site to have its own airport.
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Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:56 pm

RE: T-Mobile Responds To The IPhone

Fri Jul 06, 2007 10:40 am

Quoting FriendlySkies (Reply 1):
People are buying iPhones because it's trendy.

How is it 'trendy'?? It just came out!!

I'm sticking to my Sidekick 2 as I have never had problems with it. I like the services it comes with it. Works for me.
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