T-Mobile Testing Wi-Fi / Cellular Hand-Over
Published on: 2nd May 2007
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
T Mobile USA is reported to be planning a national launch of a service which would enable customers to hop onto T Mobile Wi Fi hotspots when in range. Today's issue of the Wall Street Journal reports that the service known as Hotspot at Home has been in trial in Seattle for a few months and the carrier is ready to roll it out nationwide as early as mid June people familiar with the matter told the newspaper.
The devices which currently work with the service are supplied by Nokia and Samsung.
In the trial, customers pay a premium of US$20 per month for the service, and then their handsets will hand-over to a Wi-Fi point when in range, with no disruption to the call or data service. The news report says that T-Mobile has had some teething troubles with the seamless handover between cellular and Wi-Fi, but the operator expects to fix these prior to the national launch.
T-Mobile USA declined to comment on its launch of the service.
Frank Hanzlik, managing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance, a trade group told the newspaper that the biggest opportunity might lie not with consumers, but businesses, since people spend so much time in their offices, where cellphone service can be weak. "I think that enterprises are going to drive this trend aggressively," Mr. Hanzlik said. "That's where the low hanging fruit is." Companies like Cisco Systems Inc. and SpectraLink Corp. have already been pushing sales of Wi-Fi handsets to businesses, though they don't double as cellphones.
T-Mobile already has around 8,000 Wi-Fi hotspots around the USA."