T-Mobile offers landline VoIP

* T-Mobile enter the landline market with VoIP service targeting its cellular customers

Last week, T-Mobile added to its HotSpot @Home portfolio a VoIP-based wireline service called Talk Forever Home Phone, released in Seattle and Dallas. The service lets customers make unlimited calls from their home phone. T-Mobile's HotSpot @Home portfolio was launched nationwide in June 2007, when the company rolled out a Wi-Fi-based add-on service for its mobile subscribers (priced at $10 a month). The latest service also marks T-Mobile's entry into the landline market with a VoIP service targeting T-Mobile cellular customers who have a broadband connection and who still want to use a landline voice service at home. The HotSpot @Home service provides unlimited mobile calling from any T-Mobile Hotspot and open Wi-Fi networks - including home and office-based Wi-Fi routers connected to the Internet.

Last week, T-Mobile added to its HotSpot @Home portfolio a VoIP-based wireline service called Talk Forever Home Phone, released in Seattle and Dallas. The service lets customers make unlimited calls from their home phone. T-Mobile's HotSpot @Home portfolio was launched nationwide in June 2007, when the company rolled out a Wi-Fi-based add-on service for its mobile subscribers (priced at $10 a month). The latest service also marks T-Mobile’s entry into the landline market with a VoIP service targeting T-Mobile cellular customers who have a broadband connection and who still want to use a landline voice service at home. The HotSpot @Home service provides unlimited mobile calling from any T-Mobile Hotspot and open Wi-Fi networks - including home and office-based Wi-Fi routers connected to the Internet.

The Talk Forever service will compete with other VoIP services supplied by Vonage, AT&T CallVantage, and Verizon’s VoiceWing. Like other VoIP services, Talk Forever includes a wireless VoIP router that connects to a DSL or cable modem, with a built-in gateway and connecter for traditional home phones. Users can keep their existing phone number with the new service. Unlike other VoIP services typically priced at $25, the T-Mobile service is priced at $10 a month but with one caveat: to get the reduced price, landline subscribers must also buy a qualifying T-Mobile wireless plan. A per line activation fee and two-year agreement are required, and a $200 early cancellation fee and other upfront and monthly charges may apply.

For T-Mobile subscribers like Larry (who already uses the HotSpot @Home service to reduce chargeable mobile minutes when at home and in the office), the $10 monthly fee is an attractive alternative to other landline VoIP services. And while the HotSpot @Home service does generally provide good voice quality using a dual mode wireless handset with Wi-Fi connectivity, it is subject to dropped calls on occasion so a landline alternative is still a good idea for users who aren’t quite ready to cut the cord. Although T-Mobile hasn’t yet disclosed plans for a nationwide rollout of the Talk Forever service, we will watch with interest to see if the newest landline VoIP competitor will make a competitive dent in the traditional voice service market or against VoIP alternatives.

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