T-Mobile Hotspot @Home
The landline phone, while nowhere near extinction, is something that fewer and fewer people rely on. Where are all of your phone numbers stored? Your mobile phone, of course. How do your friends reach you? Same answer. Besides, you can’t send a text message to a landline phone.
But what if your mobile phone gets poor reception at home or the plan you are currently on doesn’t support hours of catching up with friends?
T-Mobile HotSpot @Home is a fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) service offering that allows you to make unlimited domestic calls over Wi-Fi either at home or at one of thousands of T-Mobile HotSpot locations via UMA (unlicensed mobile access). It works with several Wi-Fi enabled mobile phones from T-Mobile, including the BlackBerry Pearl 8120, which is what I used for testing.
When you place a call using the service, it starts out over the local Wi-Fi network but is then routed to T-Mobile’s network (unlike a Voice-over-IP call, which uses the Internet for the call). When you leave home or a T-Mobile hotspot, your call is seamlessly passed to the T-Mobile wireless network. Your phone even reflects the name of the network you are using.
I tested the service using the BlackBerry Pearl 8120 from Research in Motion (more on that phone in an upcoming issue). Installation was as simple as turning the phone’s Wi-Fi feature on and entering the network password. The only hiccup was at home; if someone is soaking up bandwidth, either downloading a big file or watching television over the Net, voice quality can significantly deteriorate. $9.99 per month on top of your normal monthly service fee at www.t-mobile.com.
–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm