September 28, 2006

T-Mobile to launch wVoIP dual-mode handsets

Attached ImageT-Mobile USA has plans to launch a whole host of new services, including UMA-based wVoIP services that make use of forthcoming dual-mode handsets.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, T-Mo will unveil the phones early next month. Wow!

UMA technology is currently the only standard for fixed-mobile convergence services, which allow a mobile user to switch from a cellular network to a WiFi network when at home, in the office or at any of T-Mobile's thousands of WiFi hotspots nationwide. It seems T-Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, has declined to comment on future product announcements, probably because like most other AWS bidders they are still in a "quiet period" and can't talk about the future use of their newly acquired spectrum.

The dual-mode handset sector is apparently picking up this year. In the past, the lack of such handsets were largely blamed for the slow uptake in wVoIP services like those based on UMA.

In related news, Cingular said it plans to begin retailing dual-mode phones next year. Sprint Nextel has also indicated that its joint venture with cable companies including Comcast and Time Warner will also eventually yield dual-mode phones, which makes sense given the cable operators' VoIP offerings and broadband data plans.