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AT&T launches LTE-capable home phone and Internet service

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AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) is now offering a home phone and Internet service in select markets that relies on the carrier's LTE and HSPA networks. The offering is essentially a wireless-powered option for wired phone and Internet connections.

AT&T's new service works through a modem that is free costs $199 with a two-year service agreement.

AT&T is selling the service now in Baltimore, Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, Virginia, Washington D.C. and other East Coast locations, with an eye toward taking it nationwide. The service works through a modem (free with a two-year contract) that requires only a power outlet and an AT&T signal.

AT&T's new "Wireless Home Phone and Internet" service offers unlimited nationwide calls for $20 a month and Internet service starting at 10 GB for $60 per month and ranging up to 30 GB for $120 per month. If customers go over their data allotment, they are charged $10 per GB.

Interestingly, customers can also pair the service with their existing Mobile Share shared data plans. Wireless Home Phone and Internet customers can add their device for $30 a month to a Mobile Share plan with unlimited nationwide calling and 10 GB or more of shared data.

With the launch of its new Wireless Home Phone and Internet, AT&T is essentially leapfrogging Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) HomeFusion Broadband product, which Verizon launched last year. Verizon's HomeFusion Broadband, which only works on the carrier's LTE network, only supports data connections and does not offer voice calling. Interestingly, Verizon's HomeFusion Broadband service pricing is exactly the same as AT&T's: 10 GB for $60, 20 GB for $90, and 30 GB for $120.

AT&T noted its product is portable and can be used wherever the carrier provides HSPA and LTE service. The carrier said the product supplies Internet service to up to 10 devices via Wi-Fi, and can be used with customers' existing wired telephones.

To be clear, AT&T's new "Wireless Home Phone and Internet" is the latest in a long line of in-home wireless products from AT&T and other wireless carriers. For example, AT&T and other wireless carriers have long offered femtocells to wireless customers, which are essentially mini base stations that send voice and data traffic through a wireless subscriber's wired Internet connection. And AT&T, Verizon and others also sell home phone services that work over a wireless connection (AT&T calls its product the "Wireless Home Phone" and Verizon calls its product the "Wireless Home Phone Connect.")

AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega hinted at the carrier's phone and Internet modem during the carrier's second-quarter earnings conference call last week: "In the next few days, you will see us announce that we will be adding data capability which will add substantial ARPU to wireless home phones and we think that's going to drive significant ARPU growth to the phone only category in the future," he said, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.

Although AT&T already offers wired voice and Internet service, its new "Wireless Home Phone and Internet" allows the carrier to sell voice and Internet service outside its existing wired Internet service area.

For more:
- see this AT&T page

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Article updated July 30 to correct the price of the modem with a two-year contract, which is free.