There will always be an England. BT will begin offering converged fixed-mobile (FMC) services to large enterprise customers in the UK and several other countries. Employees in businesses which sign up for the service will be able to use one phone for mobile and office calls. The service is an application of BT's 21st Century Network (21CN), a next-generation network being rolled out in the UK and which is set to expand to global markets as well.
The new service is called Enterprise FMC and it will begin customer trials later this year. Note that BT already offers a consumer and small-business FMC service called Fusion. That service, too, allows users to use one handset for fixed and mobile calls and it offers one bill for both. Subscribers to Fusion may choose from two Motorola handsets on service, enabling GSM voice calls to be routed through the BT Broadband connection in the home via UMA technology. Wireless connectivity between the broadband and GSM networks is provided by Bluetooth and new GSM/WiFi handsets will be introduced later this year to allow BT to offer WiFi connectivity as well.
The new enterprise service will become commercially available in the UK in early 2007, said Steven Evans, BT's chief of wireless broadband and future products. "It will be the first big new service on the back of 21CN," said Evans. "The elements we want for the service are going to be ready by then."
"We will have dual-mode handsets linking with Vodafone's GSM network," added Evans. He commented that BT expects the service to be attractive to customers who are concerned about rising mobile costs but who want to provide their employees with more flexibility. "There will be people leaving their mobile operators," he said.
For more on BT's converged service:
- see Laura Stotler's TMCnet report
PLUS: T-Mobile bundles unlimited WiFi and unlimited GPRS/EDGE for $29.95 per month for voice subscribers.T-Mobile Web site.