Without much fanfare, BT is now offering WiFi as part of its Fusion WiFi for Business, which the company aims at small businesses rather than consumers. Commentators make a point that this is the "converged" service which many thought BT should have offered initially (the company instead try to go with a Bluetooth version based on UMA). The new service will be made available with the Nokia 6136 and Motorola A910 handsets, and Samsung's P200 to follow in January.
We note that BT, probably in anticipation that most users will be using their handsets to surf the Web and access email, is throwing in 20 MB per month worth of GPRS data access for free. The rates are also reasonable: 5 pence for all UK fixed line calls, 15 pence for calls to BT mobiles, or 25 pence for calls to other UK mobiles. Each call can last for up to an hour.
The new WiFi fusions service is part of a larger plan: BT already operates some 2,000 Openzone hotspots at airports, railway stations, and hotels. The company has plans to build a first phase of 12 Wireless Cities by the end of March 2007. The upshot: Most of the UK's major city centers will soon offer WiFi coverage with Openzone access.