T-Mobile USA introduces nationwide UMA service

T-Mobile USA announced its long-awaited T-Mobile HotSpot AtHome service, which it has been testing in Seattle for the past few months. The service allows T-Mobile USA subscribers with UMA-enabled cellular phones and a router to seamlessly hand-off mobile calls from the cellular network to the WiFi network when at home. The 8,500 T-Mobile HotSpots at Starbucks across the country will also allow users to automatically switch to WiFi when in range.

The service works with the Nokia 6086 and the Samsung t409, which each costing about $50 with a two-year contract and a $40 calling plan. The unlimited calling via WiFi is an additional $10 a month. Walter Piecyk at Pali Research tested the service in New York and found the handoff between T-Mobile's GSM network and WiFi to work flawlessly. 

"We believe the proliferation of phones like this could lead to significant impact on the average revenue per unit (ARPU) of wireless operators," noted Piecyk in a research note. "Off-loading minutes onto WiFi would be particularly appealing to heavy users that could lower the cellular portion of their bill."

For more on T-Mobile's new fixed-mobile convergence offering:
- read this press release