T-Mobile USA is expanding its WiFi offerings into the enterprise market in a move that will put the generally consumer-focused company up against larger rivals AT&T and Verizon that have significant presence in both the consumer and business segments.
T-Mobile is launching a new service called Wi-Fi Calling with MobileOffice that will allow users with T-Mobile BlackBerry devices from Research In Motion to use WiFi while in the office and have the same number as their desk phone. The service, which hooks into a private branch exchange (PBX) system, also will allow users to access the feature in other places where they can get onto a WiFi network. T-Mobile is pushing this as a way for businesses to save cellular minutes, and possibly cut out a desk phone altogether.
T-Mobile said it will price the BlackBerry Mobile Voice System with each customer individually, according to an IDG News Service article. Business that have 100 or more T-Mobile voice and data lines will get free unlimited WiFi calls on BlackBerry devices nationwide, and those with fewer than 100 lines will pay $9.99 per line, per month.
Although T-Mobile has dabbled in WiFi before--the carrier's [email protected] offering allows users to make phone calls over WiFi via their in-home network--the focus has been on the consumer side. However, the company's rivals have not been standing still when it comes to WiFi.
AT&T has long offered WiFi to both its wireless and wireline customers. And earlier this summer, Verizon Communications announced that customers of its wired FiOS and high-speed Internet services will have free access to more than 100,000 hotspots through a renewed agreement between Verizon and Boingo Wireless; the deal does not include Verizon Wireless customers though.
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