T-Mobile to unveil wVoIP handsets soon

After a strong $4 billion showing during the recent AWS auctions, T-Mobile USA is coming out swinging with plans to launch a whole host of new services, including UMA-based wVoIP services that make use of forthcoming dual-mode handsets. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the carrier will unveil the phones early next month. UMA technology is currently the only standard for fixed-mobile convergence services, which allow a mobile user to switch from a cellular network to a WiFi network when at home, in the office or at any of T-Mobile's thousands of WiFi hotspots nationwide. T-Mobile USA, which is a unit of Deutsche Telekom declined to comment on future product announcements, probably because they, like most other AWS bidders, are still in a quiet period and cannot talk about the future use of their newly acquired spectrum. T-Mobile also announced it would soon drop spokeswoman Catherine Zeta-Jones as part of its rebranding initiative.

The dual-mode handset sector has ramped up over the past year since the dearth of such handsets were largely blamed for the slow uptake in wVoIP services like those based on UMA. Yesterday France Telecom's mobile unit, Orange announced plans to launch a dual-mode phone and Cingular said it plans to begin retailing them next year. Sprint Nextel has also indicated that its JV with cable companies including Comcast and Time Warner will also eventually yield dual-mode phones, which makes sense given the cable operators' VoIP offerings and broadband data plans.

For more on the T-Mobile rebranding initiative and new services:
- see this article from The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)

ALSO: For more on wVoIP--come to our second annual wVoIP Executive Summit in San Francisco, November 7th and 8th. Register now! Early bird registration ends Oct 13. Web site

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