T-Mobile UMA Service Expanding
Mid-June launch, landline phone option being cooked up...
Late last year T-Mobile launched their "Hotspot@Home"
UMA service in the Seattle region. UMA technology allows users to "seamlessly"
switch between traditional wireless voice networks and Wi-Fi VoIP if you're using a T-Mobile-operated hotspot. Users must have a traditional mobile plan of $40, and last we checked, could only use the Nokia 6136 or the Samsung SGH-T709. Users then pay $20 a month for unlimited U.S. calls via a provided T-Mobile hotspot with a primary phone, with additional phones costing $5/month.
Early impressions were mixed, some saying (Glenn Fleishman, specifically) the overall quality was good, but the network hand-off functionality needed work
. The Wall Street Journal
today reports that those problems have been resolved, and the service is set for broader deployment in mid-June. There's some changes in the works, according to the report:
"One feature that might be added later to the T-Mobile router but not in time for the national launch, people familiar with the matter say, is the ability to plug in ordinary landline phones, which would make T-Mobile a direct competitor to landline phone providers like Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc."
You can find additional analysis at Wi-Fi Networking News
| |PolarBear03The bear formerly known as aaron8301Premium
My experience I agree with those above; $20 to NOT use minutes on their towers... doesn't really make sense... since you already have to buy a special phone to use the service, it should be free, or at least in the area of a couple of bucks. On the other hand, consider this: You can make unlimited calls to anywhere in the us. Qwest here charges an extra $20/month for that on top of your regular phone service. My Vonage service charges almost $30.
Anyway, one thing this report (and all reports) fail to mention is that you can use the service on ANY wi-fi connection, secured or not. You simply enter the security key on your phone to connect to a secure wi-fi network. I use it in my home, on my OWN router; I use it at all of my friends houses on their wireless routers, and if I am in an area with no service, I can usually get close to a house and 'borrow' someone's router to make a call.
In the beginning, hand-offs between router and cell tower were impossible for me. It would simply drop the call. Now, I can walk out to the street and pick up cell tower, and walk back inside to the office to pick up router, back and forth while on a call, no problem. Sometimes, there is a half-second cut-out where I must ask the person I am talking to to repeat themself. But usually, not a problem at all.
I originally got the service because there is no cell service at my house, and it's been my main contact number for years. I will be moving soon to a large city, and I would like a PDA, but I don't know if I want to give up this Nokia!
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