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T-Mobile USA takes home phone service nationwide

Date: 7/1/2008 3:19:57 PM

T-Mobile USA on Wednesday said it will expand its home-phone replacement service as it looks to turn up the pressure on landline carriers.

The nations fourth-largest wireless carrier launched "@ Home" in two markets in late February as a cheap alternative: $10 a month on top of a T-Mobile wireless plan. It will launch the service nationwide in July. T-Mobile, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG (DT), hopes the service will encourage consumers to "cut the cord" with their traditional service providers.

"Its a landline replacement play for our customers," said Joe Sims, the general manager and vice president of T-Mobile.

The trials in Dallas and Seattle were successful, according to Sims, who said that more consumers were willing to recommend the service than any of its other products. Nearly all the customers - 97% - cancelled their home phone service after using @ Home.

T-Mobile is targeting families not yet willing to give up their central "hub" or phone line and go completely wireless, Sims said.

The service requires a $50 router that customers can plug any phone into. The router sends the phone call back to the network through the customers normal Internet access. The router itself has Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing it to work with T-Mobiles Hotspot @Home service. Under the service, subscribers with special phones can switch between the cellular and Wi-Fi networks.

The added Wi-Fi capability is part of the wider use of Wi-Fi among carriers. T-Mobile has been aggressively pushing the technology, which includes dual-band phones, but it isnt the only one. AT&T Inc. (T) offers free and pay Wi-Fi service through Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) locations, and considers it one leg of its service portfolio.

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