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January 8, 2007
UK telco BT unveiled the first three wifi-enabled handsets for its fixed mobile converged service, Fusion, on Monday.
The Nokia 6136, Motorola A910 and Samsung P200 will be the first devices to be made available to consumers this spring, allowing users to make VoIP calls over their home wifi connection or BT Openzone hotspots.
The operator has struck a deal with high street retailer Phones4u, to make the Fusion service available in over 400 high street stores across the UK.
BT intends to wifi-up 12 UK city centres with Openzone hotspots to build the appeal of the service. To add further incentive the Fusion tariff will allow subscribers to make four minutes of wifi-based calls for the price of one of their bundled cellular minutes.
Subscribers will also be able to surf the web for free and send emails at wifi hotspots using the handsets.
Ovum analyst, Carrie Pawsey, believes the addition of wifi functionality could give the offering a much needed boost.
“To date BT Fusion has not been successful with less than 50,000 subscribers,” Pawsey said. “However, the announcement today of its wifi Fusion for consumers is a step in the right direction for BT. Not only does it allow Fusion to extend into the wider Openzone network but it is also an opportunity for the operator to change its tariffs, marketing and positioning of Fusion which were previously inhibiting its appeal.”
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