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2/21/2008
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T-Mobile Tests Mobile Service To Replace Home Phone Service

T-Mobile will test an Internet calling plan designed to replace consumers' home phone service in Dallas and in Seattle.

Another piece of T-Mobile's rapidly unfolding strategy surfaced Thursday with reports that the mobile phone service provider will test an Internet calling plan designed to replace consumers' home wireline-based phone service. The tests will be carried out in Dallas and in Seattle near T-Mobile's U.S. headquarters.

The tests are in addition to T-Mobile's announcement earlier this week that it will offer complete wireless plans for $100 a month that include unlimited nationwide calling, text messaging, and data access. The unit of Germany's Deutsche Telekon has already been offering a Wi-Fi based calling service called HotSpot @Home.

And, still to be announced is the firm's deployment of its massive, nationwide Advanced Wireless Services (ACS). The rollout of ACS, originally scheduled for deployment last year, is expected soon and is likely to serve as the foundation of most if not all of T-Mobile's wireless services. T-Mobile, the fourth largest U.S. mobile phone service, utilizes the GSM standard.

The idea of using a mobile phone service like GSM to handle wireline and mobile calls is not entirely new. Last month, wireless infrastructure provider Ericsson and handset Brightstar unveiled a GSM-based approach utilizing various wireless schemes including landline, Wi-Fi, and cell phone service. Called Least Cost Routing, the approach turns fixed-to-mobile calls into mobile-to-mobile calls. By using existing wireless networks, the handsets can trim costs normally associated with fixed wireline infrastructures. Brightstar said users can operate several devices in parallel, including landline phones, fax machines, and Web-based devices.

According to a report in Thursday's Wall Street Journal, subscribers to the new home-based T-Mobile service must purchase an Internet router for $50 and then pay a monthly fee of $10 for unlimited local and long-distance telephoning. Phones using the standard RJ-11 jacks can be connected to the T-Mobile router.

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