BT today launched the world's first combined fixed and mobile phone service called BT Fusion. It's an interesting concept and might marks an important milestone in the broadband revolution which is allowing people to communicate in ways they never have before.
BT Fusion works just like a mobile phone when you are out and about, but switches automatically and seamlessly onto a BT Broadband line when you get home. That means you get all the convenience and all the features of a mobile phone but with fixed lines prices and quality.
BT Fusion can offer customers huge savings by allowing calls to UK landline numbers to be charged at BT landline rates of 5.5p for up to an hour for all off-peak calls and 3p a minute at peak times.
For example, a BT Fusion 10-minute off-peak rate mobile call from home will cost up to 95 per cent less than the same call using a typical mobile competitor package. Calls over broadband in the home means customers can make a mobile call but with the quality of a fixed-line and worry less about the signal being lost or dropping out. A recent survey of BT Broadband customer revealed that as many as 19 per cent had experienced problems with mobile coverage in the home.
It is all made possible by a special access point installed in the home Ã¢â‚¬â€œ called the BT Hub Ã¢â‚¬â€œ which uses Bluetooth wireless technology to switch the BT Fusion handset seamlessly to the broadband line Ã¢â‚¬â€œ even in mid-call. The BT hub also works as a wireless (Wi-Fi) routerÃ¢â‚¬â€œ allowing the user to connect up PCs, laptops, games consoles and printers wirelessly around the home.
Ian Livingston, CEO for BT Retail, said: "We promised to launch the world's first seamless combined fixed and mobile service and now we're doing it. The service will transform the communications landscape and bring excellent value to customers.
For the first time customers will be able to get the best of both worlds in one service Ã¢â‚¬â€œ combining the convenience and features of a mobile with fixed line prices and quality.
The cornerstone of this strategy is BT Broadband which can be wirelessly enabled Ã¢â‚¬â€œ to link up everything from your laptop, PC, games console to your home security system Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and now your mobile.
We know that many of our customers enjoy the convenience of their mobile phones when they're out and about - but switch to using a landline phone when they arrive back home to save money or because they have little or no mobile coverage. We're now delivering a world-first service that allows our customers to benefit from BT's great value landline rates with guaranteed coverage at home. You can even set the handset to work at more than one location. The launch of BT Fusion will start with approximately 400 early adopter customers, with the service being widely available for delivery in September."
Customers who want to sign up for BT Fusion ready for full roll-out can register their interest at www.bt.com/btfusion.
"BT is taking a world lead in pushing forward fixed-mobile convergence and BT Fusion will form a significant part of our growth plans."
Customers signing up to BT Fusion will get one free handset - available at launch is the BT branded Motorola v560; secondary handsets at launch will also be free of charge. Also customers will be eligible for a free BT hub (wireless base station).
Users will need to choose a mobile phone 'package' (exactly the same as when choosing a standard contract mobile phone). Customers at launch will have the following choice:
- BT Fusion 100 : offering 100 cross-network, anytime inclusive minutes: launch pricing of Ã‚Â£9.99 a month
- BT Fusion 200 : offering 200 cross-network, anytime inclusive minutes: launch pricing of Ã‚Â£14.99 a month
- Secondary subscribers will be charged a monthly subscription of Ã‚Â£9.99
Full pricing details for roll-out will be announced in September.
Calls to UK landlines originated in the home will be charged at BT landline rates of 5.5p for up to an hour at evening & weekends and 3p a minute daytime. All other types of call made in the home are charged at normal mobile rates (same as calling rates of BT Mobile Ã¢â‚¬â€œ for full details see BT Mobile Ts&Cs on www.bt.com). All calls made outside the home will be charged at normal mobile rates (same as BT Mobile).
Last but not least, BT Fusion customers will also require Broadband from BT (from Ã‚Â£17.99 a month online/with Direct Debit or add Ã‚Â£1) and a BT Line (from Ã‚Â£10.50 a month with Direct Debit or add Ã‚Â£1).
Cheers ~ Arne