BT launches converged fixed/mobile phone service

BT's converged fixed/mobile phone service -- called Bluephone during development -- has been launched. BT Fusion, as it is now known, operates as a mobile phone outside the house, and uses a Bluetooth base station within the house, to switch calls over a BT Broadband link.

Future plans include a fashionable Motorola RAZR handset, instead of the current v560 handset, and Wi-Fi support within the year. The basics of Bluephone have been well known for some time, but the launch filled in details of pricing, and the future roadmap.

One limitation that cropped up is the fact that it is only available to BT Broadband subscribers. This is for commercial reasons, as there is no technical reason why those with other broadband providers couldn't be connected.

For £9.99 (AU$23.7) a month, users get a mobile with 100 free minutes, which can be used in the house for BT's normal landline rates. For £14.99, users will get 200 free minutes. Outgoing calls to landlines are the same as with a BT landline, but calls to mobiles, and all incoming calls, are charged at mobile rates. Each call is billed at the rate on which it started, instead of per-minute, so it may pay to start a long call before leaving the house.

Secondary subscribers pay £9.99 for another handset, and share the same free minutes package. Up to three handsets can use the service at any time, and the subscriber's landline is also always available. Fusion handsets can also be used on a friend's hub, once a PIN number is entered: "We can see this becoming an ecosystem," said Steve Andrews, group chief of mobility and convergence at BT.

The current version of Fusion is aimed at consumers, not business, but only 400 will be sold until the full roll-out in September, when Fusion will be sold to BT broadband subscribers. The price includes a free handset and Bluetooth hub - which also includes a router and a Wi-Fi base station.

"It's just a start," said Andrews. "There's built in Wi-Fi [in the hub], which lays the foundation for future services." With Wi-Fi already in the hub, a Wi-Fi version (which we found out about earlier this year) would only need decent handsets, which are coming from Nokia by the end of the year. Future services on Fusion will include converged voice and email messaging, as well as IM support.

The Wi-Fi version could be made to roam to BT's Openzone hotspots, and eventually to guest WLANs in offices. Andrews promised a business-friendly Enterprise Fusion service, but gave few details, although it appears Enterprise Fusion may not use UMA, the standard that builds Wi-Fi and Bluetooth into mobile phone services, but does not open up the full Internet to users (read Limping mobile standard gets Wi-Fi pick-me-up).

"They're obviously ditching UMA," said analyst Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis. "The business service will be based on an Internet-connected IP PBX."

"Fusion is quite a good brand name for a converged service," said Bubley. "I imagine all the world's operators are currently busy thumbing through their thesauruses, but BT's got the first pick."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Judge
Show Comments



Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?