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T-Mobile Offering WiFi Calling on Android Phones with UMA

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T-Mobile Offering WiFi Calling on Android Phones with UMA
October 07, 2010
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor


WiFi (News - Alert) calling on several T-Mobile phones is expected to become a reality now that the carrier is extending the service to several Android-based phones. According to an Information Week report, the supported phones will include the T-Mobile myTouch and Motorola (News - Alert) Defy with Motoblur.

T-Mobile first launched its WiFi calling in June of 2007. Since that time, the number of WiFi calls has continued to rise. The WiFi calling plan, according to T-Mobile, helps to reduce domestic and international minute usage and can save on enterprise mobility costs.

In a statement, Torrie Dorrell, vice president of connected family products and services at T-Mobile USA, noted that the company’s expansion of WiFi Calling to Android smartphones is a great innovation and part of the carrier’s ongoing initiatives to enhance indoor coverage.

This new execution of WiFiCalling technology will help T-Mobile to ensure its customers’ Android-based smartphones can keep them connected to the important people in their lives while they work, live or play, said Dorrell.

On the T-Mobile network, WiFi Calling is available on the Nokia E73 Mode, BlackBerry (News - Alert) Curve 8520, BlackBerry Bold 9700, and the new BlackBerry Curve 3G. The service for Android smartphones is powered by Kineto’s Smart WiFi application and is designed for out of the box usage. A tutorial is provided for first-time users. All voice calls and SMS messages are globally accessible from WiFi 802.11 b/g/n access points, as well as the T-Mobile network.

Phil Solis, research director of mobile networks at ABI Research (News - Alert), said that while WiFi connectivity is already built into several feature phones, offering it with Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) on smartphones is something new. T-Mobile is currently the only carrier in the U.S. using UMA. The carrier is a big supporter of WiFi in homes and hotspots, which is driving the use of UMA.

"UMA is an elegant solution to work in the short term, but it doesn't fit in with the long-term view that everything is going to be IP-based, including voice,'' Solis said. This could prove a challenge for T-Mobile when other companies are ready to drive aggressive competitive campaigns.

In other T-Mobile news, the carrier recently signed an agreement to offer the Windows Phone (News - Alert) 7. According to reports, both AT&T and T-Mobile will sell the smartphone using Microsoft’s revamped mobile operating system.

Also this week, T-Mobile  agreed to a 10-year agreement to access an underground network that is being built by Transit Wireless LLC. As a result, T-Mobile customers wanting service in subway stations will be able to use their cell phones underground.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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