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BT confirms return to mass market mobile

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BT has well and truly thrown its hat back into the mobile telecoms ring confirming today that it has teamed up with T-Mobile to offer a new service aimed at families.

BT Mobile Home Plan is the telco's first major step back into the mobile mass market since it flogged its mobile arm MMO2 almost two years ago. The company is soft-launching the service RSN, with the big splash coming sometime in the Autumn.

As part of the new service, punters will be able to make "quick" calls from their mobiles to their land lines for free. According to BT research, people phone home on average five times a week and most of those calls last for two minutes or less.

BT reckons the "family" market has been forgotten. With the convergence of fixed line and mobile, BT hopes to put that right signing up around 100,000 punters by next year, and a million by the end of 2005.

In a statement BT Retail chief exec Pierre Danon, said: "Our aim is convergence and for that we need a mobile operation, but we don't need to own a network.

"With BT Mobile Home Plan, a sector of the community which probably already has a relationship with BT as a land line provider - families - can now also get all their mobiles under the same roof.

"Parents can have the peace of mind which comes from knowing your son or daughter can phone home any time for free, virtually regardless of how much they have used the phone that month." he said.

However, the move has already been dismissed by mobile giant Vodafone. The Independent quotes Vodafone boss, Sir Christopher Gent, as saying that BT's re-entry into the mobile mass market posed little threat to the giant mobileco.

"With regard to BT, you'd have thought they'd learnt their lesson from their last attempt at doing mobile - but never mind," he told the paper.

Separately, BT is to begin trials of a new mobile service that will enable people to use their phones at 'bluetooth sites', such as BT Centre, whereby calls will be routed over the fixed network rather than the GSM mobile network. This, claims BT, will mean that users will benefit from cheaper and clearer calls. ®

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