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Telcos forge convergence alliance

BT shakes hands with international partners

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Leading telecoms companies are joining forces to exploit emerging markets for phones which will work on both mobile networks and fixed-line networks. BT, French group Cegetel, DoCoMo, Eurotel, Swiss and Korea Telecom are all members of the new group, called "Fixed-to-Mobile Convergence Alliance", according to the Financial Times.

BT did a deal with Vodafone in May. This provides an access point in customers' homes so that if they are making a call on a mobile within range of the box then the call will be routed over the cheaper BT fixed-line network. If they wander out of range it will switch back to the Vodafone network. They will receive one bill for all services used.

The alliance will target such services and improve interoperability between devices. Orange said it was not invited to join the group and Vodafone said it declined an offer to join. It will help counter fears that Voice over IP calls are draining revenue away from fixed-line providers. ®

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