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BT Fusion goes Wi-Fi

Bluetooth bites the dust for converged mobile/VoIP service

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BT has unleashed a second wave of consumer handsets for its as yet unspectacular performing Fusion converged VoIP/mobile telephone service. The new kit will let individual punters take advantage of BT's Openzone hotspots for the first time to get cheaper VoIP calls when out and about.

The Nokia 6136, Motorola A910 and Samsung P200 will be added to a line-up which at the moment comprises only the Motorola Razr, which routes calls to VoIP via Bluetooth, when within range of the Home Hub base station.

Existing subscribers will be offered a free upgrade to the Wi-Fi version of Fusion when their current contract expires.

The news marks the start of a consumer push for Fusion from BT. For the first time Fusion packages will be available on the High Street through a deal the telco has done with Phones4U. The Wi-Fi version of Fusion was made available to business customers in December.

The Wireless Cities scheme aims to have 12 of the country's biggest metropolitan centres covered by March 2008.

Extensive Wi-Fi access for Fusion should provide an interesting dilemma for mobile internet consumers, who'll be punted HSDPA more aggressively by the mobile operators as their high-speed networks flesh out. With 3 wising up to an unmetered pricing model for mobile internet, and T-mobile quietly ditching the anti-VoIP terms of use restrictions on its Web 'n' Walk tariffs, consumers look set to benefit from the ensuing price competition.

BT trotted out a horrific-sounding chimera called a "horsewoman" to back up their life-juicing claims for Fusion. Becky Whitcombe, who as well as being a human-equine hybrid apparently lives in a "teletubbies" house and flogs saddles, said: "Before I switched to BT Fusion I was missing calls and not getting messages because there’s no mobile coverage where I live. It has been fantastic on a personal level, but has also made a big difference to my business, fitting bespoke saddles for customers across the south of England."

How lovely. ®

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