British Telecom Offers Consumers Converged Fixed/Mobile Device

Where WiFi has led converged devices in the workplace, Bluetooth is leading in the home: BT’s Fusion (formerly Bluephone) project has been in test markets for some time. The Bluephone is a mobile phone which uses a GSM network outside the home, but has the ability to seamlessly handoff to a home network hub which is backhauled by DSL. The hub also is a WiFi router. What makes the Bluephone such a natural for BT, is that they own the fixed network, but are just an MVNO on the mobile side. Therefore, any technology that helps move customer’s calls off the mobile network onto their own copper saves BT usage fees that they must otherwise pay mobile network operator Vodafone. It also increases the value of DSL, increases the loyalty of customers through bundling, and can improve network coverage in the home. Despite so many “experts” opinion that Bluetooth is dead, it used in this case because of its characteristics that aren’t matched in any other current wireless technology: adequate range and speed and low battery consumption. (British Telecom is a consulting client of my firm, The Kerton Group). Update by Mike: Unfortunately, the fine print on this offering (years later than promised) suggests that there’s very little in it to benefit consumers. It really sounds more like jumping on the “convergence” bandwagon just for the sake of being able to jump up and down about convergence.

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