T-Mobile’s @Home service promises to do what Vonage did before it, offer families choices for their landline service. The mobile phone company also plans to offer this choice at an exceedingly low cost — only $10 per month.
If you own T-Mobile’s version of the Blackberry Curve (or any other HotSpot enabled phone) then you may have already seen this concept in action with T-Mobile HotSpot @Home over WiFi, where users can make unlimited WiFi calls. Now, with this new service, customers will be offered unlimited nationwide calling from their home phone starting July 2.
But of course, nothing is as easy as it sounds. It’s not that there’s a catch, but there are a few things to consider.
For one, you must already be a T-Mobile customer. If you are, then you can add on the @Home service to your T-Mobile account. But only qualifying wireless plan customers (potentially any $39.99 plan would qualify) can get the service. Also, the @Home user, like the Vonage user, must already have a broadband Internet connection. The service uses a wireless router, that costs $49.99 from T-Mobile with a two-year service agreement.
On the easy side of things, customers get to keep their existing numbers, and there’s no need to use a special VOIP phone. A traditional phone will do.
Users will receive traditional landline features such as call waiting, caller ID, three-way conferencing, voicemail, call forwarding, but they will also get wireless service addons like CallerTunes (ringback tones).
Considering the battle between the ISPs and the phone companies with these bundled services nowadays, it’s somewhat refreshing to see a new model enter into the fray. Many phone companies already bundle home services with mobile services, but this is the first to offer it the other way around. It’ll be interesting to watch how other mobile companies react — especially to the price. Even with the router cost and the two-year lock in, the odds are in T-Mobile’s favor. The biggest question that remains is whether the service is actually any good. Give me a couple of weeks, and I’ll have an answer for you.