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Old 01-30-2007, 01:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by clang
d) Can all the newer phones connect to a wireless broadband signal? I have wireless broadband in my house, would my phone automatically switch from the cellular network to the broadband network whenever it picked up the wireless broadband signal?
Just to add a bit more on this, this feature is referred to as UMA, which is in tests with the T-Mobile market in select areas (I think Seattle right now mainly); not only does it require a handset with WiFi, the handset must also know how to handle a UMA handoff to a wireless access point - which is also UMA enabled. Right now 2 devices are being tested with a custom WiFi router that I hear is a D-Link w/custom T-Mobile firmware.

Wireless-Watch T-Mobile UMA in Seattle

The point here is multifold:

- having just WiFi is not enough, tons of phones have WiFi. You *can* use VOIP client(s) that will work that way, put it's not a true handoff like the UMA technology.

- the carrier has to support this (access point, handset, service enablement, etc.) and as far as I can tell, only T-Mobile is working on it. Basically this is a loss-leader for any carrier, as it gives a user "free minutes" on their WiFi link so to speak. Hence T-Mo charging $20 for the service (going on marketing here, I don't live in Seattle so haven't tried any of this).

Of course this is all about voice service; it would be really interesting if UMA handled the BlackBerry data services somehow in the same fashion, but I can't even begin to guess how they'd do it...
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