Thursday, September 07, 2006

T-Mobile Can Win By Opening Up

When I read Ars Technica's report about T-Mobile's upcoming cell-to-WiFi service, this stood out:

Early reports are that consumers will only be able to use the dual-mode phone service on their home WiFi networks at first. Our sources tell us that there appears to be no such limitation either with the phones or the T-Mobile At Home service. The dual-mode phones currently being tested are able to switch seamlessly between the cell network and any WiFi network that the user has access to, including nearly 8,000 T-Mobile HotSpots and secured wireless networks.
I keep forgetting that T-Mobile has WiFi hotspots in every Starbucks - and there are a lot of those. Especially in densely-populated cities like San Francisco, where there's a Starby's on every corner, T-Mobile isn't too far away from ubiquitous wireless coverage. That means that these WiFi/cellular devices could have all sorts of IP-enabled applications, and have enough access points to make them fairly useful (with cellular as a roaming backup for voice).

If T-Mobile opened up this technology to share with any device manufacturer/cellular provider, then lots of folks could take advantage of this - and pay T-Mobile for it.

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