T-Mobile USA is planning a nationwide launch this summer of cellphones that can roam on Wi-Fi hotspots to improve reception and save on monthly cellular minutes, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ said the Bellevue-based carrier is ready to roll it out nationwide as early as mid-June.
I had heard this timing as well, although it had surprised me a bit. From what I’d been hearing from people trying out the service here, it’s been difficult to use. So it will be interesting to see if they say how successful the trial has been.
Here’s the deal: In the trial, customers pay $20 a month for unlimited talking over a Wi-Fi network in homes or in coffee shops, where T-Mobile provides Wi-Fi HotSpot service.
The most logical reason why T-Mobile is interested in providing the service is because it encourages people to drop their landlines if they get great reception indoors at little additional cost.
Also, the company benefits financially. Getting people to use Wi-Fi frees some space on the company’s cell network. And people are essentially paying for part of their own transmission — over the cable or DSL connection that the home Wi-Fi network uses. Little did you know that one of the carrier’s biggest costs is the fee associated with sending the call from a cell site to a phone switch.