BT's convergence con-Fusion

BT's convergence con-Fusion

Summary: Convergence has great promise for telecommunications, but BT's new Fusion handset leaves most of that potential untouched

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TOPICS: IT Employment
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The launch of BT's Fusion handset has been widely trailed as an industry-changing event. At last, a mobile phone that works at home without touching the expensive mobile networks - one, moreover, that works over broadband. And everyone knows that broadband telephony is very cost effective, right?

Not in the world of BT, where Fusion calls from home to a landline cost as much as they do from any landline. Calls from home to a non-landline number - mobiles, 0800, 0845? Full mobile pricing.

Let's look at this for a second. In the worst case - you calling another Fusion phone when both ends are at their homes means paying mobile rates plus the monthly fee for a VoIP. What's more the call is being carried over a broadband service you're both already paying for - and, since that has to be BT Broadband, you're paying for fixed line rental as well. In other words, BT has got you to pay three times for a service that is normally too cheap to meter. The only convergence happening is the contents of your wallet converging with BT's bank account.

On top of that, you currently have no choice of phone -- more are promised, says BT -- with no picture messaging from home -- it'll work soon, says BT -- and no choice of broadband provider. Why so? Because it's a BT Broadband service and BT wants it to be a special treat for its customers only, says BT -- or, one might suspect, because it's easier to market such a dog to a captive audience.

The most frustrating part of BT Fusion is that convergence is clearly a good idea, especially in business where it should be an essential component in an integrated messaging environment that encourages new services alongside better cost control. Furthermore, it makes most sense where each component -- mobile network, broadband supplier, local hub and mobile phone -- can be selected individually, working together with standards such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) . More features, more choice, lower cost: now, that's a proposition.

BT Fusion as it stands fails miserably to match up to the potential of the technology. That's very disappointing, given the length of time BT's been working on this. The good news is that this leaves the market open for people who have the idea that a good product should give customers a good deal.

Topic: IT Employment

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  • I thought BT were using UMA? That's what they've been saying at recent conferences? If not UMA what technology are they using?
    anonymous
  • Wow - you couldn't be more up yourself and uninformed could you??

    I'd like to take your argument bit by bit - just to make sure you don't miss anything.

    First of all, you say "Fusion calls from home to a landline cost as much as they do from any landline. Calls from home to a non-landline number - mobiles, 0800, 0845? Full mobile pricing. " however this is a contradiction in itself! Number one, if your Fusion handset is within range of home, you get charged the standard rate from home - as you do at the moment, regardless of whether you are calling a mobile, 0800, etc. If you call a mobile you pay the rate you pay at the minute, if you call an 0800 you pay nothing. If your Fusion handset is out of home range, you pay for the mobile tariff - as you do at the minute.

    Secondly, you state "BT has got you to pay three times for a service that is normally too cheap to meter" BT does not charge you three times for 'a' service. You pay your landline rental for the use and maintenance of your landline, you pay your broadband fee for the broadband service you are given, and you would pay your Fusion rental for the Fusion service you are given. Three charges for three services. Not really rocket science is it?

    Thirdly, you say "On top of that, you currently have no choice of phone -- more are promised, says BT" - where's the problem. It is currently a trial service, if they make sure that the syste works well with one handset they can expand later - obviously.

    You go on to say "it'll work soon, says BT" yes I'm sure it will - that's why they're doing a TRIAL!

    You don't stop there, you go on to make a fool of yourself by writing "no choice of broadband provider. Why so? Because it's a BT Broadband service and BT wants it to be a special treat for its customers only, says BT -- or, one might suspect, because it's easier to market such a dog to a captive audience." If BT are trialling the service and no other comms company is paying them to do it, then why would they trial another businesses service? One thing that you seem to forget in your thoughtless rant, is that BT is a business. BT is the first company in the UK to trial this service and full credit to them, if any other company wants to trial it and fund the trial then BT won't and can't stop them. BT are not a CHARITY they are a BUSINESS - is that too hard for you to grasp??
    anonymous