Is BT's Fusion a flop?

Is BT's Fusion a flop?

Summary: Sales of BT's fixed-mobile handset fail to top 40,000 despite marketing blitz

TOPICS: Networking

BT's attempts to converge the worlds of fixed and mobile have suffered limited success, according to the telco's sales figures.

The telco has sold its so-called Fusion converged handset to just 40,000 customers since its launch in summer 2005.

Fusion cuts phone bills by routing calls over a fixed network connection when one is available, such as in the home, office or a Wi-Fi hotspot. The handset also works over the mobile network where a fixed connection is not available.

This kind of converged communciation device has been seen as an important part of the mobile industry's future. But despite continued advertising by BT, sales of Fusion have been limited.

"To date, Fusion has not been a runaway success," said Carrie Pawsey, an analyst with Ovum.

Other industry analysts were equally downbeat. Thomas Husson at Jupiter Research said: "It's not a significant number of customers. It will take time to take off, [and for BT] to offer a compelling proposition."

The analysts say that BT needs to improve the battery life of handsets, offer a greater choice of handsets and simplify tariffs to boost sales.

ZDNet UK asked BT whether it regarded its sales figures as a failure. A spokesman said in reply: "We are happy with 40,000 on the Bluetooth platform. We don't regard it as a failure." The spokesman said sales would soon take off due to three factors: use of Wi-Fi (which has now been introduced in place of Bluetooth); a choice of handsets (there are now three instead of one); and more advertising campaigns.

BT said on Monday that it would allow Fusion handsets to be used for cheap calls in its city-wide wireless networks, of which it is currently building 12 across the country.

The telco will complete the networks by the end of March in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Cardiff, Westminster, Newcastle and Glasgow, through its Wireless Cities initiative. Four other city deployments will also be completed in that timeframe, but those city councils have asked BT not to reveal their identity.

BT refused to say how many people are using its Wi-Fi hotspots.

Topic: Networking

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  • Better phones required

    I would buy the fusion wifi offering if better phone choice was available, specifically the choice of Nokia devices. I also don't see why I should pay (even 1 minute) for a phone call when it is using wifi.
  • You Should Pay for Connection -But Who is it For/What Does it Do for The

    I think the Openzone WiFi connectivity is a great development assuming the hybrid user exists and rates are not old style BT gouging and substantially cheaper than mobile.

    To the other writer here - someone deployed a network to support your voice calls on WiFi. That's why you should pay. Its a service that reqired investment and costs BT to operate. Get over your Internet zealot self.

    There never was and never will be a managed service deployed that is free, its either paid for by taxes as the Internet first was, or by charging the registered user.

    If it was feasible I would have preferred Bluetooth connection while that is the universal wireless mobile connection - so we could use any Bluetooth mobile of our choice, maybe with a bit of downloaded Java code - rather than be stuck with particular WiFi/Fusion phones from BT's over-the-wall technology marketing department. (Why do they need a choice, we know best?)

    But Bluetooth range is crap and WiFi was being deployed nationally for data - so I guess that was the driver.....

    Whatever, its a minority requirement IMO, and may have application in the enterprise as your one business phone for field personnel but not for home users in the main.

    People seem to either use their mobile mostly, and want a good one that does multimedia things as they tend to be younger and not houseowners, or are more established homeowners and use their fixed phone mostly, and I doubt will want to take their house phone out and about with them - what is then left for the others in the house??

    MONEY: the major cost of home phones now is calls to mobiles, which Fusion doesn't really help with - does it?

  • Better phones required

    BT have just announced that they're releasing the iPAQ 514 Voice Messenger for use with Fusion.

    <a href="">Sounds quite good</a>
  • increase in bluetooth range fron 10 to 100 meters

    no BT's fusion is not a flop as it is increasing day by day in range with just a minimum power increase, so in near future it will be possible to have a phone like this to call to some other person using the hoping technique.