BT's converged phone ready for the limelight

The telco's fixed-and-mobile hybrid phone could be unveiled within weeks
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor

Ben Verwaayen, BT's chief executive, hinted on Monday that his company is almost ready to launch a converged mobile device and that WiMax is a top priority for the future.

Project Bluephone is BT's attempt to create a mobile handset that will work as a cordless phone over Bluetooth at home but will also function as GSM mobile phone on the move.

In a discussion with UK journalists, Verwaayen said that the Bluephone work was going well.

"We said we'd launch it in spring. Look around, spring is in the air today," said Verwaayen, appearing to suggest that Bluephone's launch is imminent.

BT has previously said that Bluephone will actually be available from late 2005, and Verwaayen cautioned mass-market rollout wouldn't happen straight away. While this first device will just support GSM and Bluetooth, BT is also starting developing a version of Bluephone that supports Wi-Fi this month, through trials with mobile services company Tatara Systems.

"We'll start with Bluetooth. We're working on Wi-Fi, and we're also working with Intel. We're very close to WiMax," said Verwaayen.

As well as trialling WiMax in several rural areas of the UK, BT is also looking to use the high-speed wireless technology in its 21st Century Network project.

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