The future of Bluephone: It's the business

And the WiMax and the video and the M2M and the 3G?

And the WiMax and the video and the M2M and the 3G?

With Bluephone - or BT Fusion as it's now known - freshly launched this morning, BT execs are already keen to talk up the future of the all-in-one Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mobile device.

In the short term, the telco said it is planning to expand the reach of the Bluephone to a business offering, with both a business and SME scheme to be unveiled, with BT Retail's CEO Ian Livingstone predicting an autumn arrival.

Livingstone also expects more Fusion-compatible handsets - currently just a specially configured Motorola V560 will work with the service - to debut within the next 12 months. "One of the things we knew... is that we wanted the industry behind us. It's not just a BT proprietary model - we wanted a rich range of devices for the future," he said.

As well as more devices from Motorola - Ed Zander, Motorola CEO, said: "This is the first in a portfolio of converged solutions we are working with BT to deliver" - Nokia and Samsung are also working on handsets.

The Bluephone has one notable absence in its service portfolio: support for MMS - a market set to be worth €5bn by 2010 - although text messaging is possible. That, according to BT top brass, will be here in a few months.

With Fusion currently only working on GSM, a broader spectrum could also be on the cards. Steve Andrews, group chief of mobility and convergence, said of 3G: "We've got a forward roadmap... we see a lot of mileage on the 2G service... [but] expect us to bring out a number of converged services on 3G."

BT Retail's Livingstone, however, said WiMax could also be on the agenda. "I don't think we can rule anything in or out," he said. "We will always look at the spectrum."

The spectrum won't be the only thing up for expansion. Andrews promised a whole host of services - machine-to-machine, possibly based on chip and PIN, as well as people-to-machine services and "rich broadband services" with IM a likely candidate and a heavy focus on video services.

It's an obvious move for the telco, according to Jupiter Research analyst Ian Fogg. "It's BT again looking to move into the home."

So far, it's been an isolationist move - the service is only available for BT broadband customers and not to those who get their fat pipes from BT's wholesale customers, such as AOL and Bulldog.

While BT's Livingstone said its "technically possible" for the service to work with other ISPs, so far BT is intending to focus on a small market. According to Fogg, that may be just a temporary stance, with the telco having good reasons to do a softly softly launch.

"It seemed to be a mixture of 'steady as she goes' and the other part was technology concerns - they need to make sure it works," he said. "Technically, they can make it work with other ISPs - the question is do they want to go there?... This is just day one - it's something to watch for the future."