Wi-Fi hotspot phone launched by Samsung

Samsung has become the latest company to launch a dual-mode phone, which can connect over GSM or Wi-Fi

Samsung has launched its first unlicensed mobile access (UMA) handset in Europe.

The SGH-P200 started shipping in Italy on Tuesday. It supports Wi-Fi as well as GSM and GPRS, so it can be used to make calls at a public hotspot, or over a home or office wireless network.

UMA devices offer a potential threat to mobile operators, as users can avoid running up mobile bills by using Wi-Fi instead — although they may have to pay for wireless access.

"UMA is a next-generation fixed-mobile convergence technology standard which allows for seamless handover between cellular networks and fixed IP networks (hotspots)," said Samsung in a statement. "Handsets with UMA technology allow free voice and data communication both in mobile and fixed modes."

However, Samsung wasn't able to say when the P200 will arrive in the UK.