T-Mobile in unique cell phone test

Oct. 24, 2006 at 10:31 AM

SEATTLE, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- T-Mobile has become the first U.S. company to begin selling service that lets one handset communicate with both cellular networks and Wi-Fi hot spots.

The company has begun a marketing trial in Seattle that links phones to T-Mobil's cellular network outdoors and to Wi-Fi routers indoors, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The approach seeks to solve the problem of weak reception in buildings.

T-Mobile is offering participants two handsets that cost $49.99 provided customers sign up for a 2-year rate plan for at least $39.99 a month. Subscribers are charged $19.99 a month on top of their regular cellular plan fees.

"For the below-30-age segment, it's a no-brainer," said Roger Entner, a wireless industry analyst at consulting firm Ovum. "This is also a threat for other wireless carriers because it fixes the problem of poor coverage inside homes."

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