It almost seems a natural progression to sell a Wi-Fi and GPRS enabled smartphone as part of a broadband package. BT Retail has gone down this line with a HTC S620 or S710 smartphone handset forming the core of the BT Broadband Anywhere service.
The service is touted as allowing you to take your broadband anywhere, though as plenty of places have pointed out GPRS access is not broadband, but the prevelance of BT OpenZone and FON hotspots means it should not be difficult to find a fast connection in a town centre. Where the BT ToGo service appears to make up for the lack of 3G is by integrating the BT Yahoo email service and one hopes that the Wi-Fi connectivity has been streamlined to make this seamless.
Four tariffs are available which are in addition to the subscription for the BT Total Broadband service. Each includes 10MB of GPRS data downloads and unlimited Wireless downloads.
The HTC S620 is free, the HTC S710 with slide-out keyboard and 2 Megapixel camera is available for a one-off upgrade fee of £29.99. Additional handsets can be purchased for £29.99 each and used on the same tariff for a £5 per month running cost. GRPS data in excess of the 10MB allowance costs a whopping £1.50 per MB, but BT is running a promotion with unlimited GPRS until 31st July 2008. Apparently an unlimited GPRS option will be available after 31st July, but no price is available at this time.
The BT ToGo service is probably not going to appeal to the gadget freaks amongst us who love to spend days figuring out how to set-up their POP3/SMTP mail services. It is much more likely to sell to people who've seen what others can do on their smartphones but are put off by the initial handset cost combined with monthly subs for WiFi access and the mild cursing as we try to use the advanced features. A small laptop and 3G broadband dongle would provide much better mobile broadband, but then who can fit a laptop into their trouser pocket even if you overlook the laptop price and 3G subscription.