Orange 'Unique Phone' service available in November
Orange has announced more details of its One Phone package that will allow people to have one handset that will switch between an Orange Wireless router connection and the Orange mobile network. Outline detail of the new service are on the Orange website here.
Handsets for the new service are expected to be available from November 2006, with three handsets to choose from initially the Motorola A910, Nokia 6136 and the Samsung P200. Registration to be first in the line for handsets can be done at www.orange.co.uk/uniquephone.
The service will not switch between the Livebox and mobile networks in the middle of a call, which to some extent may be preferable as if moving around your home it will avoid lots of switching pauses as the handset switches between networks. In theory six handsets can be supported by the Livebox, with three being able to make calls at the same time, and as the deal includes unlimited landline calls and free calls to other Orange mobiles when using the Livebox connection it is likely to appeal to families that already have multiple mobiles. Though at £50 per month for the basic package that includes the initial handset, broadband connection and Livebox it is likely people will think hard before signing up.
BT Retail has a similar service in the form of its BT Fusion service that makes use of the BT Home Hub. To compare them directly is difficult as a lot depends on the amount of telephone calls you make, plus the destination, also which of the broadband packages suit you. The biggest driver behind these converged services is the relative simplicity in getting the services up and running, since while mobile handsets exist that have built in Wi-Fi and even support for VoIP configuring these to work with your broadband wireless router is likely to be beyond an awful lot of people.