Orange, one of the worlds largest mobile communications providers has announced that starting next month the company will be offering Unique a converged VoIP/Mobile telephony offering in the UK and other select European markets. In another step towards making Fixed/Mobile Convergence (FMC) a reality, Unique will allow a user to make VoIP calls over a WiFi network and GSM calls when a WiFi network is not available. At home, the mobile handset connects in WiFi mode to the Orange Livebox and calls are routed via the Internet, offering enhanced coverage inside the house. Outside, Unique phone works just like a standard mobile, with calls routed via the mobile network. Unique offers one phone, one number, and one bill. Unique will be available with three different phones, one from Nokia, Samsung, and Motorola.
Unique phone allows customers to move freely between the mobile and home networks without interrupting their conversation. A call made at home automatically switches over to the Orange mobile network when you leave the house. Furthermore, a call initiated at home remains covered by the unlimited offer even when you leave your home. A symbol on the phone’s screen constantly informs customers of the network they are connected to.
Each home can have up to six Unique phones, with three people able to make calls or surf the net at the same time. Because it uses the Orange Livebox to route calls at home, Unique phone also offers customers enhanced coverage and faster access to Orange mobile data services including Orange World, picture and video messaging, mobile email and the mobile internet.
Let’s hope that the rash of European providers who are getting into the FMC game work out all of the bugs for all of us in North America, so that when one of our carrier finally deploys FMC over a wide area, we do not have to suffer like we did when cellular phones first launched.