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Mobile home phone launched in UK


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The new service allows mobile phone users to connect wirelessly to a cheaper fixed network at home.

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LONDON, England -- The world's first cell phone that can switch between fixed and mobile networks has been launched in the UK.

The new service is being offered by British Telecom, which said it expected "millions" of customers to sign up for its "BT Fusion" package over the next five years.

Subscribers get a Motorola v560 phone that links up to BT's fixed-line network via a Bluetooth wireless broadband hub at home. But users can also make calls on the move over Vodafone's mobile network.

The hub works as a wireless router for PCs, laptops, games consoles and other computer technology around the house. Six phones per home can be registered with the service, with up to three in use at any time.

Ian Livingston, head of BT Retail, said the service would "transform the communications landscape."

"You get all the convenience and features of a mobile phone but with a fixed line cost and the quality you are used to with a fixed line," Livingston said.

"We know that many of our customers enjoy the convenience of their mobile phones when they're out and about -- but switch to using a landline phone when they arrive back home to save money or because they have little or no mobile coverage."

BT, which hopes to attract families and small businesses, will initially offer the service to 400 customers before rolling it out across the UK from September.

Further handsets developed by Nokia and Samsung are expected to be ready in around a year's time.

BT said that a 10-minute offpeak phone call from home made using BT Fusion would be 95 percent cheaper than the same call made using a typical mobile package.

The former telecoms monopoly, is seeking to stem the growing number of calls made via mobile networks rather than over its predominant fixed line network.

It has also targeted $1.8 billion in annual revenues over five years from mobility and convergence services.

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