British Telecom (BT) had its Bluephone project in the plans for a couple of years, until it was officially announced, still as a trial, a couple of months ago.
In essence, the project allows cellular users to utilise their mobile handsets at home connecting through a wireless gateway that will route the phone calls via a broadband connection.
The initial idea was to use Bluetooth, but it looks like it will be implemented with wireless LAN.
Consumers will benefit of this because they will pay cheaper call rates when at home, even though they are still using the same handset, with the convenience of all contact information being there, and all other functionalities of a smartphone.
Now Microsoft and French Telecom are announcing a similar project. The LivePhone is the first Wi-Fi Smartphone to be developed and it will connect through a home gateway called LiveBox. I imagine this Windows Mobile Smartphone will be released through a partnership with Orange, which is partially owned by French Telecom.
The LivePhone is part of the Homezone, developed by France Telecom as a seamless service for communications on the move and at home, using a dual-radio GSM / WiFi mobile VoIP device which will evolve to become a Smartphone based on the Windows Mobile platform.
The communications industry is adopting VoIP, the operators found their way through it. Consumers benefit of a reduced cost for voice calls, and by having an enhanced experience when at home, through broadband. These are great times for this industry and as a geek I can imagine a multitude of different services - including Location Based Services, Presence, Instant Messaging and more. Really nice!