Small businesses can now roam from their Wi-Fi networks onto GSM and back again, thanks to BT Fusion Wi-Fi for Business which was announced this morning.
Small-business customers can now get themselves a Nokia 6136, or a Motorola A910, and connect to their BT hub for cheap calls over Wi-Fi and fast internet connectivity. As soon as they leave the office they’re automatically back on the GSM network, with a 20Mb* GPRS allowance and slightly pricier calls, until they wander into a BT Openzone Hotspot where free, fast, connectivity and cheap calls return.
When in a hotspot, or the office, those calls come in at 5p to a fixed line, 15p to a BT mobile, and 25p to any other mobile, for an hour-long call. On the GSM network calls are capped at 25p for up to 60 minutes.
The only converged service right now is a combined voice-mail box, though hopefully some more interesting services are under development.
The announcement should certainly be of interest to small businesses, particularly those who spend a lot of time hanging around airports and other places where BT Openzones are likely to be. It also marks a concerted attempt by BT to devalue the GSM network in which they have no share: every call routed over Wi-Fi stays within the BT network, while those carried over GSM don’t; so the more Wi-Fi the better.
* While everyone else is still measuring data quantities in mega bytes (MB) it would appear that BT have changed to mega bits (Mb) for reasons of their own. While we seek clarification we will have to assume they really mean 2.5MB of free GPRS data.®