Orange has launched its first converged service, called the Unique phone, which is a single handset that operates both on WLAN in the home, and the regular mobile network outside of the home.
Initially offered in the UK and select European countries, the plan means that phone calls made within the home to other Orange mobiles and landlines will be free, as they will operate on VoIP. It also means a simplification in dealing with phone service, as the plan offers one phone, one number, one address book, and one bill from Orange.
In order to use the service, customers must get an Orange Livebox so that the mobile handset can connected using Wi-Fi. Calls started at home using VoIP will continue to be free even if you leave the house and the call switches to the regular mobile network. A little symbol on the display will indicate which system is being used at any time.
Every home can have six Unique phones, with three people allowed to use the Internet or call at the same time. All calls will be found on one bill.
The Motorola A910, the Nokia 6136 and the Samsung P200 are the only handsets that can be used with the service at the moment, but more will launch in 2007. The two phone plans that are being offered are the Canary 50 and the Panther 65, which cost £50 and £65 respectively, and yield 600 and 1200 minutes a month respectively. Broadband connection is free.
To preregister go to http://www.orange.co.uk/uniquephone