TeliaSonera launches mobile-IP hybrid

Swedish-Finnish telecommunications operator TeliaSonera on Monday unveiled the world's first UMA technology, enabling users to access mobile and Internet (IP) telephony on the same phone.

The technology, which will be marketed under the name “Home Free”, enables callers to use a mobile phone at home as an IP phone, which uses wireless technology to make very low-cost calls. The same phone works outside the home as a normal mobile phone that automatically seeks out a mobile network.

Users will need to acquire a special telephone to use the Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) technology, which will be operational in November.

In the future, the technology “could also be used an IP phone if the user is in a Wi-Fi hotspot outdoors, such as an airport, cafe, or conference centre for example. But we chose to concentrate first on usage at home,” TeliaSonera spokesman Rune Fick Hansen told AFP.

“We may in a later phase extend this solution outside the home,” he added.

“We are introducing a product that combines the best of three worlds: mobile, fixed-line and Internet,” the head of TeliaSonera in Denmark, Jesper Brøckner, said in a statement.

“Danish families will now be able to cancel their fixed line subscriptions at home without losing their home phone numbers, and at the same time save more than 20 percent on their phone bill,” Brøckner said.

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung is the only manufacturer that currently sells UMA phones. It launched the SGH-P200 this summer.