I see that KPN has launched a mobile homezone-type service offering cheap mobile-based calls while a customer is at or near their home. In principle this is nothing new (O2 Genion in Germany has been running since 1999, and Vodafone has rolled out its At Home service in 7 countries). However, this line "The size of the vicinity covered ranges from about 100 metres in an inner city to several kilometres in the countryside" is a bit of an eye-opener, as Genion & peers generally provide a 2km radius for the cheap-rate calls.
100m brings the KPN service much closer to the type of location-specific granularity achieved by UMA or SIP dual-mode WiFi-based services, or that promised by femtocells in the future. It could be argued, however, that both of those target separate market niches - either people with lousy indoor 2G coverage (which neither the KPN nor Genion-type service improves), or those concerned with applications other than voice, for which high-speed local connectivity is a selling point.
Unfortunately, KPN's offer seems to be based on the increasingly fallacious notion that "the mobile phone offers the convenience of one device, one number and one address book". As regular readers of this blog will know, I'm a great believer in "multiplicity" - the need for operators to support interoperability between users' multiple device, numbers, identities and so forth. The success of the various German homezone services is partly due to the fact that consumers can have two numbers - mobile and fixed - associated with their cellular handsets. A lot of phone calls to the home are of long duration - and it's unreasonable to expect relatives or friends to pay for an hour or fixed-to-mobile interconnect.
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