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Friday, October 12, 2007

LG Telecom's Home Zone service... how does it work?

I just stumbled upon Korea operator LG Telecom's HomeZone service, which is an FMS pitch offering cheap in-home calls.

"Home Zone Service: a mobile phone in home phone’s disguise Subscribe to Home Zone Service and you would not need traditional fixed-line phone service ever again. Home Zone Service offers the convineince of mobile phones at a rate comparable to fixed-line service, at home or in your office.
Home Zone Service combines the benefits of the convenience of mobile phones with the thriftiness of fixed-line service in a single mobile handset. Home Zone Service is as easy as installing Access Point, the Home Zone Service device, in a place of choice. Whenever Home Zone Service subscriber makes a call within 30m from the Access Point, the call automatically registers at a rate comparable to fixed-line service. Up to seven mobile handsets can be operated via a single Access Point."

What's not clear to me is exactly how this works. I haven't been able to find much via Google, and unfortunately I don't speak Korean, so I have no way to interpret the FAQ on the more-detailed domestic part of LG's website.

There's a mysterious access-point widget with a 30m range that plugs into a power socket.... but which doesn't seem to have any hookup to a fixed broadband line that you'd need for either WiFi or a femtocell. I'm guessing that it's either some sort of repeater that signals to the network to flip to a lower tariff when it's in use, or perhaps it's got a CDMA modem in plus a Bluetooth antenna with cordless telephony profile (CTP). It needs a dedicated phone (there's a range of 6 according to the website)

Anyone able to shed any light?


Andrew Grill said...

Dean, sounds like a case of "you need another thing in the home to use this HomeZone service" - and I'll bet that you also need a "special" handset that recognises the bluetooth signal from the "access point".

These services work in principle but the issue is the same with BT Fusion - you need

1) to change your handset
2) to install something in the home

If you want a HomeZone in a different area you need to take the "access point" with you.

HomeZone solutions like those from www.seekerwireless.com (disclaimer - I run Sales & marketing there) do not have these problems and simply use a standard handset with software on the SIM card to provide small HomeZones with noting to install or configure in the home.

Anonymous said...

LGT's Homezone is a kind of variation of wide-deployed cell BS based Homezone in EU. But LGT's uses Bluetooth Dongle, not AP. The main reason why I call it as a dongle is LGT uses Bluetooth SPP, not CTP and not even VoIP. It's working mechanism is pretty simple, once you arrive home Homezone Bluetooth enabled handsets make connection to Bluetooth dongles called "Alime" in Korean. And then handset recongnizes a customer subscribtion based location. Upon this pretty simple working mechinism, LGT applies discounted fixed-line rate to its Homezone service subscribers. Actually it's FMS, but no FMC/IMS/VoIP/CTP there.
Besides this simple FMS service, another Korean mobile carrier KTF revived its Bluetooth CTP based service recently due to UC along with CellFi dual mode service using Samsung BlackJack. KTF uses CTP profile embeded USB audio dongle called "imFone". For more info on mobile + UC integration here in South Korea, contact me via hsjang@enus.co.kr