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Monday, December 17, 2007

Whatever happened to BT Fusion?

Doing some update work for a client on FMC services, I realised that everything had gone remarkably quiet on the BT Fusion front of late. I keep hearing about Orange's (comparative) success with Unik, so I had a quick look at the current status of BT's FMC proposition.

Not impressive, I'm afraid.....

Let's see - I'm one of BT's 2m or so Broadband customers, with a Home Hub gateway, so I'm privileged enough to be entitled to Fusion. If I decided to get a new phone today, I could get:

a) A humdrum Nokia 6136, ancient Motorola A910, or slightly-better Samsung P260 for £19 a month over 18 months, with 100 minutes calling (or 400 when at home in range of Fusion) from BT


b) A quite nice 3G SonyEricsson K800i, with 500 mix/match minutes or SMS, for £18 a month over 18 months, on 3 UK . Which also comes with free IM, Skype calling (!) and an extra 300 on-net 3-to-3 minutes.

Unless I had absolutely shocking indoor coverage.... why on earth would I pick (a)? And if wasn't a BT Broadband subscriber, I wouldn't even have the choice.

I'm not surprised that there hasn't been a recent update on subscriber numbers.

I wonder if BT is going to go the same way as Telecom Italia, and bin its UMA dual-mode service and wait around a bit longer for a SIP/IMS version as it gets 21CN up and running. Or maybe it will (finally) make some use of its low-power GSM spectrum licence and do something fun with femtocells (there are some 2G femtos about....)


Anonymous said...

BT types tend to cough, look at their shoes and say something about corporate customers for Fusion, although I have my doubts...

Dean Bubley said...

Corporate Fusion is a different story, and one which I do think will fly, albeit over time.

Enterprise FMC makes a lot of sense, at least where companies have decent-quality WLANs installed, but it will be a long slog to get the infrastructure & user experience right.

Compelling rationale, though.

Anonymous said...

Dean/others, have a read of:


Which has a fair bit on the Fusion, which I wrote back in September 2005. For more up to date stuff get to eComm 2008!

Anonymous said...

At last week's well-attended Informa Femto conference in London, Warren Buckley, Group Director for Mobility for BT mentioned that they were looking at the value prop for residential Fusion with a view to making it more compelling, including use of some of the newer UMA phones that have been introduced recently (Orange Unik now has 7 or 8 phones available including a Blackberry device).

Re: Telecom Italia, note that it's the Fixed Line division that is providing the SIP based service (with an even smaller range of handsets than BT Fusion!) not the mobile division. You get a fixed line number on the phone when you are in WiFi range (two phone numbers for the price of one?) and no handover ... hardly a convergence play, and possibly much akin to the failed DT T-One service.

Telecom Italia Mobile has to date implemented a macro homezone service to compete directly with VF's Casa service and branded as Maxxi TIM Casa. As it's Christmas in Italy too they do, of course, have a very attractive lady dressed [well, almost dressed] as Miss Santa marketing the service on their home page ... a visual you will most likely not see at bt.com anytime soon!

Merry Christmas, Dean!!

Disclosure: I work for Kineto Wireless.

Dean Bubley said...

Hi Keith

Thanks for the heads-up on BT's comments at the conference.

I'd say that two-number (fixed+mobile) solutions are generally much more desirable in Europe than one-number. In the US the situation is different as there's no distinction between F & M number ranges.

In Europe there's a lot of inertia & psychology about how people treat & perceive the two (as well as a 10x differential in inbound calling termination costs).

A sizeable proportion of people like and want to retain (or obtain) a fixed-line number.

A key difference between TI Unica (which is actually on the TIM website rather than the fixed-line arm) and DT's T-One is around the handset. ie decent-grade Nokia Symbian E65 that people actually buy anyway, rather than low-end ODM product.

Slightly more weird is that the TI service seems to be only obtainable as part of a large & expensive quad-play package.