T-Mobile UMA Service Rolls Out Today

T-Mobile begins offering US customers unlicensed mobile access (UMA) today. This merges WiFi with cellular, enabling better indoor reception via wireless router (so it requires you to have broadband) as well as connection at T-Mobile’s hotspots.

The initial pricing scheme allows users to add unlimited At-Home service for $10 (regular price will be $20). Family plan prices are $10 a month higher ($20 promotionally, $30 regular). Minutes on WiFi are unlimited and calls started on WiFi and then switched to cellular are also free (so start your calls at Starbucks using WiFi and then carry the discussion over as you roam to cellular coverage).

T-Mobile is offering two different routers that are free after $50 rebate, but the service will work on any WiFi router. T-Mobile says the approved routers they sell gives calls a higher priority, so there won’t be any conflict between power users downloading large files and throttling bandwidth so much that it affects (or drops) calls.

Quality is said to be constant, and calls automatically switch between WiFi and cellular. T-Mobile’s approved routers (the ones they sell) encrypt calls at the touch of a button and without having to enter a password; no word yet about a similarly easy way to encrypt calls through your own router.

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