BT Re-enters Mobile Fray With MVNO, Phonebox Ringtones
By Carlo Longino, Tue Nov 04 18:45:00 GMT 2003

Two years after spinning off their mobile business to form MmO2, BT has launched an MVNO in the UK. They've also announced plans to sell ringtones and other content from their Internet-kiosk phoneboxes.

The carrier started its "BT Mobile Home Plan" this month, piggybacking on T-Mobile's UK network (the same network used by MVNO standard-bearer Virgin Mobile), aiming at families that have multiple mobile lines. The service is available only to people that have a BT fixed line at home, and offers discounts on multiple lines as well as 500 free 2-minute calls to users' home number each month.

The carrier has also started trials of a product called "Bluephone" that uses a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone to make VOIP calls when it's within range of a Bluetooth hotspot, and the standard mobile network when it's not. The system evidently uses a Bluetooth access point hooked up to a BT ADSL line in user's homes or offices.

The carrier also announced another mobile initiative, to sell ringtones and other content from its Internet-kiosk phoneboxes throughout the UK.

Users can access for free from the kiosks to browse tones, MMS backgrounds, games, and other content, and then buy and download what they want. They can pay by feeding cash into the kiosk, reverse SMS, a premium-rate number, or by swiping a credit card.