T-Mobile on Monday began offering the Katalyst by Samsung, a new mobile phone that works with the carrier’s HotSpot @Home Wi-Fi service. The Katalyst is a new addition to T-Mobile’s lineup of phones that support HotSpot @Home. T-Mobile @ Home now has 5 handsets available for Unlicensed Mobile Access, such as the Nokia 6086 and Samsung SGH-t409c.
When you are at home your calls connect via WiFi over a VoIP-type network, but when you leave your Wi-Fi coverage area, your special UMA-capable phone will find the GSM coverage and move the call to the cellular network.
HotSpot @Home costs an extra $20 a month, and seamlessly switches subscribers back and forth between cell phone calls and calls made over Wi-Fi. You get unlimited calling when start a call using Wi-Fi. Subscribers can also make calls using T-Mobile Wi-Fi hotspots at about 8,500 locations nationwide that include popular venues like Starbucks.
The new phone also comes with Bluetooth, a music player, a 1.3-megapixel camera, and instant-messaging capabilities with support for widely-used services like AOL,Yahoo, and Windows Live Messenger. It has expandable memory with a microSD memory card slot.
The Katalyst costs $80 with a mail-in rebate and a two-year subscription to T-Mobile.
Unlicensed mobile access (UMA) is on its way to becoming an official 3G standard, says Unstrung. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project‘s GERAN working group approved support for 3G core network interfaces to the UMA — or generic access network (GAN), as it is known in 3GPP circles — at a meeting in Vancouver last month. The next and final step toward 3GPP acceptance will be discussed at the working group’s February meeting.