T-Mobile wants to make your home a hotspot (see new corportae site). As WiFiNews points out, T-Mobile trialed this service in Washington and is now releasing it nationwide. What is it? Basically, Wi-Fi-Cellular call transfer ability. (VoIPWatch has a display pic). BusinessWeek has a write up that explains what UMA is and the consumer advantage of this offering.
UMA allows call transfers from a wi-fi network to a GSM cellular network and back.
UMA service treats trusted Wi-Fi networks as just more GSM cell transceivers. This requires new handsets that have both Wi-Fi and GSM radios, and which can operate both radios simultaneously to allow a seamless handoff between GSM and Wi-Fi (in either direction), just as cell networks hand off between two transceivers. “This is GSM over Wi-Fi,” said T-Mobile spokesperson Tom Harlin. The advantage of UMA is typically twofold: it infills areas that have poor coverage, such as inside buildings and homes, by using Wi-Fi as it’s intended to work, covering interior spaces; and it’s cheaper to carry service over Wi-Fi and consequently the Internet than it is to shuttle voice calls over a cell network. [wifinews]