German FMC service dropped

Deutsche Telekom has killed off its T-One fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) service. Introduced in Germany last August, the WiFi/GSM service racked up just 10,000 subscribers.

Reasons cited for the failure include high prices, poor marketing, skimpy features, lack of handset choice, and competition from the rather cheaper @Home – the fixed/mobile substitution (FMS) service from Deutsche Telekom’s local T-Mobile operation, which basically bills mobile calls made from home as fixed-line calls. The lesson seems to be that the market for FMC/FMS services will be driven by convenience and value rather than technology.

FMC services elsewhere – HSDPA or dual-mode WiFi-GSM – have also been off to a slow start, with fewer than 400,000 FMC subscriptions globally by the end of 2006. But there are successes; Orange announced that it has sold almost 100,000 Unik FMC devices since its launch in September – pretty impressive considering Orange has only three Unik handsets.

• T-Mobile plans to more than double its mobile Internet customer base in Europe this year, going from around 1.1m to more than 2.5m. “This is an ambitious plan but it’s feasible," CEO Hamid Akhavan said at CeBIT.

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