A seven-company consortium headed up by Alcatel has been selected to launch BT’s Project Bluephone.
Alcatel, Ericsson, Motorola, Norwood Systems, IVT, Inventel and MBT will work closely with BT to develop and deploy what will be Europe’s first fully converged fixed-mobile communication service.
Successful trials have taken place with over 50 users over the last few months and the next wave of beta trials involving 2,000 users is already underway.
With a Bluephone technology-enabled phone, when a call is made from a Bluephone-enabled site – that could be in homes, offices or public places – the call is routed over the fixed network rather than mobile network. This, it’s claimed, gives improved voice quality and coverage because of the nature of the low-cost, fixed network. When out of range of a Bluephone site, the handset acts as a standard mobile phone and send and receive calls over the GSM network.
As Prime Contractor to the consortium, Alcatel will act as project manager and unite all seven companies behind a smooth roll out and implementation. Alcatel will also provide the IP security and encryption system between access points and public network.
Ericsson will provide access bridge and access point technology that will deliver the unlicensed mobile access (UMA) solution, while Inventel and IVT will contribute residential and enterprise access portals. MBT will be the provider of OSS and BSS development and integration and Motorola will be configuring the enterprise section of Project Bluephone as well as providing handsets and future WiFi capability. Enterprise mobility solutions will come from Norwood Systems.
Project Bluephone will be brought to market by the end of the summer and there will be a full scale launch before the end of 2004. The service will be technology agnostic and, in time, will work across other standards including WiFI.