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British Telco To Converge Wireless, Landline In One Phone

British telecom provider BT said this week that later this year it will roll out a converged phone that it says will seamlessly switch between landline and wireless voice and data.

The British telecom operator said it was teaming with wireless carrier Vodafone UK to offer a single phone and service that accesses BT's landline system and, when mobile, seamlessly switch to Vodafone's wireless system. That device, which it dubbed Project Bluephone, will be launched widely before the end of the year, although it has been in trials for the last two months with about 50 users, BT said in a statement.

In addition, BT said there would be a "soft launch" of the phone this summer to about 1,000 users. The phone is being developed with Alcatel, Ericsson and Motorola.

On the data side, when users are near a wireless access point installed by BT as part of in-home broadband, the phone will automatically access the fastest data. When the phone is out of range of the access point, it will automatically connect to Vodafone's wireless voice and data network, BT said in a statement.

BT said its goal was to generate one billion pounds of revenue from the program within five years. It hinted that more convergence products are in the offing.

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