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BT To Offer Enterprises Converged Wireless, Wireline Voice

British telecommunications giant BT said Thursday that it will offer enterprises converged telephone service that combines fixed voice-over-IP (VoIP) and mobile access with access via a single phone.

The company said that its so-called fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) plan will enhance productivity and reduce costs for large businesses because it will enable use of a single phone and phone number.

"BT has emerged as a clear leader in the new market created by the convergence of communications and IT," Francois Barrault, president of BT International, said in a statement. "We will use our knowledge and experience to ensure that this new innovative service will reduce the complexity of communications whilst also improving employee effectiveness and business productivity."

The company said the system will combine VoIP carried by wireless broadband systems and Wi-Fi both within enterprise premises and at public hotspots that it operates. The converged service also will include cellular voice access and will use phones that can access both modes of service.

The company said that live trials with customers will begin in early 2007.

Such a converged service makes sense for BT more than it does for other large telecoms and cellular operators, according to Derek Kerton, principal of the Kerton Group, a telecommunications consulting firm. He noted that the company has already launched a similar service for consumers.

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