T-Mobile's new killer phone feature

An article in the New York Times talks about a new thing T-Mobile introduced last week, but which few people noticed… It’s called “HotSpot@Home”, which is a dumb name, but still:

For $10 more on your cell phone bill, T-Mobile will give you a cell phone that also works over WiFi, and a WiFi router at home for you to hook to your own broadband internet connection.

The plus side to all this: When your phone calls are using the WiFi, they’re free. No minutes get used up. When the calls are using the normal cell phone network, you’re charged as per usual. It can also seamlessly switch between the two.

Think about this.. You’re at home, so your phone calls are using your own WiFi and therefore are “free”. No cell phone minutes used. Or you’re at the Flying Saucer, having a beer… The saucer has free WiFi… your phone detects that, uses it, and your calls are free there too. Walk out of the saucer on the phone and out of range, and the phone switches back to the normal cell network and you never notice it.

With a phone like this and the plan to allow it, you could probably reduce the number of minutes you actually pay for each month. If, for example, you pay for 1000 minutes but use 800 of them while at home or work (assuming you have WiFi at work), then you could switch to a 250 minute plan and save the difference.

Neat idea, I thought.