BT is killing off its ‘Fusion’ mobile service for consumers after just 45,000 consumers signed up to the service since 2005.
The idea was to challenge the big mobile operators with a service that promised to cut mobile bills by routing calls over the internet when consumers were at home (near a wi-fi router) but would switch to a mobile network when out of range.
Many industry watchers have blamed the lack of compelling handsets and the fact that competition intensified between traditional operators, pushing down prices.
BT claims it has been a bigger success among corporates and small businesses and will continue to offer it to those customers.
It is now turning its focus away from voice calls, towards mobile email and internet with a new device in partnership with HTC. It will again try and make the most of the ‘home hub’ routers in the homes of its broadband customers, as well as its Openzone wi-fi spots around the country.
It is also believed that it will continue its partnership with Vodafone as its virtual network provider for the new devices to work when out of Wi-Fi areas.
A BT spokesman confirmed that it was conducting ‘low level trials’ for the ‘mobile broadband internet service’, that he said would rival Blackberry.
Pulling Fusion from the consumer market and introducing a new mobile service comes as BT’s shares fell by 10 per cent on Thursday (7 February) on the news that it missed its quarterly targets.
The company blamed a big fall in premium rate revenues on the back of some high profile fake TV phone-in scandals, as well as greater competition in the broadband market where the likes of Orange, Virgin, Sky and Carphone’s twin broadband brands - TalkTalk and AOL.