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Swedes Are Home Free With FMC

Telia Company will launch its Home Free unlicensed mobile access (UMA)-based service in Sweden at the end of this month, marking the second European market for this fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) service. (See Telia Launches Home Free.)

The Swedish operator already launched Home Free in Denmark in August last year. While TeliaSonera isn't revealing Danish subscriber numbers, the launch of the service in Sweden is a sign of some success.

What sets the Swedish Home Free service apart from other FMC services in Europe is that it's not tied to TeliaSonera's own broadband offering. Like T-Mobile US Inc. 's Hotspot @Home service in the U.S., TeliaSonera will offer Home Free to anyone with a broadband connection, regardless of who provides it. (See T-Mobile Launches UMA in USA.)

That's in contrast with the way things are run with BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s Fusion, Orange France 's Unik, Telecom Italia (TIM) 's Unico, and even the Danish Home Free. (See BT's Flat Fusion , Orange Doubles FMC Customers, and FMC Fusilli.)

The open approach is important because it "frees up the service modeling," says Current Analysis principal analyst Emma Mohr-McClune.

"One of the weaknesses of these services is that they present to the user a whole laundry list of charges: the router, the handset, the broadband charges, the PSTN charges, the VOIP charges, the whole works," Mohr-McClune says. "But if [an operator] is willing to supply a UMA service over any broadband, they don't have to mention the broadband tariff. So, the service looks cheaper and more attractive."

In Sweden and Denmark, TeliaSonera uses UMA equipment from Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), some of which is based on Kineto Wireless Inc. technology. (See TeliaSonera Picks Moto and Moto Boosts Kineto.)

In Sweden, TeliaSonera will launch the service with just one handset, Nokia's 6086. Later this year, the operator will add the Nokia 6301, the Motorola A910, and the P200 from Samsung Corp.

There are two packages for Home Free. The first has a monthly fee of SEK 199 ($29) and provides unlimited calls to landline numbers and Telia mobiles when made from home. The fee for the router and handset is SEK 295 ($43), plus a one-time charge of SEK 250 ($36).

The second package also costs SEK 199 ($29) per month. But subscribers get a router and two Nokia 6086 handsets for SEK 490 ($71). Again, there is a one-time charge of SEK 250 ($36).

Subscribers can also sign up for a Mobile to Friends package, which costs SEK 69 ($10) per month, and provides unlimited incoming calls.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading

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