Carriers dragging their feet for WiFi phones

May 27 2005 - 01:47 PM ET | In The News
Wired News reporter Joanna Glasner wrote today about the slow adoption of WiFi capable mobile phones by wireless carriers. Because phones with WiFi would in theory be able to make nearly free calls over VoIP, thus bypassing expensive wireless airtime, wireless carriers are intentionally deep sixing said handsets. bq. Sprint spokesman Bill Elliott said the company is "heavily in the process of evaluating" the feasibility of phones that work on both Wi-Fi and its mobile voice network. However, the company is not engaged today in any trials of dual-mode Wi-Fi phones. A great example of carriers unwilling to take a chance with WiFi is the Samsung i730 and Verizon Wireless. While the i730 that Samsung has been showing off for months at trade events has WiFi, the unit that will ship from Verizon Wireless suspiciosly lacks WiFi. In the Wired News article, a Verizon Wireless spokesman notes that Verizon is sticking with EV-DO instead of WiFi (though phones like the Samsung i730 had both EV-DO and WiFi). bq. "You're not going to be tied down to a coffee shop or the lobby of a hotel."