T-Mobile HotSpot @Home finally launches... in Seattle

Right well, they did say they had a certain affinity for Seattle then, didn't they? It looks like the first round of T-Mobile's long awaited UMA service is now kicking around Seattle way, with open trial customers able to purchase two WiFi-capable UMA phones, as well as the D-Link router which enables home access. Right out of the gate we already have our qualms with the service -- namely in that they're charging customers an extra $20 per month for UMA access (and only if they have an eligible $40+ per month rate plan), which is kind of a bummer since in most cases UMA is cost-saving to the carrier in that consumers needn't consume as much cellular air time. But that $20 extra also covers T-Mobile HotSpot access too, so if you're not just planning on using HotSpot @Home, um, at home, then you'll be good to go when roaming elsewhere. (It's worth noting, however, that UMA does not require anything special to get going, and will work on any WiFi connection.) The D-Link router is probably a skipper -- it'll set you back $50 (and goes free with mail-in rebate), but isn't necessary to use the service, and will probably leave you in pain as D-Link WiFi gear so often does. Oh, and hows about a word on the two phones you'll be using with @Home: you've got the Nokia 6136, which, of course, features a 1.3 megapixel camera, FM radio, and GSM / GPRS / EDGE; then you've got the far more feeble Samsung t709, with GPRS, 176 x 220 display, and a 1.3 megapixel camera. Both will go for $50 with a two year, $100 with a one year.

[Via NYT]