San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
Options are growing for consumers who want to use their home's landline phones to send and receive cellular calls.
Two companies — WHP Wireless of Melville, N.Y., and Phone Labs of Bridgeport, Conn., are expanding the selection of cellular phones that work with cellphone-docking devices that link a cellular phone to a home's telephone wiring.
On two-line home-phone systems, the devices let consumers create a dedicated cellphone line on the second line while maintaining standard land-line service on the first. Consumers can also opt to disconnect local land-line service entirely, either in a primary residence or in a second home. In any of these applications, consumers can use more ergonomic home phones to take advantage of cellular rate plans that offer free mobile-to-mobile calls, provide free night and weekend calls, and include long distance in their per-minute charges.
With consumers now allowed to transfer their home number to a cellular phone, device suppliers expect land-line replacement to drive a growing percentage of their business.
Although consumers already use cellphones inside their houses, WHP marketing director Nancy Juarbe and Phone Labs president Carl Lopp point out that cellular service often weakens at various locations inside a house. The WHP and Phone Labs devices overcome that challenge by letting users dock a cellphone into a home's landline wiring at locations where cellular reception is strongest. Users also don't have to search for their cellphone each time an incoming call is received, they added.
To expand the sales potential of its Motorola-dedicated Cellsocket device, WHP plans early July availability of an adapter that will expand Cellsocket's compatibility to 16 Motorola cellphones from 13. In the next two months, Phone Labs plans to expand the compatibility of its Dock-n-Talk device to 200 to 250 phone models, up from a current 150 Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia phones. With the upgrade, the device will be compatible with additional phones from the three brands and with select other-brand phones.
Both companies' devices also recharge a cellphone's battery.