Sunday, August 19, 2007

DuaLLine Mobile Phones

While the term Dual Mode Handset (DMH) is becoming popular nowadays with large number of WiFI (And rather optimistically, WiMAX) deployments worldwide, I came across the term Dual Lime Mobile phones. What impressed me about the concept of Dual Line Mobile phones is the very fact that there is nothing new, nothing unknown, but it yet makes so much business sense.

Unlike DMHs, conceptually, Dual Mode Mobile phone is not a break through idea, nor a break through technology. Its just about having two different phone numbers in a single mobile handset. In GSM domain, its having two different SIM cards in one GSM handset.But yet, in certain cases, its so useful.

In present day, almost every business man carries two different numbers. One is a private number for family members and other is a public number for business purposes. Along, they need to carry two different mobile phones. How easy it would become if both the numbers can be fitted into one single phone!

In the enterprise domain, a company can give the employees a single phone and one number which is to be used, say, only for official purposes. If that is a Dual Line Mobile phone, the employee can put his personal number into it and use the single phone for both personal and official purposes.

While these are few examples, this actually opens a door for a whole new kind of mobile applications. For example, an application which will automatically switch off one number in a particular time of the day based on some user configuration. Although a Dual Line Handset does not necessarily mean a Dual Mode Handset, it can be. Leading to more interesting applications where you are not only sharing two different numbers but two heterogeneous networks.

This will also open door for new kind of services in the switches. For example, if a line is blocked, and the switch knows that this is the number of a Dual Line Mobile phone whose other line is unblocked, it can deliver SMSs to the unblocked line. So, even if you have blocked your office line at night, you will continue getting SMSs from office on your home line.

All said, it actually throws some technical and business challenges as well. For a GSM phone, fitting two SIM cards may increase the size of the phone. It may consume more battery power. It may be much costlier. None of them are really desirable. One may not ignore the security related issues as well. Compromise of one number may result in compromising the other number as well.

Recently, arrival of a set of dual line dual mode mobile phones was announced by Spice Mobile, for the Indian market. D-80 and D-88. They also promised very low cost of the phones, to capture the market of the masses.

It will be interesting to wait and see if in near future the number of people carrying two mobile phones reduces to zero.

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