Verizon service to let home phones use cell minutes

Home Phone Connect lets Verizon Wireless customers share minutes between their home phones and mobile phones, limiting the need for a separate landline account.

Verizon is testing a new service that could eliminate the need for a dedicated landline account.

Known as Home Phone Connect, the service would let Verizon Wireless subscribers make calls from their landline phones using Verizon's cellular network, allowing them to share minutes between their cell phones and home phones.

Customers would be able to keep their existing landline phones through the use of a base station that taps into Verizon's wireless network and then connects calls to the home phone handset, according to Network World. A battery backup would provide power to the base should the electricity go out.

The service itself would cost an extra $9.99 a month for Verizon Wireless subscribers who pay at least $69.99 for their current family plans or an extra $19.99 a month for unlimited local and long distance calls. Subscribers will also be able to carry their existing home phone numbers to the new service.

Currently available for testing to customers in New York and Connecticut, Home Phone Connect would offer virtually the same features available with a traditional landline account, including 911, 411, and 611 service as well as such options as call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID, international dialing, and three-way calling.

Verizon Home Phone Connect comes on the heels of a similar service from T-Mobile USA called T-Mobile @home service. T-Mobile's service used a router equipped with a SIM card to let landline phone calls hop onto the cellular network. But the company cancelled its @home service last January with no explanation why.

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