Land-line and wireless bundling offers have been tumbling out of your monthly phone statements for some time now. Another example of phone convergence: Cingular Wireless has a $40 charging cradle that conserves prime time cellular minutes by automatically transferring incoming wireless calls to the land-line phone of your choice. FastForward service (www.cingular.com/beyond_voice/fastforward) is being rolled out in the service areas of Cingular parents BellSouth and SBC Communications.
Currently compatible with select Nokia, Motorola, Siemens and Sony Ericsson phones, the FastForward cradle plugs in to an electrical outlet; then you designate a forwarding phone number. You must also subscribe to Cingular's $3-per-month call forwarding service and be willing to have all your wireless and land-line calls itemized on a single bill.
Convergence got underway early last year, when many wireless phone companies quit charging more for a call across the country than for a call across the street. That put pressure on the land-line long-distance industry. Last summer, Cingular and its parents began letting their mutual customers buy a single bucket of minutes for both wireless and land-line calls.
The companies are also rolling out a mutual voice mailbox for missed calls to both your wireless and land-line numbers.