21/01/2010

Vodafone Home Gateway drops in price and becomes Sure Signal

Vodafone has renamed its home femtocell system from Vodafone Home Gateway to Sure Signal while also dropping the price from £160 to £50 for a one off payment. It's also possible to rent the Sure Signal box for £5 pm.

Femtocells are an easy way for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to reduce their backhaul requirements as they create small coverage areas with the femtocell which uses the customer's broadband connection to connect back to the MNO. As the femtocells are 3G, they'll see what frequencies are available in the area and use free channels thus co-operating with whatever the MNO has there in the macro network (2G femtocells are much more complicated and require frequency planning).

Though Vodafone haven't said why they're suddenly pushing femtocells again (the Home Gateway has been poorly marketed), it is likely that it coincides with the launch of the iPhone on their network and the considerable increase in data that it produces. By being able to alleviate the 'home' data use issue, they may be successful in maintaining the overall network stability.

In future Vodafone may even give Sure Signal devices away for free (and put them in busy areas like shops etc), they may even offer 'free' calls to home users to encourage them to install the gateways.
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