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Smartphone Users Want Wi-Fi Signal Boost


Smartphone Users Want Wi-Fi To Boost 3G Signal

Users of smartphones would use an application that magically boosted their phones 3G reception by piggy backing on Wi-Fi. Or so a recent survey by YouGov and Kineto has found.

Of 2,200 people recently surveyed, 74 per cent said that if their phone had Wi-Fi they would use such an application. Moreover, 80 per cent liked the idea of a service from their mobile operator that provided discounted calls when the phone was connected over Wi-Fi.

Devices already exist that can perform this function and they're called femtocells. Vodafone has had one available for a while now under the Sure Signal name. However, this survey suggests people would like a generic service to take on these duties.

With patchy mobile data coverage, is Wi-Fi the answer to our problems?

The survey also revealed 50 per cent of people in the UK that have a Wi-Fi enabled smartphone use Wi-Fi everyday. Of this group, 40 per cent say they use Wi-Fi because it's quicker for browsing the web while 50 per cent say they use it because it's easier. Also according to the results, the most widely owned smartphone brand (with or without Wi-Fi) in the UK is the iPhone (33 percent) followed by Nokia (20 percent). These are surprising figures on the surface, but as it's a consumer survey, it does make sense.

However, the connection isn't without its problems, with 22 percent of those surveyed claiming the most annoying aspect of the service is that it only works in some locations - there's no pleasing some.

All told, we certainly would welcome some kind of universal service that automatically switches mobile data and calling over to Wi-Fi whenever possible. Unfortunately we just don't see it happening any time soon.




July 27, 2010, 3:53 pm

I used the speedtest.net app on my desire the other night to test my 3g speeds from three. I also tested my wifi speed...

And as I live about billion miles from my exchange the 3g was much faster - Can I do tethering instead ;)


July 27, 2010, 4:08 pm

When at home I always use WiFi. Mainly because

- it's faster

- uses less battery

- doesn't use up my data allowance

- I save data intensive tasks until I'm home

SureSignal is a great idea but I remember reading that the calls still come out of your allocated minutes. This seems a bit unfair given that you've paid for a box and are taking the strain off Vodafone's network and are effectively paying rental them for a service they are not entirely fulfilling. Obviously you're still using their network to connect the call on the other end but there should be some sort of benefit. Maybe a spearate more generous allowance of femtocell minutes.

Otherwise you may as well use Skype for free and skip the femtocell box altogether.

Can't belive that the iPhone accounts for over 30% of UK smartphones. There must be way more S60 devices around. Dare I say their owners don't think that they are very smart?


July 27, 2010, 4:15 pm

Would you like an app that accelerates your smartphone's data connection? Of course you would. Who's going to answer 'no' to that?

However, this is thinking small. What we really need is a better, faster 3G network and faster adoption of technologies like LTE.

Also, I'm pretty sure femtocells don't have anything to do with WiFi.


July 27, 2010, 4:51 pm

What I find disagreeable with the femtocells is that even though you're paying and providing the backhaul, 3G data isn't free like Wifi and there's no kind of discount on the termination fees or anything.

I think femtos should be given for free to all customers with more than 1 phone per household or business, and the extortionate termination fees the mobile providers collect as a result of the cost-saving the femtos give, subsidise them. If a network tries to charge for a femto, then the consumer should either be given completely free calls and data when transferred over the femto or the termination fee for calling the numbers handled by the femto are passed onto the customer.

Sorry mobile dinosaurs, you can't have your cake and eat it any more, and you have to up your game dramatically. There's absolutely no difference in mobile to fixed line broadband any more and providers just have to live without metered charges and provide unmetered voice and data like everyone else in the data transit industry.


July 29, 2010, 7:06 am

"All told, we certainly would welcome some kind of universal service that automatically switches mobile data and calling over to Wi-Fi whenever possible. Unfortunately we just don't see it happening any time soon."

Yes. IMO what's needed is to reduce phone companies to providers of internet connections, and use VOIP over cellular or wifi or whatever other internet connection is there.

Basically split up connection/phone service and number/hardware, both technically and economically. Of course these things should be packaged together at the point of sale to consumers.

dan pugh

July 29, 2010, 3:03 pm

uma would be the answer - orange do it via blackberry already if only apple/android could add support

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