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Vodafone Slashes Price & Rebrands Home Femtocell Box

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Remember the Vodafone Access Gateway? If not, then I suspect it's about to make a better impression second time around...

Now dubbed Vodafone 'Sure Signal' (definitely an improvement), there are two main points to now get across: 1. It uses Femtocell technology to boost the mobile phone reception in your home and, 2. It's now significantly cheaper.

Let's break down point one first. Sure Signal is a small plug-in box that connects to a router to tap directly into your broadband connection (1Mbit minimum speed required) and throws out a local net of 3G reception. As it relies on broadband it doesn't matter if you get no reception at all in your home because the Sure Signal box creates its own. Clever stuff. It can also be registered with up to 32 handsets and used by up to four handsets at any one time. Network problems begone!

Point two: originally the Gateway/Sure Signal box came in at a hefty £160 - or an extra £15pm onto a 12 month contract. Now it is eminently affordable at just £50 (or £5pm over 12 months) for users with price plans of £25pm or more. Less of a saving is the £120 cost (or £5pm over 24 months) for those with price plans under £25pm.

Unfortunately, however, there is a point three. The Sure Signal box can only be used with Vodafone and isn't unlockable - even at the end of a contract. Consequently, an entire household will need to be on Vodafone to all enjoy the benefit.

In theory there is also a point four: just change networks. There is normally at least one network which will have decent reception in your home so work out which that is and save yourself £50. Of course, that isn't always an option for those living in remote areas and for them this will prove a life saver.

Now if only someone could come up with an unlocked femtocell box...

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