A sign of things to come, mobile phone network Vodafone has rebadged its Access Gateway as Vodafone Sure Signal, a device that allows users to improve their signal dramatically by plugging a box into their office or home broadband line.
The Sagem-built VGS is available for Vodafone users and other networks won't be able to use it although it is compatible with all other 3G handsets (ed: what about Vodafone's MVNOs?).
The Sure Signal costs £50 for price plans of £25 or above and £120 for price plans under. Users will need to have a broadband line of 1mbps or more and we'd advised you to use a fixed broadband line rather than mobile one.
Guy Laurence, Vodafone UK CEO, confirmed that Sure Signal will be unique to Vodafone and will provide Vodafone customers with a guaranteed coverage. Four handsets can use it at the same time with a whopping 32 handsets that can be registered on it (great in the office).
That said, you will ALL need to be on Vodafone to benefit from it AND the VGS is not unlockable at the end of the contract. A Vodafone user confirmed that you'd still be using your contract minutes for voice and contract data allowance even if it is routed via your ADSL connection.
Femtocells are a lazy network's way to boost network performance since it is the customers themselves that bear the cost. They have to install it themselves and provide power to it. Furthermore, they'd be paying for the box in the first place as well as the broadband costs. Expect others to follow suit soon.