New "Femtocell" Base Station Could Make Roaming Cheaper

A UK-based company called Ubiquisys has unveiled a network base station that is so small that it can be moved around as easily as a smartphone.

The "attocell" only needs an internet connection and a computer with a USB port to function. Its broadcasting power is so low that you will be able to use it in many countries with stringent rules like America without having to apply for a licence.

The "attocell" is opposite to Mi-Fi devices in that they turn the data to standard cellular signals and not the other way round.

Vodafone has pioneered Femtocells in the UK and sells them as under the name "sure signal". Ubiquisys says that the device will analyse the IP address and radio environment to determine which country it is in and adjust its power output accordingly so that it always transmits below the licenced level.

The device is compatible with most smartphones on the market and Ubiquisys says that it is already in talks with a number of mobile phone operators in the UK.

Not surprisingly though, the onus to check about the legality of such a gadget would rest on the consumer rather than on the operator. Ubiquisys has yet to say when the Attocell would go on sale and for what price.