Vodafone To Use Outdoor Femtocells To Eliminate Notspots

Mobile network operator Vodafone will ask 12 rural communities scattered all over the UK to come forward and take part in trials that will see femtocells being spread in a bid to improve 3G connectivity.

This, Vodafone says, would be an extension of an ongoing trial held in West Berkshire which is currently done in partnership with BT.

The trial will start next year and will see the use of "Open Femto" technology, which are ruggedised outdoor femtocells located in payphones, pubs, social clubs in village halls and even in post offices.

Eventually, the femtocells will even find their place on telephone poles installed by BT's Openreach.

Vodafone is teaming up with network infrastructure specialist Alcatel-Lucent to deliver the technology that will build on Vodafone's own Sure Signal scheme.

The company told IT Pro that it will be writing to MPs who have shown an interest in coverage and broadband roll out in rural areas, and will ask them to come up a list of possible candidates with the help of local communities.

The news comes as a report from Ofcom published today highlights the work that still remains to be done in order to roll out 3G across the land.