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Vodafone To Debut Access Gateway Femtocell Device

Vodafone has introduced a tiny peripheral that will help customers who have had bad reception and network coverage as well as inconsistent signal strength in their households.

The world's largest network operator uses femtocell technology in the Access Gateway and customers can plug into any broadband line to improve the network's service. The device itself will go on sale for £160 although existing customers will get it free when subscribing to a monthly contract of £15 or more.

The Vodafone Access Gateway (VAG) is similar in size to a router and will be available from the 1st of July. It works with all 3G mobile phones and will support up to four voice calls simultaneously.

Ian Shepherd, Consumer Director at Vodafone UK, said in a statement that "The Vodafone Access Gateway will boost indoor mobile phone coverage for customers who find they need to move around the rooms in their home to get a consistent signal strength".

VAG uses technology from picoChip and will also provide with more advanced features like call routing. Customers can register online the mobile numbers they want linked to the Vodafone Access Gateway and within 24 hours the full service will be ready and working.

It is unknown whether other network operators will follow suit and release their own network-enhancing devices.

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Our Comments

Unbeknown to many, Vodafone sells traditional fixed/landline broadband for £25 per month including line rental. It is very likely that other network operators will be flogging Femtocell devices sooner or later as this may provide them with more flexibility when it comes to covering "notspot" areas. BT has already almost than 200,000 devices scattered across the UK which provides with WiFi capabilities.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.