Vodafone femtocell: customers sponsoring giant telco?

Recently I got an advertorial brochure for Vodafone‘s (re-)launched Sure Signal service (previously called Access Gateway).

The service involves Vodafone sending me a piece of hardware that I plug into my broadband connection, which tunnels 3G traffic back onto Vodafone’s network. This helps me, and anyone in the immediate area, get a better signal on the Vodafone network.

I was intrigued. I was wondering how much Vodafone would pay me for hosting this cell on my property for the purposes of enhancing their service.

But no. Vodafone want to charge me £50 for this. And it’s only that cheap because I’m already paying a huge monthly rate, otherwise it’d be £120. Eh?

Let me see if I get this straight. The device is using my electricity and my broadband connection, and its purpose is to improve Vodafone in situations where their existing signal is poor. Surely the value proposition is going the wrong way around, here?

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  1. It only improves the signal for you and your friends and family – not “anyone in the immediate area”. You can decide who can use your personal 3G cell.

    • pauliharman
    • January 22nd, 2010

    Oh. So it does (http://online.vodafone.co.uk/dispatch/Portal/appmanager/vodafone/wrp?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=template12&pageID=PPP_0162)

    Well, um, that makes it quite different really doesn’t it. Charging for this makes more sense in that case, although it does still seem a little steep. Is it reasonable for Vodafone to ask its customers to pay extra to boost their personal signal… I guess the alternative is Vodafone getting all customers to subsidise the installation of equipment for remote subscribers.

    Are Vodafone missing a trick here – a reduced cost femtocell for customers who are willing to throw it open?

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