By August 28, 2009

Is Vodafone Access Gateway good value?


I’ve been very interested in this Femtocell that has recently hit the streets in the last few months. Essentially it is a small mobile phone tower that you plug into your DSL router and it increases your mobile phone signal in the home or wherever you use it.

I see this device is A) incredibly useful and B) a con.

First I’ll deal with A. As a repeater the device is invaluable to those who, like me, who dance around the house like a ballerina looking for the tiniest bit of signal to send a text message. Perhaps you have a Smartphone with a twitter client that you have forgotten to turn off and the phone is struggling to get a signal on GPRS to update the feed. Buy this device you need never worry about signal again, in your home. £160 out right or £5 a month for the term of 24 months. Prices that are not that bad.

Now B. How is it a con? There are two reasons. One is obvious, you are buying a piece of equipment that is doing what the network should be providing you with. They have a tower quite close to you but it is on the other side of a hill. Your signal then suffers. If you call them, they have to do something in order to help you, you might be able to slip out of a contract as they cannot provide you with the service you are paying for. Rather than erect another tower, or have to increase the signal strength at cost to them, the easiest option is to push the customer towards this device, they are letting you pay to fix the problem.
The other con is the method it uses. Say for argument sake I had a capped 1gb DSL connection, not entirely unbelievable, I know someone who has. I have a 500mb data bundle in my contract. If I were to access the internet on my phone inside my house on GPRS, 3G or Edge, whatever data amount is used is deducted from both quotas. Every kilobyte you are using is being paid for twice. Despite using your DSL it is still taken from your data bundle. Obviously this does not cover the Wi-fi connection.

Whilst this is a good product initially, I would begrudge having to pay for their network’s shortcomings. I would also be annoyed that they are charging me to use my home DSL connection. I realise this is a tiny amount of data we are talking about but it’s the principal behind the matter.

Posted in: Phones

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Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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