Vodafone Sure Signal...one Week on.I picked up a Vodafone Sure Signal yesterday. This is the product that you might have seen advertised by a picture of a man hanging out of the window to use his mobile phone. Until yesterday that man was me! A combination of living in a rural area with weak mobile signals to start with and work done to our house that involved the roof being filled with insulation material coverned in metal foil means that we have mobile signals varying from nothing to weak in our house. Calls go to voicemail, texts take ages to arrive and come along like buses in bunches of three and if you want to make a call then you need to go outside or hang out of that window!
The Vodafone Sure Signal (formerly know as Access Gateway) is basically a very small 3G cell site (femtocell for the technically minded). It plugs into your broadband router and then operates as a mini cell site for your house allowing only the phones (up to 32) that you register to use the cell. Up to 4 phones can use the cell at any one time and it works for both voice and data.
Now these have been around for a few months now but Vodafone has just renamed the device, started the adverts with the guy hanging out of the window and most importantly seriously dropped the price. If you have a Vodafone contract of £25 or more then this costs £50 one off or £5 a month for 12 months on your bill. Once you have bough the box there are no more charges and I should think not as it uses your own broadband connection to work. Calls, texts and data are charged at your usual rate.
So having bought the device and registered it online I got the device home, plugged it into the mains and my router waited quite a while for the various lights to flash on and off (this took around half an hour). Eventually my phone showed full strength 3G and I was able to make calls and use data.
The only slight difficulty I had was the silly web registration form that kept complaining I hadn't agreed to the Terms and Conditions as I frantically tried to click on the box. After messing around and even downloading Firefox 3.6 in case it was the browser I found a forum post indicating I had to click on the terms and conditions hyperlink, scroll to the end of the terms and then click Agree. This really should be fixed as it spolis what was otherwise a really straightforward process.
This is an excellent and extremly useful product and good value for money at this price. I wonder if the other networks will now launch similar products or if I can now up the power and let my neighbours use my cell for a small fee.....
Please see later blog post Vodafone Sure Signal...one Week on.