Optus launches femtocell trial for home 3G

Optus has launched a commercial pilot of femtocell technology designed to boost its 3G network with a customer's own fixed-line broadband service in the home.

Optus has launched a commercial pilot of femtocell technology designed to boost its 3G network with a customer's own fixed-line broadband service in the home.

Femtocell

The Optus 3G Home Zone device (Credit: Optus)

The Optus 3G Home Zone — technology built by Alcatel-Lucent — plugs into a customer's fixed internet connection and allows 3G devices such as mobiles, tablets and mobile broadband devices to utilise the network to make calls or access the internet within a 30 metre radius.

Optus will be trialling this technology with customers in Sydney, Brisbane, Wollongong and the Gold coast, the telco's consumer marketing director Gavin Williams said.

"We believe femtocells are an important way of enhancing the customer experience of the Optus Open Network by acting as a wireless gateway into the home or office. The Optus 3G Home Zone will not only personalise the quality of mobile coverage in the home but has the potential to deliver relevant service benefits such as applications for social networking, entertainment and business," Williams said.

The gadget can connect up to four devices simultaneously, provided that they are authorised by the femtocell. Customers can use a portal to authorise access for up to 12 devices.

Optus recommends that the device only be connected to a fixed-line connection with a minimum download speed of 1Mbps and a minimum upload speed of 256kbps.

Upfront costs for the system range between $60 and $240 depending on whether it is prepaid or on a plan. Customers on plans for existing Optus devices will pay between $5 and $15 per month for the femtocell on a 12-month plan.

Optus will also be conducting a limited trial of the technology with its business customers using an Optus 3G Business Zone Femtocell.

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