Optus intros 3G Home Zone, Australia's first consumer femtocell

Friends down under: have you been craving a femtocell even more than that luscious vegemite sandwich sitting in your fridge? Undoubtedly you have, if your humble home was built squarely in a black hole of coverage. Optus has the perfect solution, but it's going to cost you; the new 3G Home Zone beefs up the signal in your abode, using your broadband connection to magically transform your dead zone into five bars of wireless heaven. All it takes is a fair amount of green stuff -- the upfront cost ranges from AU$60 to AU$240, but monthly installment plans are available -- and a minimum 1Mbps down / 256Kbps up broadband connection. Oh, and it's only available in select stores for now, so check to see if your neighborhood store has one in stock before squandering away what's left of your day. One last thing: in view of the fact that the 3G Home Zone sucks up data like a milkshake, it's a good idea to make sure a capped data plan won't leave you sidelined before the month is over. Full PR after the break.

[Thanks, James]

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Australia's relationship with the home phone set to change with new Femtocell technology
11 Apr 2011

Optus announced today that it had commenced the first Australian commercial pilot of a new wireless technology that is set to change Australia's relationship with their home phone. Australia's first commercially available Femtocell device for consumers has arrived with the launch of Optus 3G Home Zone.

Optus 3G Home Zone is the newest and simplest way for consumers and small business customers who want an alternative voice solution for the home or small office.

The Optus 3G Home Zone is a small device that customers can self-install, by plugging the device into their existing fixed broadband internet service. Once connected, the Home Zone unit provides Optus customers who use mobile phones, smartphones, tablet PCs and mobile broadband devices in the home or small business office with access to their own private and dedicated in-home mobile network.

Gavin Williams, Optus Consumer Marketing Director said, "Increasingly customers are abandoning their fixed line in favour of mobile plans which offer incredible value, such as the Timeless plans which Optus pioneered two years ago. As more customers use 3G mobile devices as their main service in the home or small business office, Optus has been investigating ways to ensure customers receive the best experience possible from their mobile service, both from a value and a network perspective.

"Australia's first commercial Femtocell pilot will provide valuable feedback from our customers on the multiple benefits of this technology. The device will be initially available in selected Optus stores in Sydney, Brisbane, Wollongong and the Gold Coast," Mr Williams said.

Optus 3G Home Zone will allow four simultaneous users to reliably make and receive calls and access 3G data services like email, internet browsing and social networking sites within a 30 metre radius of the Home Zone unit. The Optus 3G Home Zone can be easily activated through an online portal where customers can add and remove friends, family and colleagues to ensure everyone has a secure and dedicated signal within the home or small office environment.

"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," Mr Williams said.

Select Optus Business Enterprise customers are also participating in an Optus 3G Business Zone Femtocell trial.

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