British mobile operator Vodafone UK has unveiled plans to launch a consumer femtocell device and service on 1 July which it claims is the first of its kind in Europe. The device, which will be offered under the ‘Vodafone Access Gateway’ banner, will plug directly into any home broadband line in an attempt to improve indoor 3G coverage, and will be made by French-US vendor Alcatel-Lucent. Vodafone says that the device will work with all 3G handsets, and can support up to four voice calls at any one time. Femtocell service will be offered as part of an inclusive price plan from GBP15 (USD24.5) a month, or on some tariffs will be free of charge. Additionally the cellco will make it available as a one-off purchase costing GBP160. Commenting on the new device Ian Shepherd, consumer director at Vodafone UK, said: ‘The Vodafone Access Gateway will boost indoor mobile phone coverage for customers who today, find they need to move around the rooms in their home to get a consistent signal strength. We are committed to delivering the best, most reliable network and this is another step towards maintaining a seamless service.’
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