back to article Americans get indoor iPhones

Femtocells have arrived on the AT&T network in the USA, or "microcells" as it prefers to call them. Whatever the name, they will still offer 3G connectivity for iPhone users from the comfort of their own home, and over their own broadband. Base stations are getting increasingly complicated - tiny-cell specialist ip.access has …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Why don't iPhone users use

    SIP/VoIP solutions. Oh yes, that's why. Their monopoly on what programs you can install doesn't allow competition with money grabbing mobile operators. Silly me.

    I might be silly but not as silly as forgetful-knickers

  2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Wireless legal obstacles

    "No matter how easy it is to install these cells, such installations are still the responsibility of the network operator - who owns the licence to use that spectrum."

    Tis a pity that mobile handsets aren't equiped with a consumer wireless technology, such as bluetooth, allowing it to talk to a whatever-cell that is plugged into the cell owners LAN and from there VoIP to the rest of the world. Oh, hang on, they are.

    So what's missing? Is it just a matter of plonking appropriate software on handsets and routers? Why are we farting about with cells and SI prefixes? Why is my existing router at home not already able to provide a service for my existing handset?

    Oh, and can we please stuff a bird-shit-coated VHF antenna up the arse of the marketroid who came up with "super-femto"? Pretty please?

  3. Jimmy Floyd

    Crime and punishment

    As I understand it, the 51 weeks / 6 months prison threat would be for foreigners bringing their own little mobile network into the UK. Brits could quite happily go to a more deregulated (or give-a-shit) country to avoid high call costs. It all depends on who has jurisdiction at any one point.

    Does this mean that the operators of highly regulated countries would suffer because they couldn't charge when their customers go abroad? Or would those lax countries that don't care about radio spectrum licences reduce their revenue because visitors wouldn't be paying THEM to jump on their network?

    Whatever. I doubt the current technology will hang around long enough for anyone to care.

  4. Adam Foxton
    Thumb Down

    Why iPhones?

    Why only iPhones? Why not Nokias or SEs or Blackberries or Google phones or HTCs? Surely a Femtocell/picocell/whatever allows a 3G connection between the phone and the base station, and this is a standard?

    Or is this just a "Ooh, the iPhone's awesome. It's the ONLY 3G phone, don't you know. 3G- brought to you by Apple" type article?

    Oh, wait- I get it. Apple don't like you using VOIP over WiFi. So anyone else (you know, with a decent phone that's not been deliberately crippled) could connect to a WiFi router- doing the same thing, but faster/cheaper and without the geo-location issues and use the VOIP from there to make a cheap phone call. And wireless APs are smaller.

  5. Matt Martin

    51 weeks?

    Surely not, wouldn't it be the penalty in the country you have visited and operated in without a licence rather than the home nations sanctions?

  6. Stu

    So what happens... your phone bill when your mobile phone (incl all non-iPhones) decides that the 3G signal from the big transceiver towers is of a more powerful signal than your own picocell, connects to that instead, and you end up unwittingly paying T-Mobile or whoever full-whack mobile rates?

    Its not like your phone tells you which cell you're connected to without specialised software.


    Would not surprise me in the slightest if this sort of thing is a distinct possibility what with the nature of radio signals. We must all have seen how screwy WiFi can be at times and in certain places, and its not like the network operators will mind.


    If I were to put such a system in place myself, I'd insist on a piece of software for my phone which ensures I'm connected to the picocell when *I* specify I'm within range.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GPS hacking

    Hope they remember to encrypt that GPS data that their sending over MY network.

  8. Ian Ferguson

    An alternative

    If you're desperate to use your iPhone abroad, download the Skype client fring, and take a WiFi base station with you instead. All the benefits - none of the hassle. (except of course if people call your phone number rather than your skype number)

    Of course, the networks could make life for all of us easier by playing nicely with each other and removing the ridiculously high and unnecessary roaming charges. And pigs might fly.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    What is the f***ing point?

    "offer 3G connectivity for iPhone users from the comfort of their own home, and over their own broadband"

  10. hugo tyson

    GPS in cells x 10^-18

    AIUI home phone cells have to have GPS (in the USA) so they can broadcast their location as required by the CDMA standard and return it to the provider control systems as required by the E911 find-the-handset system.

    Of course one could require the owner to type in the location - correctly - using the configuration browser interface, but would they? No.

    - Huge

  11. Chris Eaton

    Its not VOIP

    am sure that actually your 3G calls will still be billed by your network -its just this will allow you to get 3G speeds indoors.

    it is a shame because mobile internet dongles could really use such a boost and these are customer trying to avoid having lline broadband

  12. B

    Easssy buddy

    @Adam Foxton

    "Or is this just a "Ooh, the iPhone's awesome. It's the ONLY 3G phone, don't you know. 3G- brought to you by Apple" type article?"

    Is your comment one of those "Ooh, the iPhone's a terrible crippled phone. It's the ONLY bad phone in the world, don't you know. Bad phones- brought to you by Apple" type comment?

    Get over your whiny attitude already. Your anti-Apple fanbois stench is a bit overpowering.

    --Written from my iPhone. The best phone I have ever seen or used.

  13. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: What is the f***ing point?

    "offer 3G connectivity for iPhone users from the comfort of their own home, and over their own broadband"

    The point is that if your broadband is coming over cable, you might not then have any need for a telephone landline. That's quite a substantial saving in the UK. I dunno about other parts of the world.

  14. Jerome

    Prison or Scotland?

    "nothing but the threat of 51 weeks in prison (in England, six months in Scotland)"

    I'm certainly not risking the threat of six months in Scotland just to use an iPhone abroad.

  15. Carl Wainwright

    RE: So what happens...

    When you are connected to the "picocell" or "femtocell" the phone will have a different identifier showing on the Screen (called an Alpha Tag).

    So if you were on the picocell and the operator was O2, you may see "O2 - pico" perhaps. If not then you are camping on a Macro cell.

    Also any traffic flowing between the picocell and the network will over an encrypted communications channel. I would not expect anything different...Hacker's would have a field day otherwise.

  16. Neoc
    Thumb Down

    Stupid idea

    So, let me get this straight... I live on Oz, where Broadband is capped (assuming you can get it - no-one has laid cables for the last 10-odd years and Telstra couldn't be bothered upgrading the copper).

    So not only am I going to get charged by my phone company for the phone-calls I make, but my ISP will bill me for the data I transmit via broadband...

    Wow.... I get to pay twice for a single phonecall. Or maybe more - do I also get to pay my ISP for the calls other make on my femtocell?

    Goody. Must get me one of these. </sarcasm>

    Oh, and I agree with some of the comments above - I don't know (nor do I care) if the iPhone is "the ultimate phone" or not, but mentioning the iPhone specifically on a generic-3G article stinks of... I'm not sure what, but I couldn't see the point.

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