We live in a country where we have almost 100% GSM coverage, outside. Because our houses are so good isolated sometimes that it can be hard to get those GSM signals inside the house. That’s why I love Vodafone’s initiative to sell tiny femto-cells in the Netherlands. A Femto-cell is kind of putting your own GMS- transmitter inside your house. But this time it does not connect you to Vodafone through the GSM-network, but through you broadband connection. I can’t wait for the other providers to supply these femto-cells.
It is hard for a lot of people to understand the working of these things as you can read in the forums of my sourced websites. The difference between WiFi, GSM, 3G, internet, broadband and other terms is sometimes hard to get. Simply put: you get a broadband connection from your ISP that provides you internet access. In order to use that on a laptop in the house you either connect that laptop Wired or Wireless (WiFi) to your broadband router. You than have a Smartphone, or other phone. This one connect via GSM (2G) or 3G to your telephony provider. But sometimes it is hard to get a good signal in the house. That is where this Femto-cell comes in. You connect it via your broadband connection to Vodafone and from that moment your GSM/3G coverage is great. You can use that connection for voice call, sms, but also internet over GSM/3G. For companies that use their own APN on Vodafone’s network this is great. Employees can get business email and other data at home again, where this was not possible when there was almost no coverage in the house.
Can this be used to avoid roaming costs outside the Netherlands? In theory yes, but I expect some technical limitations to block it and there sure will be problems with foreign telecoms laws. Because you will be transmitting GSM without a license and you are providing a network that (should) not exist in that country.
This Vodafone clip in Dutch explains it all: