Getting Good Cell Phone Reception at Home

By: Christine Peppler

For many people, cell phone reception is poor at home. Not to worry though, most of us still have a landline that gives us outstanding reception there. Of course, that's an added cost, a separate number, additional phones, the inconvenience of two bills, and so forth.

Certainly, many people have employed boosters to try to improve their cell phone signal but these have very mixed results at home and certainly seldom result in the ability or desire to eliminate the additional expense of a landline phone.

However, there are at least a couple of potential solutions still evolving which may eliminate such issues. Both options function by shifting cellular calls to the user's broadband connection once they are home. In essence, these are VoIP calls but they are made via an individual's cellular provider so that there is a single bill and a seamless transition when shifting from a cellular connection to their IP service. This allows cell phone calls to proceed uninterrupted and the user doesn't have to do anything to shift the calls.

The first option, one used by the T-Mobile HotSpot @Home service, requires the use of a hybrid phone that can operate from both a cellular network and Wi-Fi. Calls are switched to Wi-Fi in the home and also in any HotSpot locations found in various retail and public facilities. Users must have a Wi-Fi/cellular phone and a wireless router at home. The cost of the T-Mobile HotSpot @ Home is $19.99/month when added to qualifying individual plans and $29.99/month when added to family plans. It gives users great reception and the ability to save on calls with unlimited nationwide calls over their Wi-Fi network day or night.

Another emerging option is the use of a "Femtocell"; a type of base station that connects to the users broadband connection allowing calls to be made from there. Currently, Sprint is offering these devices to customers in just a handful of test markets but may be poised to expand the program in the near future. This option gives users a greater selection of cell phones to choose from but does require the purchase of the Femtocell. The Sprint program is currently offering the devices for $50 and users then pay $15/month for unlimited calling.

Obviously, the additional monthly fee for either of these programs is significant over time but it is certainly less than what most users are paying for their current landline. For all of this to hit the broader market of course, other cellular providers will need to begin offering similar services. Verizon has indeed announced that it plans on introducing femtocells for their customers use before the end of 2008 and AT&T has been known to be researching the possibility for the past year. With all of this activity, it would appear that getting good call quality at home may no longer require a landline in the near future.

Cell Phones
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