BARCELONA: Vodafone is to launch a second version of its Sure Signal femtocell within the next month as the operator continues to target home workers, small businesses and consumers in 3G coverage black spots, V3.co.uk has learned.
The product will run an updated femtocell from wireless technology firm Picochip which allows up to four users to access the improved 3G coverage.
Rupert Baines, marketing manager at Picochip, told V3.co.uk at Mobile World Congress that the new PC302 system-on-a-chip reduces the device's power consumption and the build cost for Vodafone.
"This offers speeds of up to 14Mbit/s on the download and 2Mbit/s on the upload using HSUPA technology. It has the capabilities to offer larger data rates in the future, but most devices don't support the technology yet," he said.
The new femtocell has a smaller form factor than the previous version and will be launched in Ireland next week, the company said.
Vodafone confirmed the news and said the product would be ready for launch in the next month or two.
Baines also claimed that Picochip's femtocell technology offers a viable means of closing the digital divide, especially as other major firms start to push developments in the mobile internet space.
"By grabbing hold of a weak signal and broadcasting it over a range of up to two kilometres in a rural area you can significantly enhance coverage to bring mobile broadband to rural users or those in developing nations," he said.
"Using technology like ours, coupled with the Alcatel-Lucent LightRadio Cube unveiled last week, you could bring significant coverage improvements into villages and then homes in rural areas, or provide metro coverage in dense urban areas."
Picochip also showed off a working LTE demonstration running at 60Mbit/s over a USB dongle connection to deliver high-definition video hosted online.
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