Ask LH: What Are My Options For Improving Home Mobile Reception?

Dear Lifehacker, I remember reading (I think it was Lifehacker) about a device from Optus that, if you have poor reception, allows you to divert you mobile through your home internet. Have you guys heard of anything of this kind? Cheers, Bad Reception

Dear Bad Reception,

Your memory is correct: we wrote earlier this month about Optus’ launch of femtocell technology, and you can read the details on the original post. The Optus scheme is currently only available in metropolitan NSW and Queensland, but is likely to extend to other locations over time. Vodafone also has a similar scheme, though right now that’s only available to business customers.

We haven’t yet had the chance to test either of these options yet, but one point is worth making. A fairly common reaction to this technology is along these lines: “Why should I pay extra and use my own home broadband just to fix mobile reception? That’s the responsibility of the network, and I shouldn’t have to pay more.” That’s understandable, but slightly unfair.

If you’re on a network which works badly everywhere you go, then you’ve definitely got grounds for complaint. But if you have bad reception just in your home, that’s more likely to be because of a quirk of architecture, rather than because the network itself is a problem. In those circumstances, having an option to ensure your mobile phone does work when you’re at home could be a better choice than giving up altogether, especially if the network suits you in other locations and you’re happy with the price.


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