[it wire] Optus has formally launched its femtocell offering, first introduced as a commercial pilot with limited availability in April, under the name Optus 3G Home Zone.
Despite the ballyhoo around the event - which was billed as ""the biggest development in home telephony for decades," and described by the managing director of Optus Consumer, Michael Smith as "the biggest challenge to the Australian home phone since services began nearly 130 years ago" - there were no major differences from the pilot offering, except pricing and wider availability.
For some customers it got better: the unit is now $5 per month on a $59 per month plan and above where it was $79 and above previously. And for others it has got worse. For lower cost plans and for prepaid customers the unit now costs $15 per month. Previously $49 plan customers could get it for $10 per month.
The other good news is that a $59 per month user and above can get unlimited calls to standard national and mobile Australian numbers.
Up to 12 Optus mobiles can be registered to the femtocell and up to four can use it simultaneously but only one can get the unlimited calls. Anyone accessing the Internet from their mobile phone or wireless broadband devices through the femtocell will consume both their mobile broadband data quota and that of their fixed line broadband service.
The service is available in all capital cities and "many major town centres throughout Australia." It works on any ISP's broadband service but Optus says a minimum of 1Mbps/512Mbps is needed to support four users and a minimum of 128/128kbps for a single user, and ADSL1 plans are not suitable.
When users make a call if it is routed through the femtocell they will hear three beeps, and if they move out of range of the cell the call will hand over to the main Optus mobile network. However calls initiated on the main network will remain on that network.
Optus makes 3G Home Zone femtocell widely available