UK-based tech firm Picochip has come up with a new solution to the problem of poor network coverage which blights mobile phone users in rural areas around the country.
Called a Femtocell, the device is a small box that plugs into a broadband router and can then boost the signal throughout an entire household and beyond, making mobile calling possible in areas currently neglected by carriers.
The Femtocell technology allows for 3G data transfer as well as voice calling and other typical mobile phone communication options and it is likely to help out those living in the worst affected areas of Wales and Scotland where over 60 per cent of residents have no access to adequate network coverage.
According to a report from analyst firm Heavy Reading, nearly 20 per cent of all UK citizens live or work in an area with little or no network coverage.
A spokesperson for the firm also praised the Femtocell technology itself, saying that the coverage within the average home would improve drastically and that the performance and range of the network was more impressive that current Wi-Fi technology.
The main issue potentially limiting the success of Femtocells is the price of the devices, which is likely to exceed £160.
Experts believe that the technology has the potential to become hugely popular, but that to achieve the desired level of success the price point must be brought down to below the £100 mark before consumers will be tempted to take the plunge.
Picochip, the company behind the Femtocell devices, is hoping to offer customers on all mobile networks in the UK the chance to purchase a compatible receiver for their homes in 2010, although for the time being only Vodafone customers can take advantage of the technology.
Three quarters of the major mobile networks in the USA already offer Femtocell technology to their customers.
The only requirements of activation are an active broadband connection and a registered account with a network; no changes to the mobile phones are necessary, which minimises the complexity of the initial set-up.