How many times have you find yourself screaming into the phone “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW ?” as you walk around the building looking for signal ?
We have all done it.
Its got so bad that we know the exact spot in the office where we balance on a chair next to the window where we know there is 1 bar of signal so that we can get some connectivity.
The problem is that cell phone signals are severely effected by these things called WALLS which are an unfortunately necessity in buildings.
So what can you do ? How do you get your cell phone provider to provide you signal even when you are indoors ?
As promised during my interview on the ZA Tech Show – I have found the solution to our no-signal-no-coverage-problems:
Introducing Cel-Fi – the solution to your cell phone signal problem
In essence Cel-Fi as a cell phone signal booster. It comes with a Windows Unit and an Indoor Coverage Unit. Just plug in the Window Unit at any location in your office where you get get at least 1 bar of cell phone signal. The unit has an indicator on it that shows how strong the cell phone signal is. You then place the coverage Unit around the area where there is no cell phone signal. The Coverage units connects to the Window unit and as if by magic you now have signal. Simple as that.
Cel-Fi not only boosts the 3G data signal but also seems to provide better coverage for voice calls too.
The unit I tested was placed in an office that for security reasons is built like a safe. This means that this office has literally no signal whatsoever. When I placed the Cel-Fi it immediately provided coverage to that office in matter of minutes. Magic.
Where can you buy Cel-Fi ?
That is the bad news – you can’t. Cel-Fi can only be provided by the cell phone networks.
Why ? because as Paolo Marangon, General Manager: Mobility at Duxbury Networking explains “Regret it is “only” via the Operators due to regulatory law. ICASA view the spectrum as the exclusive domain of the licensees (Vodacom, MTN, Cell C & 8ta) & because of this only licensees can approve/own & allow equipment that transmits on their respective licenses.”
How you get one from the cell phone providers:
Cel-Fi is available from MTN & Vodacom who have type approved the Cel-Fi & are actively providing it to their subscribers. Cell C is in the type approval process with the dual band version. There is even a development underway for an LTE version for release in 2013.
MTN: Call the coverage Help Desk on 083 900 1212 & lodge the query & MTN planning & quality team then decide.
Vodacom: Subscribers need to call the Vodacom call centre on 082 111 & lodge their query & it gets addressed accordingly. They do have initiatives that are addressing poor coverage but not servicing everyone. It is a regional budget for repeater/booster equipment therefore the regions decide who gets Cel-Fi.
Cell C: Call centre on 084 140 & lodge the query & planning & quality team then decide.
On a related topic, make sure you install the gr8signal app from the Google Play store. This app shows and records signal strength, and then uses this collective information to create a coverage map for all South African cellular operators.