M1 to plug 3G gaps in homes, offices using "femtocell" service

M1 customers with little or no 3G connections at home or in the office may be able to find quick relief in a new service aimed at plugging the connection gaps.

The telco will be rolling out what it calls a "small cell" or "femtocell" solution that involves tapping a home or office's existing fixed broadband connections to provide smartphone users with undisrupted 3G links.

It is the latest among the three telcos to offer the solution which provides immediate relief for 3G woes even as telcos face difficulties in accessing buildings to install base stations to boost indoor signals. A base station transmits and receives signals from users' cellphones within a defined radius.

"A femtocell is a small, low-power mobile base station that allows you to use your phone as though you were in the street," said Mr Patrick Scodeller, M1's chief operating officer in a media release on Tuesday. "It's like having your personal base station at home," he added. The telco will be investing $5 million to $20 million, including upgrades to its mobile network, to roll out the service by September, M1 said Tuesday.