Improving mobile phone signal in the house

As we now have 4 mobiles on the 20 euro tariff and they all have free calls to UK and French landlines and free calls to French mobiles (plus plenty of other stuff) I would like to be able to use them in the house as this could mean I can scrap the landline entirely.

The problem is, the mobile reception inside the house isn't good enough to provide consistent quality.

There are a couple of ways to improve the signal as far as I am aware, femtocells and signal repeaters.

The first being an additional service that your cell phone company may supply whereby the signal is routed via your existing wi-fi connection. I don't know if French operators provide this service and where it is available I understand it to be a chargeable extra.

A pricier but one time expense option is a 3G signal repeater. This requires that you do at least have a signal somewhere in the house or you may even be able to place the unit or antenna on an outside wall. The more reliable/consistent signal from the static antenna is then transmitted inside, it may even be amplified although I'm not sure about that.

Has anyone had success or otherwise with any of this technology?




Yes I did :) What a pillock

The femto came from SFR - as in the link above. I think you have confused the fact that I said a 'free' box that I plug into my Neufbox, as in gratuit - not a Freebox.

Hi Tracy, I'e got my Freebox but I'm confused! Where did you get your femtocell from?

And what speed broadband do you get? Do you have the gray router or black one? Thanks!

Its a little box that I plug into the neufbox. Apparently if you have the latest SFR box it attaches to it seamlessly?

Tracy, is that part of your router or some add on device?

I moved from Free as my ISP to Orange and connection speed tripled. I was a Free fan for many years as they were the first to offer free overseas calls but time moved on. My main complaint with them was the support, any problem took ages to get resolved and normally involved people with more untilegible accents that mine (when speaking French).

People around us that have Free as their mobile operator complain that the signal is weak/non existant.

I've been looking at changing since this post started, but people have warned me not to touch Free with a bargepole! Why would that be, anyone know?

I'm pretty miffed at Orange who had an upgrade offer for my iphone 3G to a 5 for 79.99. I went into the shop to check it out and the price instore was 119.99 and the saleswoman said wait for a better offer so I didn't do it, then found I'd missed the cut-off date and it's now 369.90!

Hence the desire to change to a better deal all round.

hi James

sorry couldnt reccomend a repeater as i have no direct experience , but would always advise checking which networks work best when friends visit - or use a UK mobile and manually select networks to gauge the difference in signal inside the property , Bouyges is typically better in the towns / cities . SFR & Orange more even coverage in rural areas.Once you know then switch to the best network .


Maybe I should switch broadband to Free, thanks Tracy

My free (included in contract) Femto is smaller than the Neufbox and works a treat? Gone from 2/1 bars to 5,even works in the garden.

Can you recommend a repeater Steve?

change to a network with coverage !

i used to work in telecoms and this issue was massive in the uk 10 years ago when the signal was pants , a proper femtocell as used in the back of the phone stores to "prove " how good the signal is would cost thousands to install and is a chunky item that would look a bit odd in your house.

as for other options like repeaters - buy from amazon as they normally have 30 day return policy.

Orange's mobile/voip service is called Open Up (or Open Top) H+. Open Up monthly charge is €59.99 with a 12 month contract if you keep your mobile, or 69.99 + 24 month contract with a new mobile. I think you still have to pay the FT line charge, so there doesn't appear to be much of a gain in it.

Is Free a better option? I'd very much like and need to reduce telephony costs.

SFR Femto is available for anyone, not just SFR customers. Works for up to 10 mobiles, ordered on line abd it arrived 3 days later. Is free on my contract with SFR, dont know the regular price though.

Orange's femto is provided with the 3G UMA WiFi Service, they have pushed it a bit with us but we are a clear line and only a few hundred metres from the nearest mast so have no reason to want it. Our neighbour is with Bouygues but the one they provided last year was, in his opinion, useless unless they were indoors quite close to it which defeated the point for them.

Hi James

I know SFR provides a femto cell, and I believe Bouygues and Orange do too, but generally only to their own mobile customers of course. I did read that Free was also going to offer free femtos to its customers but you'd need to ask them. I used a femto cell in the UK from Vodafone and it was very good - we were in a basement flat and had terrible mobile phone reception, but after connecting the femto to the cable Internet router we had no further problems. I have not tried this in France, but in principle if you have a decent broadband connection you should be fine (!)



Orange used to offer a WiFi option for their customers that subscribed to both mobile phone and internet services, not sure if it is still available.

A friend has a repeater in his flat in London but he was quite disapointed. He found that changing his phone made much more of a difference. He had problems with both a Blackberry and an HTC X1 but now has a Motorola Razor that picks up a signal everywhere in his flat.

As for us we don't even have a 3G signal in the village so there is no point in getting a repeater !