flOptus and the pico cell

By | 2011/08/08

In the last week, Optus has made a great hoorah about the availability of a new product for their customers – the pico cell. This is advertised as the “Optus 3G Home Zone”, and has an attractive page on Optus’ website advertising it here.

On that page, we’re breathlessly told:

The new Optus 3G Home Zone is simple to install, secure, gives you up to 5 bars of signal and is compatible with all Optus 3G phones and Optus 3G mobile broadband devices. That’s something to smile about!

Wow … five bars of signal? Whatever will they think of next!?

If we check out the “How to buy” link, we’re told that the “Optus 3G Home Zone” costs as little as $5 per month. That’s assuming you have a current Optus phone where you’re paying more than $59 per month, of course.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a pico cell is a mini device that plugs into your home ADSL network, consumes some of your bandwidth, and provides a miniature 3G cell to registered IMEIs/handsets within a range around your house.

It’s like having a cell tower, in your living room. Albeit a very small cell tower. AT&T in the US certainly pioneered the pushing of these devices – and primarily for one reason: because their network sucked. Rather than actually installing more base stations and cell towers, AT&T came up with the plan to have users pay more to get coverage they were already paying for.

Optus, it seems, has decided to go down the same track.

So here’s the deal, flOptus – instead of charging users more to deliver the same services you already should be delivering, why don’t you actually just boost your cell tower coverage and capabilities?

Don’t mind me if I stick to Telstra – where I don’t need an added device sitting in my living room in order to get full service.

Henceforth, when I think of Optus, I’ll be thinking flOptus, thank you very much.


  • I don’t work for Telstra, I don’t have any affiliation with them other than as an end user.
  • Telstra 3G signal in the Melbourne CBD sucks balls. There, I criticised Telstra too 🙂