It's amazing how fast you can lose 3G signal in a building – we've had experiences where we could see a phone mast through a window, yet couldn't even get a single lousy bar on our phone. Kineto Wireless' ‘Signal Boost' app aims to cure these ills, by hijacking Wi-Fi networks for calls and texting.
The Kineto Wireless Signal Boost app comes pre-installed on select handsets (see end of article for a full list), and can be used by existing Orange customers here in the UK. Using it is simple as pie. When you're connected to a Wi-Fi network, the Signal Boost icon flashes up on your notification bar and your signal bars will grey out. Just like this, in fact:
When the house is green, it means you're good to go. Any calls, texts and web stuff from this point will be relayed over the Wi-Fi network instead of 3G. Unfortunately, unlike calls made over Skype, these will still eat into your monthly minute and text allowance.
We tested Signal Boost over our work network, and call quality on the whole was strong. We could clearly make out the other person, and were clearly heard too. Quality was still fine when we roamed away from the Wi-Fi router, although there was a lot of crackling at one point near the edge of the network's range.
When we strayed too far the call simply cut out, instead of swapping back onto 3G. We were expecting an audible warning as promised in the release, but over a number of tests the call simply ended. After a pause, the phone then picked up the 3G signal again.
If your home or office is a 3G signal black hole and you still need to make standard phone calls with your number, the Signal Boost app is a great solution. We imagine small businesses would get the most from it. Of course, for friendly chats we personally still prefer Skype - you may have to set up an account, but it's completely free to use, available on all handsets, and you can get some video chat on the go.
Compatible mobile phones: HTC Desire S, HTC Wildfire S, HTC Cha Cha, LG Optimus One, LG ME, Orange Monte Carlo, Orange Barcelona, Orange Stockholm