Optus 3G Home Zone
Optus 3G Home Zone review: The Optus 3G Home Zone should ensure you have close to full mobile coverage in and around the home, but it does come at a cost
- Relatively straightforward set-up
- Works as advertised
- Free call offer for primary user
- Expensive for $49 plans and under
- Uses ISP data
- Range varies depending on dwelling
The Optus 3G Home Zone generally does what it advertises, providing close to full reception for nominated Optus mobiles, and the free call offer for the primary user is a nice enticement. However, we feel it should be cheaper for uses on $49 plans and under.
Price$ 120.00 (AUD)
Optus is the first telco in Australia to utilise a femtocell product, and it's called the Optus 3G Home Zone. It's a small base station that plugs into your existing wireless router and uses a fixed-line broadband Internet connection to boost mobile coverage in your home. The Optus 3G Home Zone is relatively straightforward to set up and does what it advertises, but it will use a small portion of your monthly data quota if your ISP is not Optus.
The Optus 3G Home Zone is advertised by Optus as a solution to its customers with poor reception in and around their home. Once connected and set-up, the 3G Home Zone should typically provide full Optus mobile coverage within a 30 metre range for up to four users at a time.
The device is fairly straightforward to set-up, though the 3G Home Zone needs to be registered and activated online before being switched on. This is achieved through a dedicated Optus Web page, whereby you enter your personal and address details, nominate a primary Optus mobile number to use with the device, and set up a username and password to access your account. Once you've completed the setup online, Optus says it can take up to an hour for the 3G Home Zone to become registered, and ready for use. Our review device was ready to go about 40 minutes after registration, though the unit itself did take over 20 minutes after being switched on to register correctly.
You don't need Optus as your ISP to use the 3G Home Zone, but Optus recommends that the device be connected to a broadband service with a minimum download speed of 1Mbps — if the speed is capped at 128kbps or lower, the device will no longer work. Optus says the 3G Home Zone has a typical data usage of around 1GB per month, though this is "highly variable" depending on the home situation, and the number of users connected to the service. Users with Optus broadband will not have the data used by the 3G Home Zone counted towards their monthly quota.
Once up and running, a single Optus 3G Home Zone device can connect four Optus devices (mobile phones and mobile broadband products) simultaneously. You can register up to 12 devices through the Optus Web portal, but only four can be used at a time. You'll know if you are connected to 3G Home Zone when you make a call with an assigned mobile, as three short beeps are sounded just before an outgoing call is connected.
We tested the service with an iPhone 3GS and the 3G Home Zone worked well. Without the device our mobile usually hovered on two bars of reception throughout the home, but this was raised to the full five bars in most areas of the house with the 3G Home Zone in use. We found the 30 metre range a little off though: in most cases, the signal started to deteriorate around 25 metres away from the unit. Obviously the results will vary depending on the design and construction of the home of office in question.
Aside from the boost in coverage, a nice feature is the fact that the allocated primary user of the Optus 3G Home Zone is able to make unlimited standard national voice calls to fixed or mobile numbers for the $5 a month the device costs. Only the primary, allocated user will be able to use the offer, but you can change the primary phone from month to month if you wish.
Optus sells the 3G Home Zone to customers on plans of $59 per month or higher for $5 a month. Consumers on plans of $49 per month or below are charged $15 per month for the device, which in our opinion seems a little overpriced — especially when you consider that users on these lower plans aren't eligible for the unlimited free calls offer.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- 3 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 4 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Australian broadband speed ranking drops again despite NBN rollout
- Rowland says govt supressing unflattering NBN information
- nbn grows customer base, but suffers EBITDA loss
- [Updated] Labor has ruled out a Royal Commission into the NBN
- NBN: Labor to offer ‘greater proportion of fibre’, still not sold on FTTN
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTProduct Manager (IT Clinical Systems) - Permanent - Syd, Melb or BrisbNSW
- TPTrim Helpdesk AnalystVIC
- FTApplication Services AdministratorNSW
- FTAudio Visual / Video Solution Architect | $100 p/hrVIC
- CCSolution Architect - Audio Visual/Video DomainVIC
- CCSoftware ManagerVIC
- TPSenior Project Officer HSQQLD
- FTSenior Project AnalystVIC
- TPBusiness Analyst - Qld Health - Short term contractQLD
- FTWeb Developers - .Net DevelopersNSW
- TPFront-End DeveloperNSW
- FTSecurity Support Manager - Perth BasedNSW
- CCSystems Specialist - Network Systems l Port MacquarieNSW
- FTSenior Infrastructure Business AnalystVIC
- TPBusiness Project ManagerNSW
- CCTibco Integration Specialist l Port MacquarieNSW
- FTNetwork Engineer - CCNP - WeipaQLD
- FTTelecommunications Provisioning LeadQLD
- TPTechnical Support Officer (Unix/Linux, Windows and Mac)VIC
- TPLevel 2-3 Helpdesk OfficerQLD
- CCIT Information ArchitectNSW
- FTHelpdesk AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Network Architect l CCNP/CCIE R&S l Cisco ACINSW
- FTSenior Business Analyst Forecaster - TelecommunicationsNSW