Vodafone unveils ‘instant’ Wi-Fi

Telco targets digital households and small businesses with new mobile router for use cases including support for video calling, streaming and online learning

Vodafone has launched Gigacube B818, a wireless mobile router for consumers and businesses that turns the operator’s 4G network into a Wi-Fi network.

The device is being marketed as a flexible alternative to “standard broadband” that allows customers to benefit from high-speed internet access in areas without fixed-line broadband. Connecting up to 64 devices, the Gigacube B818 is said to be “perfect” for busy digital households and small businesses.

Capable of handling maximum speeds of up to 1.6Gbps download and 150Mbps upload, the device has a Wi-Fi range of 250 metres and can offer customers up to 300GB of data per month.

Vodafone said it wants to tap into extended lockdown periods that will not only see increased remote working, but also a spike in home learning as UK schools are closed for an indefinite period. At a time when families are primarily working and learning from home, the high-speed router offers a simple and flexible way to get connected, it said.

Vodafone added that being a “true plug-and-play device”, the Gigacube B818 can be situated anywhere in a home office and is ideal for people who run a small business, have a second home or a home office. It is also said to be particularly useful for businesses that do not have a fixed location, and for families who are all working from home and need additional broadband support.

For businesses that also want fixed broadband, Vodafone is offering 12 months’ free broadband across the UK until 28 February 2021, on a 36-month plan to all businesses with one to 50 employees, including existing Vodafone customers who are eligible to upgrade.

Vodafone’s launch comes just days after UK cable broadband provider Virgin Media announced Wi-Fi access devices to work with a new broadband access system to bring up to three times faster in-home wireless speeds.

Virgin Media’s Intelligent WiFi Plus is claimed to improve in-home coverage in hard-to-reach areas and is said to particularly benefit those in large households with lots of connected devices. It combines a suite of new, automatically deployed features on Virgin Media’s Hub 3 and Hub 4 routers with new Intelligent Wi-Fi Pods designed to improve and extend wireless connectivity reach and speeds throughout the home.

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