Vodafone Sure Signal: Better Mobile Coverage In Basements & Rural Areas

March 27th, 2014

If you’re struggling to pick up a decent mobile signal, Vodafone’s Sure Signal promises more reliable coverage within your home. It’s perfect for basement flats and for anyone living in the countryside.

Vodafone Sure SignalDepending on where you live, it can sometimes be a nightmare to pick up reliable signal on your phone. Poor mobile coverage leads to phone calls being dropped, text messages being delayed and battery life being worse. For people living in certain places (e.g. a basement flat, a house with thick walls or a location in the countryside far from the nearest mast), poor signal often makes it difficult to find a reliable service on any of the mobile networks.

For customers on Vodafone, it’s possible to improve your mobile coverage at home using the Sure Signal box. The £100 box creates a 3G signal spanning 30 meters from where it’s plugged in to the wall. It works with all 3G handsets on Vodafone (you’ll need to be either a Pay Monthly or Pay As You Go customer). You also need to have a home broadband connection for the Sure Signal box to connect to Vodafone’s network.

In this article, we review the Vodafone Sure Signal.

About Sure Signal

Femtocell Technology

Vodafone’s Sure Signal is a small femtocell designed to be installed at home. For Vodafone customers living outside of the coverage area, the Sure Signal box gives 3G coverage that’s stronger and more reliable. You can use the stronger signal for calling and texting rather than the weak signal your phone will normally use. With the stronger 3G signal, it should bring an end to phone calls being missed and also text messages being delayed. There can also be a noticeable improvement to your smartphone’s battery life.

Sure Signal works by routing your phone calls and text messages over a home broadband connection:

What Are Femtocells

Vodafone’s Sure Signal uses femtocell technology. The femtocell broadcasts a 3G signal and uses your home broadband to connect to Vodafone’s network. Image source: EMF Explained (AMTA/GSMA/MMF).

The box plugs straight in to a power socket and provides access to up to 8 devices at a time. You can register up to 32 Vodafone numbers to be allowed on the service.

Sure Signal VS Wi-Fi

WifiWith normal wi-fi, you’re able to browse the internet without using a 3G connection. This includes using most apps on your smartphone: for instance sending instant messages, reading e-mails and watching videos online. The limitation of wi-fi is you aren’t normally able to make or receive phone calls: your smartphone still needs 3G for calling and texting. With Sure Signal, you’ll have a reliable 3G connection in addition to wi-fi at home. This means an end to dropped phone calls and text messages being delayed.

N.B. It’s also possible to browse using Sure Signal 3G. However, we strongly recommend using wi-fi instead. If you’re browsing the internet over Sure Signal 3G, data will be deducted from your monthly download allowance. By using wi-fi directly, the data bypasses Vodafone’s network and doesn’t count towards your mobile download limit.


The Sure Signal box emits low-power radio waves (a 2100MHz 3G mobile signal). The level of radiation is similar to wi-fi and is deemed to be safe. See the EMF Explained website for more information.


In order to use Sure Signal, you’ll need all of the following:

  • A sufficiently fast home broadband connection. The minimum required speed is 1Mbit/s. It’s recommended to have a faster connection: ideally 4.2Mbit/s or faster. You can check the speed of your broadband connection at SpeedTest.net.
  • An account at Vodafone. The 3G signal emitted by your box can only be accessed from handsets on Vodafone. You’ll need either a Vodafone Pay Monthly contract, a Vodafone SIM Only deal, a Vodafone Pay As You Go tariff or a Vodafone Business contract. The Sure Signal service isn’t compatible with Vodafone MVNOs (e.g. Lebara Mobile, Mobile By Sainsbury’s and Talkmobile).
  • A 3G smartphone. The Vodafone Sure Signal box only emits a 3G signal. Your handset must have support for 3G connectivity. 2G-only handsets will not work with the service. 4G handsets will always drop to 3G when making or receiving phone calls.


Sure Signal is only available to customers on Vodafone.

Home Signal and TU GoFor customers on Three, it’s possible to use a Home Signal box. This works in much the same way as Vodafone’s Sure Signal (both Home Signal and Sure Signal use femtocell technology). Unfortunately, Three’s Home Signal is only available to eligible customers. There’s no way of buying the Home Signal box: you’ll only be sent it at the discretion of Three. For anyone living in a mobile coverage blackspot, we’d still recommend Vodafone as it’s much easier to get a Sure Signal box.

For customers on O2, it’s possible to use the TU Go application (available on iPhone and Android). TU Go allows you to make and receive calls using a wi-fi connection. Hence, you’re able to call and text even without mobile coverage. There’s also an extra benefit in that you can use it out-and-about e.g. on the London Underground. With Sure Signal, the extra coverage is limited to your house.


The Sure Signal box costs £100 and can be purchased from the Vodafone website. There’s no need to pay any extra monthly subscriptions, through you’ll still have the monthly subscription charges on your Vodafone Pay Monthly contract. You’ll also need to provide a working home broadband connection (minimum speed of 1Mbit/s, recommended speed is 4.2Mbit/s or faster).

More Information

For more information on the Sure Signal service, please see the Vodafone website.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 12 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. JOHN said:

    Hi ken,
    Just came across your page whilst searching on issues to sure signal. I ordered one from Vodafone, due to no signal in my house, but all ok outside. Got it for £25 after threat to leave them, got to say though it took 2 weeks to arrive, told it was out of stock then back in stock, only to find truth was in fact I pre-ordered the new s6 phone and they held back my sure signal to post together. So far so good, but when setting up I only got asked my postcode and level of property, it did not ask for date of birth which I see in previous post.

  2. Rich C said:

    Just for info…. limited stock in some shops (can’t order online) but beware if you get a rogue batch like me!


  3. Martin Osborne said:

    Hi Ken, we have managed to get a sure signal because of long running problems with dropped calls because of a fault at our local mast that Vodafone haven’t been able to fix. The problem is that the mast signal is strong enough that the phones choose that rather than the sure signal so the calls still get dropped. How do we force the phones to use the sure signal?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Martin,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure whether it’s possible to force your phone to use the Sure Signal. The reason for this is because GSM handsets are configured to choose a mast automatically (it works really well when you’re travelling across the country and your phone will change seamlessly between masts). Just in case, you could try calling Sure Signal Customer Services (let me know if they tell you anything different!)

      1. Andrew replied:

        Hi Ken
        As a quick update, I have exactly the same problem. We have a very poor Vodafone signal at home. I have had an original Sure Signal almost from day one and it has worked pretty well in my downstairs study, but less well for calls made around the house. Recently it stopped working consistently so I replaced it with the latest (Version 3) model.

        Since this did not appear to significantly improve matters I contacted Vodafone customer support and after a few conversations it was confirmed that:
        1. All mobiles tend to be configured to select a mast signal in preference to a local femtocell. This is why calls made and received downstairs were more likely to go via the Sure Signal than those made upstairs where the mast signal would have been stronger.
        2. My local mast has been upgraded this year with the addition of 4G capability

        This has resulted in the slightly better signal from the mast at home but, annoyingly, the much less use is made of the Sure Signal. There is no way to force any current mobile supported by Vodafone to preferentially select the stronger signal – the mast wins every time…

  4. Paul Tang said:

    Hi Ken. Thanks very much for a straight and unbiased review of the Sure Signal. I’ve been able to get hold of one via eBay due to Vodafone’s lack of stock, and am about to put it through its paces.

    I live in a suburban area where we get a good signal outside, but as soon as we are inside the house, the mobile signal drops to 1 or 0 for all providers. I currently am on O2 so I have to use the TuGo app, which is okay, but I’ve never been able to receive an incoming call!

    My wife is on Orange and she uses an ageing Samsung Galaxy S2, but it uses Orange’s Signal Boost app and is a lifesaver, as it connects via Wifi for calls and texts, essential for her business. Her previous phone was a Blackberry which also uses UMA and did the same thing. Now her S2 contract is up, and she is stuck. We are waiting impatiently for Orange/EE to bring out WiFi Calling, so she can upgrade her phone. The S2 is a terrible phone!

    I’m fast losing patience on EE as it was announced back in September, and T-Mobile USA have it working already! Hence my interest in Vodafone’s Sure Signal.

    Regards, Paul

  5. Rich C said:

    Thanks Ken for article – just to share since November the sure signal device has not been available – very frustrating!



    It’s a shame Vodafone have not provided any updates on these stock issues!

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Rich,
      Thanks for the heads up about the Sure Signal stock issues – I know it’ll be incredibly helpful for other readers of this website. Fingers crossed it’ll come back into stock soon!

  6. Pete House said:

    I live in an area with a very intermittent 3G signal on a Vodafone contract and consequently am not able to make or receive calls most of the time or send/receive text messages. Have been researching a Vodafone Sure Signal and found your unbiased article very helpful. Just one question : do you know if Sure Signal will work with iPhone 6 plus – this phone is not mentioned on Vodafone’s own list of compatible handsets?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Pete,
      Thanks for your comment. A Sure Signal does indeed work with the iPhone 6 Plus: in fact you can use it with any smartphone that supports 3G technology. The reason for this is the Sure Signal box emits a normal 3G signal which is indistinguishable to your phone (it would be just as if you were using a normal mast). For more information, see the “Requirements” section of the Sure Signal product page.
      Hope this helps!

      1. Pete House replied:

        Many thanks for your prompt reply – I am off on holiday next week so will leave getting one until I return – I will let you know how I get on



        1. Ken Lo
          Ken replied:

          Cheers Pete – do let me know how you get on with the Sure Signal and have a lovely break!

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