SureCall has come a long way since its founder sold his signal boosting devices from the trunk of his car, and with the new technology of their new N-Range offering, they have a new low-cost product for small fleets and the commuter markets.
Today, cell phone signal booster vendor SureCall is announcing the N-Range, a cellular signal booster featuring a patented new technology that extends reliable cell phone connectivity for single devices in vehicles, by a factor of 1.5-2x over what has previously been available.
“The SureCall N-Range is our first product that features a patent-pending design around what we are calling Extended Range Technology [ERT],” said Jon Bacon, SureCall’s VP of Marketing. “It lets you get further from the cell tower than previous devices and still provide reliable cell phone connectivity. Vehicles now get stable reception from between 1.5 and 2x the distance from the towers that they were able to get before.”
The ERT technology boosts range for both calling and 4G LTE data by its ability to amplify a signal immediately at its strongest point and maximum power, before feeding the signal directly to the device.
“Phones have been the weak link in the mobile connectivity scenario,” Bacon said. “The tower does a good job at sending the signal out, but this significantly boosts the cellular reliability for one device in a vehicle.” Cellular is boosted for all North American carriers, include the bigger names like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Bell, Telus, Rogers, and Telcel, but also the smaller ones as well.
“It goes on the roof with a magnet, and boosts the signal once you plug it in,” Bacon said. “You can put it up or take it down as needed. It also has a very cool consumer design and feel.” It provides hands-free support for all signals, so anyone in the car can call, text, use data and run applications without needing to handle the device, which gets you a ticket in many jurisdictions.
The market for this is a mixture of consumer and light commercial.
“We see the sweet spot being heavy commuters and weekend warriors, but we also see it as having some commercial fleet applications, for smaller fleets,” Bacon said. “These are great for the IT channel. Ever since BYOD, you can’t do a one-size-fits-all in large applications.”
The price point for the SureCall N-Range is considerably less than the Fusion to Go 3.0 fleet offering from earlier this year, which was $CDN 599. The N-Range goes for less than half that, at $CDN 249.94.
“It’s a much lower price point,” Bacon said.
The product will go to market through both the specialty distribution channel for mobile devices, and e-tailers.
“We work with distributors like Hitfar in Vancouver, Hutton Communications, Gap Wireless and a few others,” Bacon said. “We also sell through the Source, but mainly through the dealer channel. We will also sell this on some of the dotcoms, including Amazon and Bestbuy.ca.”
SureCall has added more consumer products over the years, but distribution is important even in those markets.
“Hongtao Zhan, our founder and CEO, saw what was happening in the market and started the company, selling out of a car trunk until the first big order in 2008,” Bacon said. “We started out in the commercial market, but have transitioned a bit. We haven’t abandoned the commercial side but we have introduced more consumer products. They are still built largely on the commercial dealer and distribution channels, however. The value-added reseller network is huge for us, around Pro/AV. That’s because while some of our products are easy to install, some are more involved, where you have to run cable.”
Bacon said that a great misconception of the signal booster industry is that it is primarily a rural-based specialty item, for remote areas distant from cell towers.
“There are many things which make our products useful,” he said. “Tint on windows is better at blocking signals than brick. Some of the carriers are also weaker in some areas. We fill in the gaps, and make the coverage maps of the carriers honest. We give you the coverage that you get outside, inside.”
Bacon said that while the telcos also provide the same kind of services they do, the market for third party providers like themselves is good because they can sell for much less.
“We are one of the fastest growing providers in this space,” he indicated. “We cover the auto market, but we also go all the way up to 250,000 square ft buildings, stadiums and malls. That’s where you use a Distributed Antenna System or a small cell system. Our products are carrier agnostic, and they come pre-approved by the carriers. At times, we work with them to do an install. The installed cost on carrier systems is $6-8 dollars a square foot while we are $1-3 dollars a square foot installed cost.”