Mobile Phone Booster for Elderly without smart phone

Hi Guys - I have just moved my 90yo mum into an apartment in a retirement village. We use Vodafone and the signal is fine at her window but loses it about 2 metres inside.She has an old non smart flip phone (easy for elderly with large buttons etc) so wifi calling not an option.
She is on a very old Vodafone $10/month post paid deal and we are all on vodafone so don't want to change to Telstra unless no other option.
Can anyone suggest a device/ booster that I can stick on the window that will boost the signal into the apartment ? or any other solutions?


  • +2

    The only legal signal boosters in Australia are the Cel-Fi branded devices. They have a Vodafone specific model. They're generally very expensive, up to $500 for a used unit.

    If there is WiFi in the room/ unit, maybe consider getting a phone that supports wifi calling. Getting a basic phone which supports WiFi calling would I think be much cheaper

    • The Cel-Fi branded devices are actually repeaters not boosters.

  • +3

    Test out Telstra and Optus networks. Whichever is best get a cheap Sim. ALDI $15 is only $60 more per year, but guessing there are cheaper options around if you don't need data.

  • +8

    According to Vodafone, the basic Nokia 2720 Flip supports VoWIFI

    It's a pretty cheap $99 phone that you can buy outright from a variety of places. Officeworks

  • +5

    Are you on a family plan? If not, really no reason to keep to the same carriers. Most prepaid plans come with unlimited calls anyway. Unless of course if you are on a long life payg plan.

  • Thanks Guys - great advice - I think Scrimshaw wins with the Nokia 2720 - pity just locked down in Melb as would have gone to Officeworks to pick it up tomorrow. I'll get then deliver it to me . Thanks again

    • +1

      My grandma was confused by having to change to a new phone that was only slightly different, though all phones have issues eventually.

      Where I live, if you go to the gym you get no 3g/4g at all on Vodafone and several bars on Belong, which uses the cut-down version of Telstra. It's always worth giving a Telstra MVNO a try for those that don't need much data.

      There are several Telstra MVNO plans these days for those wanting minimal data, so near $10 a month isn't an issue (for now…they sometimes get rid of lower plans).

      For example, Tangerine Telecom is $9.90/month:
      But Woolworths is probably your safest bet in terms of accessibility. There's a new 180 day long expiry plan for $65 (where as a bonus you get 10% off groceries, up to $50 off a month).

  • +5

    i still think a different network is a better answer than a new phone

    gone are the days that you need to worry about 'free calls on the same network"

  • Or $200 for 12 months with Boost.

    No need to retrain her on new mobile

  • +3

    A lot of the old flip phones that were being sold as "Senior" friendly were still 3G. Coverage is starting to get really spotty. Check your mum's current model and what bands it supports. One of the newer 4G flip phones with Band 28 might cure the problem.

    I bought my 91 yr old mother in law a Opel Smart flip 4G and it works well (with Telstra at least). I tried her on the Opel Smart phone but her shakey fingers didn't work so on the touch screen. Too many double taps or swipes.

    • +1

      Correct, the best test would be for the op to use their phones which are Vodafone, in grannies house. If they get coverage further in etc, then changing phones will work, otherwise it’s better to change network.

  • +1

    Thanks again guys. My Poco X3 on Vodafone also has the same reception as my mum's in her apartment. I tried to get my Poco X3 to do wifi calls but no luck yet. I will see how the Nokia 2720 goes and then try Woolworths plan (even though as a good Ozbargainer, Aldi is my go to shop). She needs no data at all so any low or no data plan is fine.

  • Get 2m cord and attach it to the window.

    • Attach the phone to the window?????????????

  • +1

    Telstra has $30 for 6 months on one of their prepaid plans. It's called Long Life. I get that on my old pre-smart phone and get the guys at the Telstra shop to put it in for me.If I use it a lot, it runs out before the 6 months is up though.

  • +2

    Have you checked Optus coverage? Dodo and amaysim are both on Optus and have (or will have) low cost no data plans. Dodo is $5/month. amaysim will soon (supposedly) release a talk and text only plan at $60/year, so equivalent to $5/month.

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