According to a purported internal communication, AT&T will soon offer free MicroCells to certain customers experiencing poor service due to coverage issues. Pre-selected eligible customers “identified as likely to experience poor in-building coverage at home or in small offices” will receive the offer, which will entitle them each to a free 3G MicroCell with no monthly fees attached. The MicroCell and service will remain free unless its recipient chooses to cancel his or her cellular service within a year, in which case an equipment fee of $199.99 will apply — less $16.67 for each month since taking receipt of the MicroCell. According to the document, only AT&T’s “top 7.5% of 3G wireless customers” with ongoing service issues will receive the offer. AT&T’s 3G MicroCell is a femtocell that essentially acts as a local cell tower. Customers in poor coverage areas can connect their cell phones to the MicroCell via 3G and use it to funnel voice and data service over the land-based Internet connection in their homes or offices. More →
AT&T may want to be the darling of the US wireless carriers, but some of its policies are seemingly designed to turn a customer into an enemy and not an ally. Such is the case with its 3G MicroCell which is promoted as being a solution for those with cellular coverage issues. For those unaware, the 3G Microcell is a hardware device that lets customers use their broadband Internet connection to make and receive phone calls and, in the case of AT&T’s 3G-enabled MicroCell, to utilize the 3G data capabilities of their phone. On the surface, this sounds like a win-win solution with customers receiving solid 3G cellular coverage and AT&T offering a solution for customers with coverage issues. Unfortunately, AT&T seems destined to shoot itself in its foot by instituting a data usage policy that counts data used through the MicroCell against your cellular data allotment. Seems a bit counter-intuitive that AT&T is charging for data used through the MicroCell when the bulk of the data transmission is carried by your broadband Internet provider, no? More →
Want to know what’s in those boxes pictured above? We bet you do, and since we love you, we’re going to tell you. They’re AT&T 3G MicroCells. According to several of our AT&T connects, they’ve hot off the delivery truck as AT&T’s national 3G MicroCell rollout has finally begun. Now, we should caution you that we’ve not been able to completely verify that this is nothing more than another one of those boring gradual rollouts, but based upon how many cities we’ve heard reports from, we think it’s safe to say you’ll be able to get your own real soon. Hit the jump for some eye candy. More →
After months of testing, AT&T has finally announced the nationwide rollout of its 3G MicroCell. Starting in mid-April and continuing over the next several months, AT&T will gradually introduce its MicroCell to new markets across the continental US. The unit will offer both 3G data and voice service and will cost each customer $149.99 for the equipment upfront. Similar to other femtocells, the AT&T MicroCell will support up to ten handsets and allow four simultaneous connections. Customers can choose to either have AT&T deduct calling plan minutes for the calls made using the MicroCell or they can purchase an add-on plan for $19.99/month which allows them to make unlimited calls through the MicroCell without using minutes from their monthly voice plan. If you choose this $19.99 plan, AT&T will reward you by offering an additional $100 rebate which brings the price of the MicroCell down to a mere $49.99. If you really want to drink the AT&T koolaid, you can also sign up for AT&T broadband service (DSL or U-Verse 1.5MB or greater) and receive a second mail in rebate for $50, bringing the final price of the device to a $100 if you select just the DSL or a cool $0 if you are eligible for both rebates. Any AT&T customers with fringe coverage interested? More →
The advent of femtocells is nothing short of fantastic. Think about it: A carrier has terrible service where you live or work, so what do you do about it? You get a device called a femtocell that will let you use your land-based broadband internet connection (that you pay another company for) to make calls and use data on your phone. Of course you don’t get a discount for using land-based broadband instead of your carrier’s cellular network, but you just mutter under your breath and fork over the cash anyway. The best part? Word on the street suggests AT&T — the final among the big four to bring a femtocell solution to market – will be charging $20 per month for the privilege of using another company’s land-based network as a band-aid for its crappy cell coverage in your area. Awesomeness. For those dying to fit into this scenario, the MicroSite is now live and a launch is imminent.
Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
It looks like folks with lousy AT&T coverage may get some relief soon, as a new report suggests that AT&T is readying a soft launch of its 3G femtocell product dubbed the Microcell. The launch will target select markets including including Atlanta, San Antonio, Seattle and possibly one or more cities in North Carolina. AT&T is a bit late to the party considering how long ago these puppies popped up in its system, but better late than never we suppose. The soft launch is expected to begin next week with nationwide launch to follow some time before the end of the year.
[Via DSL reports]
Following AT&T’s recent and repeated claim that it is on schedule with a 3G femtocell solution to be released before the year is out, Sprint’s
Pow… Take that, AT&T. For those unfamiliar with the technology, a femtocell is basically a small base station that provides a bridge between cellular and wired broadband connections. Long story short: It’s your own personal cell tower. Sprint’s Airave was indeed the first 2G femtocell to hit the scene and according to Oommen, Sprint’s 3G offering will follow suit. What’s more, Sprint is apparently prepping both a consumer solution and an enterprise solution. EV-DO Rev. A femtocells at home and at the office? Mmmm.
[Via Phone Arena]
Trials supposedly were underway months ago, but it looks like the launch could be literally around the corner. One of our faithful AT&T ninjas sent us in a screenshot that shows an AT&T 3G Microcell femtocell option in addition to AT&T’s broadband and TV service, U-Verse. We don’t have a date on this yet — we’ll continue to dig — but appearing publicly on employee’s screens is always a good sign!
UPDATE: Another AT&T 3G Microcell shot, this time showing the unit in the POS system (Point Of Sale). It can’t be that far away, guys. Thanks to one of our anonymous peeps on this shot!
UPDATE 2: Well, it wasn’t that far away at all. At least in terms of showing up on AT&T’s site… We added the info after the break.
There’s nothing better than the smell of on-time launches in the morning. Earlier this week we learned that Verizon Wireless had a treat in store for users in low coverage areas and lo and behold, Big Red made good on the release date. The “Verizon Wireless Network Extender”, Verizon’s femtocell solution, is now available on its website. To refresh your memory, femtocell is essentially a small cell tower that allows users to get cellular-based services via a broadband connection. Beyond the release date, the rumored $249.99 price point was spot on as well, making this puppy way more expensive than Sprint’s Airave. We’re sure those of you with a need for some femtocell goodness will jump on it regardless. As far as specs are concerned, all you need to know is that the Network Extender is compatible with all Verizon handsets, up to three phones can use it simultaneously, a fourth channel is always open for 911 calls and it has a 5,000-foot broadcast radius. Who’s in?
It looks like Verzion is all set to launch its answer to Sprint’s Airave femtocell on Sunday January 25th. What the heck is femtocell you ask? In a nutshell, a femtocell is a teeny, tiny cellphone tower that allows users to get all of their cellular services via a broadband connection. This means that soon you can be rocking up to three Verizon lines in the middle of nowhere, which is a bit strange since we’re pretty hard pressed to name an area Verizon doesn’t cover. Anyway, in case you’re the type of person who likes to cheat the system and were hoping to use a VPN to make it look like you’re dialing locally in Ottumwa, Iowa when you’re actually in the middle of Zonguldak, an aGPS chip has been built-in to stop you. On the plus side however, you can also connect and external GPS antenna to authenticate your position. So what does the luxury of having your own 5,000 square feet of Verizon signal cost? $249.99, we’re told. Fair enough.
According to Dick Lynch, executive vice president and chief technology officer of Verizon Communications, Verizon Wireless is pushing up the timetable for its LTE rollout, aiming now for a late Q4 2009 deployment. Considering that Lynch said, “We expect that LTE will actually be in service somewhere here in the U.S. probably this time next year,” we can ascertain the initial deployment will be limited in scope and that the date is not set in stone. Nonetheless, such an aggressive timetable suggests that Verizon is trying to get a jump on their US competition and is keeping up with the likes of Japan’s NTT DoCoMo who recently announced that it expects to have LTE commercially available in 2010. Lynch also revealed that femtocell technology will be an important part of LTE deployment. Femtocells will be available for subscribers and will be used to increase the signal strength and range indoors. The LTE femtocells may also include integrated WiFi so non-cellular, WiFi-enabled devices can connect to the LTE network as well. With all this talk of LTE, femtocells, and a target launch of 2009, are you getting excited yet for this new 4G technology? We sure are.