Will cost $20 per month once rolled out
Last modified on Wednesday, 23 September 2009 10:23
AT&T looks to be finally ready to take the official wraps off their femtocell technology and roll it out to the masses under the name of the AT&T 3G MicroCell.
The AT&T 3G MicroCell that uses a box designed for them by Cisco allows you to connect the 3G MicroCell device to your broadband Internet connection at home to improve your cell coverage for both voice and data. Your phone or cell device connects to the 3G MicroCell and routes the data back to the AT&T network using your broadband Internet connection. Besides having to buy the 3G MicroCell box itself, it will cost you $20 per month to be able to use it.
While the web site has gone live, it appears that at least for the moment AT&T is only making the 3G MicroCell available in limited areas. We tried several different zip codes, and none of them we entered indicated that the MicroCell technology was available in our area.
While some might complain about the $20 per month price tag, if you have good broadband speed performance, the use of the 3G MicroCell can be a big boost to your speed, performance and quality of your cell device if you live in an area that isn’t well served by AT&T. While you can move the 3G MicroCell to another location, you have to notify them that you are moving it; and of course, not all locations are served. You can control who has access to your 3G MicroCell and decide who gets access and who does not from a slick web-based interface. Of course, minutes that you use while connected to the 3G MicroCell are charged subtracted from your plan.
While it isn’t the perfect solution, it can really help those heavy iPhone users as well as BlackBerry Bold users who want 3G performance at home. While the $20 per month isn’t going to make people happy, the reality is that it solves a lot of problems for users who are having significant coverage issues. We suspect that the use of femtocells will continue by cell providers and become more popular for those who are having coverage issues.