Noted: A new AT&T Web page launched touting a gadget that lets customers get better wireless reception in the dead zones of their house. Using femtocell technology, the new AT&T 3G MicroCell is like having a “mini cellular tower” in your home, says AT&T.
The idea behind it is that in areas of the home where AT&T cell phone coverage is awful, consumers can plug this device to a high-speed Internet line and make and receive clear calls over the Internet. AT&T is the last major wireless provider to offer this: Verizon launched its version last January, Sprint’s Airave came out last year and T-Mobile has offered its Hotspot@Home service since 2007.
According to DSL Reports, the new MicroCell site is for the company’s first public trial of the technology in North Carolina.
But what the Web community is upset about is the price: $19.99 a month for unlimited use, and $9.99 if you subscribe to AT&T Wireless and home phone service. If you get wireless, landline and Internet service from AT&T, it’s free.
Engadget’s Chris Ziegler calls it a shame the price is so high and AT&T consumers must pay more money to get reception inside their own house.
“We appreciate that these guys can’t blanket every nook and cranny … but carriers need to understand that femtocells are ultimately tools to help them retain customers who’d otherwise have to leave for greener pastures. AT&T’s certainly not treating it that way with the 3G MicroCell.”
Engadget also offers pricing from other companies:
DSL Reports notes that AT&T says the pricing is part of the trial and could change in the future.
Earlier on wireless: