The AT&T 3G MicroCell, which launched last fall in test markets like San Diego, is now ready for its national roll out. The product goes on sale in mid-April. No cities were announced, but the company plans an aggressive launch.
These MicroCell devices, generically called femtocells, still require separate broadband Internet service. Wireless calls are routed over the home’s broadband connection to produce a stronger signal for a clearer conversation. If your calls are scratchy due to concrete walls, nearby mountains and other terrain, this is something to consider.
The AT&T’ MicroCell also supports 3G data and was developed with Cisco. More details: www.att.com/3gmicrocell.
The device will be $149.99, which may seem high considering you’re already paying a monthly bill. But that’s about the going rate for MicroCells. Verizon Wireless charges $249.99 for its “network extender.” Sprint’s Airave is $99.99. T-Mobile no longer offers its HotSpot @Home service, at least to new customers.
AT&T is offering mail-in-rebates to get the cost down to nothing. If you add a MicroCell monthly plan of $19.99, you’ll get unlimited calls when using the MicroCell to connect. That also qualifies for a $100 rebate. Add in AT&T DSL or U-verse Internet service and there’s an additional $50 rebate.