AT&T 3G Microcell Improves Your Home 3G Coverage (for more money)
AT&T has announced their femtocell service, which routes your calls and data through your home broadband for better reception. It’s called the AT&T 3G Microcell, and – surprise, surprise – it costs money to improve your crappy home reception
Actually, the offers aren’t that bad. For $150, you can get a Microcell without an additional service plan and reliably use your AT&T mobile as your home phone. Those calls count against your minutes, but for $20 a month, they don’t and you get a $100 discount on the Microcell. Not worthwhile for a single user, but multiple users could see some savings. There’s another $50 discount if you sign up for AT&T DSL.
With the right plans and multiple users, it is possible to save some money here. It’s also a fine enough deal if you live in an unavoidably dead zone. But for a lot of people, it’s just an added cost to get the coverage you should already get.
03/24/2010 at 11:17 pm
They should give you a discount for putting up with crappy coverage and not switching carriers. Ridiculous!
03/24/2010 at 11:21 pm
I don’t know about AT&T but I know that Sprint generally gives you their femtocell and service for free if you don’t have good coverage in your home or office.
03/24/2010 at 11:34 pm
They should give this things out and/or give you bonus minutes for every call you don’t burden their network with. That might ease things up in congested areas enough for AT&T to keep some very frustrated customers.
03/25/2010 at 8:05 am
I actually returned my MicroCell yesterday as it didn’t really work. A quick run down of my experience:
– my iPhone 3Gs saw the MicroCell and I had 5 bars
– still dropped calls – in fact, it felt like I had the same quality service, only I saw 5 bars on my cell phone
– several times people would call me and the phone would never ring and when I went to make outbound calls, the phone IMMEDIATELY failed the call as soon as I hit “Send”. Only way to fix it is was to power cycle the MicroCell.
– anytime you “power cycle” the MicroCell — you are looking at about 90 MINUTES before it will work your phone will reconnect.
– tested the “data” speeds and they were just as BAD as without the MicroCell (and the AT&T Rep I spoke with indicated it would route data over my internet connection) I used the iPhone version of the Speedtest.net app over several days and go the same horrible results.
Obviously, your mileage may vary, but be sure to “test” to see if you are just seeing 5 bars or if you are actually getting faster speeds.
03/25/2010 at 10:16 am
Ouch, sorry to hear about your poor experience. What city are you in and which ISP/data plan?
03/25/2010 at 1:42 pm
Raleigh/Durham NC Area – and I actually have Time Warner Business Class in my house. 6Mbps down 1.5Mbps up.
03/25/2010 at 2:12 pm
Damn. I was hoping this would cure the dropped calls, and am stupefied that they can’t keep you connected with an antenna in your house!
I wonder if this is just inferior radio technology in the iPhones – my 3G drops *constantly*, even with 5 bars showing, and I’ve already had the SIM card and then the phone replaced and it’s no better.
03/25/2010 at 9:54 pm
It might work, I just didn’t have any luck! And though I haven’t been there, I hear the problem in S.F. is not the iPhone – it is the network not being able to handle all the iPhone traffic. So wait, maybe it is the iPhone! :>)
03/25/2010 at 2:25 pm
I was thinking about purchasing one also for my iphone because my coverage is terrible. Instead I got toktumi app which will run on my iphone and allow me to make and receive calls via my wireless router.
03/27/2010 at 10:20 pm
I don’t think it’s the data traffic – the thing won’t maintain basic voice calls on either the 2G or 3G network. Ah well, what can you do – try something else I guess.