Finally, AT&T is deploying a femtocell nationwide. The AT&T marketing folks call it a MicroCell. But it’s a femtocell.
The nationwide rollout begins in mid-April and should be complete within a few months. So for those like me who have lousy AT&T coverage at home but a good broadband connection, I can now pay for the privilege of having a good AT&T voice and data connection. For how much and other details, read on.
The MicroCell will cost $149.99. On the bright side, that’s a one time up front charge; there’s no monthly charge.
The minutes are not free. Instead, they’re deducted from your plan minutes. That’s just as if you were using your phone without the MicroCell; no better, no worse. Unless …
You purchase an add-on plan for $19.99/month which allows you to make unlimited calls through the MicroCell without using minutes from your monthly voice plan. If you choose this $19.99 plan, then AT&T also will give you by a $100 rebate on the MicroCell’s cost, reducing the purchase price to $49.99. There’s a further rebate if you sign up for AT&T DSL or U-Verse.
The MicroCell will support up to ten handsets and allow four simultaneous connections. Unlike my Verizon network extender, it supports 3G data as well as voice. Management is web-based.
A femtocell is a small cellular base station which connects to your cell phone service provider’s network via your home’s broadband connection and broadcasts a strong signal through your home. Since the femtocell connects via the Internet rather than over the airwaves, the weakness of your over the air signal doesn’t matter. Important to someone like me who lives in the hills with a weak cell phone signal but a strong broadband connection.