Sprint Airave Access Point

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Meet the Femtocell Family told you about my newest addition, the Airave on the left. Well, it’s a rough family. That guy is already out, replaced by the Airave on the right. What’s the difference? A lot.

The one on the right is called the Airave Access Point (instead of just Airave). But the difference between the two is more than the longer name. The Airave Access Point supports EVDO data (e.g., Internet) as well as voice and text messages. Even better, while the Airave cost me $99 (I did get a refund), the Airave Access Point was free!

So all Sprint customers should just march down to their nearby Sprint retail store and ask for their Airave Access Point handout? Not exactly. The Airave Access Point apparently isn’t sold in the stores. Indeed, the store employees with whom I spoke didn’t know about it. Neither did customer service.

The Airave tech support rep I called did know about the Airave Access Point. But in a truly weird conversation, he said he couldn’t tell me anything about it, or even who else I could talk to. He actually seemed upset; apparently prior callers gave him a hard time. At the end he told me I would be contacted for a survey on the call, and asked that I give him a 5 out of 5. I did – I don’t like messing with other people’s jobs and apparently he was constrained by policy – but it was a weird call.

Reading other blogs, I figured out what to do. I called Sprint Customer Service. I asked to be transferred to Account Services (apparently there is no way to get to Account Services directly through the voicemail tree). I explained I am in a poor coverage area, which I am, living in the hills. The Account Services rep put me on hold to check my coverage area and my account. She then came back on the phone and said an Airave Access Point would be shipped to me for arrival two days later. Which happened. I guess Sprint is making a big effort to keep its customer base. Good for them.

Also good for me. My phone connection seems solid so far. And as for EVDO support, downloads from Android Market are smoking fast 🙂

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