Free AT&T In-Home Microcell?

Findlaw is reporting that AT&T Wireless is offering some of its customers a free in-home microcell (sometimes called a femtocell) … for customer who repeatedly complain about dropped calls.

According to Findlaw, “If you have complained to AT&T about your coverage or have used their application to report dropped calls, you are likely to be contacted by AT&T regarding this offer. It’s something to consider if you haven’t already decided to switch to Verizon. Customers report already beginning to receive letters with offer codes in the mail. If you have difficulty with service at your home or office but haven’t received an offer in the mail, it’s probably wise to call AT&T and give them a little nudge.

The AT&T “Mark the Spot” app, available at the iTunes Store, is your ticket to reporting AT&T service problems.  It’s also the apparent way to get AT&T’s attention that you should get one of their free femtocell.

This is an interesting tool for many reasons, not the least of which is that some smart municipal attorneys might very well look to ‘discover’ this data when AT&T files a law suit in light of a government’s siting permit denial.

…I’m just say’n…

Anyway, I do think that this is an interesting way to try to maintain customers who might be thinking about jumping to Verizon’s iPhone service (even with its data speed and multitasking limitations, but that’s a different posting).

For AT&T’s information on its in-house microcell/femtocell, CLICK HERE.


Verizon Hub So Much More Than A Terminal

Verizon’s new “HUB” device (pictured below) is starting to get some wings.  Specifically, Verizon has inked a deal with Time Inc. so that “Verizon Hub users can now view short-form videos from brands like®,®, and® from Time Inc. brands by simply touching the screen on the Verizon Hub.”

verizonhub1This move make sense from a bandwidth perspective since the video download will occur via the customer’s broadband connection required by the HUB, rather than across the Verizon Wireless network.

Verizon is positioning the HUB as a every-data terminal, rather than just a femtocell.

Very, very smart.


Why do I have to Place the FemtoCell Near a Window?

The various femtocells being marketed by the major carriers require that they be place near a window.

Huh? They need a good view to not feel along all day?

Actually, it’s because the femtocells need to know where they are installed so that the carriers can (try to) meet the E-911 location requirements.

Femtocells have built-in GPS receivers that tell the wireless switching center, call the Mobile Telephone Switching Office (MTSO for short) where it is installed.  That would be inside your home.  Then, if someone makes a 911 call through your femtocell, the MTSO can use your GPS location (latitude and longitude) to help E-911 dispatchers get help to the caller.

So, to parrot the line from Sprint, “Can you find me now?  Good!”



Like Getting A Million-Dollar Cell Site In Your Home For $249.99

That’s the title of Verizon’s news release dated 1/26/09 regarding their new femtocell.

It seems to me that this is a silly comparison, and one that isn’t anywhere near accurate.

A typical macrocell site costs a carrier something like $250,000 to $350,000 to construct.  And given that the Verizon femtocells don’t provide 3G services such as EV-DO data, you’re hardly getting a “Million-Dollar Cell Site In Your Home For $249.99”!

Here’s the news release:

Verizon Wireless “Network Extender” Enhances In-Home Call Capabilities

“Like Getting A Million-Dollar Cell Site In Your Home For $249.99” 01/26/2009

BASKING RIDGE, NJ — Verizon Wireless customers now have a new option for enhancing wireless coverage inside homes where location, geography or structural conditions interfere with reception. Customers can purchase the Verizon Wireless Network Extender online, by phone or at select Verizon Wireless Communications Stores, allowing them to enhance the signal inside their homes using any Verizon Wireless phone.

“Our new Network Extender device will bring the full benefit of the Verizon Wireless voice network to the small but important segment of customers who may experience a weaker signal in their homes because of geographic or structural conditions,” said Jack Plating, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Verizon Wireless. “Current and prospective customers have told us they want this, and we are responding to that demand. For those who have wanted to sign up for Verizon Wireless service but hesitated because of reception problems unique to their home location, this is the answer.”

Verizon Wireless Network Extender – a “mini-cell site” manufactured by Samsung – is about the size of a wireless router box or small attaché case and routes Verizon Wireless calls through the customer’s home broadband Internet connection. Network Extender is easy to set up and ready to use right out of the box and can provide coverage in an area of up to 5,000 square feet. The price is $249.99, plus local taxes, and there are no monthly fees.

“It’s like getting a million-dollar cell site in your home for $249.99,” said Mr. Plating. “Network Extender makes Verizon Wireless’ reliable network even more reliable, filling in nooks and crannies for customers who see the need.”

Network Extender is ideal for customers who want to enhance the wireless signal when making voice calls, sending text/picture/video messages, accessing Mobile Web or accessing smartphone/BlackBerry® data in situations that could include houses with structural barriers; basement rooms; or some remote, mountainous or hilly areas. Network Extender also can provide improved network access for customers living on the geographical fringes of the Verizon Wireless network. Network Extender does not support EV-DO speeds and services that require it.

Customers, their Family SharePlan® members and other Verizon Wireless customers can use their current phones and calling plans to place calls using the Network Extender. Customers also can manage access to their Network Extender through the account management feature on their My Verizon online account. Customers do not need to update their plans or add minutes and will incur no additional monthly charges for calls using Network Extender.

Verizon Wireless’ Network Extender is available at, by calling 800-256-4646, and at select Verizon Wireless Communications Stores. For more information, visit