We've mentioned that AT&T's femtocell system entered the test phase, and now are learning that the system should launch nationally by the end of the year. The hardware is expected to be a stand alone device supplied by Cisco. While the initial test phase is winding down, additional testing is expected to be done before the nationwide release but development and application of the femtocell units may not end with improving reception in signal deprived households.
"Some people think that integration is putting a femto into a residential gateway, and that’s one aspect. We’re looking at other things in the home [and asking]: How can I leverage all the elements in the home? There’s a lot of research and investigation in these areas and nothing definitive on what we’re going to do." Gordon Mansfield, AT&T's Executive Director for Radio Access Network Deliver.
No word on pricing for the femtocell unit, but it was reported earlier that the unit would cover approximately 5,000 square feet and allow up to four simultaneous, secure voice or data connections. The unit connects to a user's broadband connection and re-routes calls and data over that connection rather than the service provider's wireless connections.