AT&T Moves Ahead with 3G Microcells

AT&T today announced plans (opens in new tab) to roll out their 3G Microcells nationwide starting in mid-April. The Microcell (otherwise known as a femtocell) is designed to function in the same way as a cell tower, but utilizes a home broadband connection as the back-haul to the cellular provider. AT&T is pushing the 3G Microcell as a solution for those who get little or no cellular signal while at home.

In addition to the Microcell hardware, AT&T is announcing a companion rate option for $19.99 per month that will give Microcell owners unlimited calls through the 3G Microcell without cutting into their monthly minute allotment.

The 3G Microcell will cost a one-time fee of $149.99. Customers who choose the calling plan at the same time they purchase a Microcell are eligible for a $100 rebate, cutting the net cost to $49.99. An additional $50 rebate is available for those who sign up for an AT&T Broadband connection at the same time.

For more information on the AT&T 3G Microcell, visit (opens in new tab).

  • So we still would have to pay AT&T to use OUR internet connection for THEIR service that we ALREADY pay for? What a rip off. The device should be free, and they should give you unlimited minutes JUST for using it.
  • Unless you want the unlimited time package, all you have to do is buy the hardware (which isn't unreasonable). If you do not opt into the $19.99 unlimited package, you simply burn your package minutes. If you have a hard line and haven't given it up because of poor reception, likely the $19.99 Unlimited package will be less than what you're paying for a hard line.
  • This is the kind of crap that will force me to leave at&t and head over to T-Mobile. At least with T-Mo I can get the HD2 and upgrade (or downgrade the way things are carrying out) to WP7S in one year. Besides at&t 3g is non existent in Los Angeles and I get no reception (literally, can't even send text message) at home (Inglewood/LA border).
  • Don't get it twisted, this is great for people that may live/work in a building that cannot get any cell signal. Sprint has had this available for a little bit as well. A cell tower every 3 blocks still wont get a signal into my office, and I can practically spit on the tower. For the average user this would be BS but it is a great alternative for some. You can't expect them to put a "tower" in every building for free.
  • Anyone who thinks AT&T has the best network, needs to spend some 3G time on Sprint. Sitting right next to each other, my boss's BB Bold is about half the speed of my BB Tour. It is safe to say that without the iPhone, AT&T would be near death.
  • Location, location, location. Just with real estate, location has a significant bearing on how strong a wireless network coverage is. In my neck of the woods, for the most part, the results are just the opposite.
  • Didn't T-Mobile try this a while back and then cancel the program?
  • Hi Vodafone in the UK have this kind of product they market it under the name sure signal. It works in the same way in that you either buy the box or pay an extra fee per month and yes it runs of your wifi router and calls are just charged as they would be if you were using the regular cellular network. The UK is a small country with lots of people so the difficulties in offering cellular signal to everyone are small in relation to the issues a US network would have. However there are still people here who have signal issues or no signal at all. In my case T-Mobile offer a great signal in my home, but if I go to other parts of the country or for example to visit my parents who live in rural Northern Ireland there is just no signal. Vodafone offer no real signal at home but a signal nearly everywhere else. So my choice is to have a phone from a network that offers a signal nearly everywhere but not at home or go with a network that offers great signal at home but is useless when in the country. The Vodafone sure signal product fixes this. There are never going to be enough towers to offer full signal to everyone. So I think you might find that products like Microcell are going to become more and more common. Also try living in a house with 1 meter (36") stone walls and see what that does to your signal. What I do find with the sure signal product is that you kind to need to reboot the box from time to time. Maybe the networks should offer this sort of product free of charge to everyone who takes out a contract. Just my view. Alex