Verizon launches 'Network Extender' femtocell

We've been expecting a femtocell from Verizon, and now it's available and it's called the "Network Extender."

While the principle is the same as Sprint's AIRAVE — the router-looking piece of hardware uses your broadband Internet connection to spit out a short-range cell signal — the pricing is different. Instead of paying, say, $100 for the hardware, then a monthly fee for the service, Verizon's Network Extender costs $250 up front, with no monthly fees.

We're all for paying more up front to forgo the monthly shakedown. You'll save money in the long run. But we keep coming back to the same ol' argument when it comes to femtocells. If you're already paying for service on a company's network — and Verizon arguably still has the best — why would you want to pay more for a signal that you're supposed to have in the first place?

So, any of you Verizon chaps going to shell out for this?

Verizon Network Extender (opens in new tab) [via BGR]

Phil Nickinson

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!

  • Am I correct in reading that this will work with ANY Verizon cell phone? I may have a hard time spending $250 to help Verizon extend its network! $100 seems like a more reasonable price to me.
  • Yep, any Verizon phone. It spits out a normal cell signal. Same as Sprint's AIRAVE. (T-Mobile's service only works with UMA-enabled phones.)
  • Phil, you obviously don't know what you are paying for with sprint then. the $10 a month you are paying is for unlimited calling on you femtocell. Its no different than having a voip line. now, that's where the difference between verizon's and sprints plans come in. If you would only use the femtocell when you have unlimited calling anyways, verizon is better. if you would use the femtocell primarily when you dont have unlimited calling, and you'd use another phone, it can replace that for cheap. basically, your argument stands for verizon (they just need to improve service), but sprint's version would still be something to consider even if one has great sprint service.
  • ""why would you want to pay more for a signal that you're supposed to have in the first place?"" uhh....because verison's signals can't reach some peoples houses, (walls, metals etc) so thats why, and when they go outside, they obviously get signal.
  • After further review (and a very nice spaghetti lunch), some additional thoughts:
    I'll point you to Dieter's How To Buy A Windows Mobile Phone article. Namely, the first section, where he writes about picking a carrier. The basic rule of thumb is your carrier of choice should have a signal where you are 90 percent of the time. [with acknowledgment to The Cell Phone Junkie for that nugget] For me, that 90 percent is at home and in my office. If my carrier didn't have a signal in either one of those places, I don't think I'd look to spend more money to get a signal. I think I'd find another carrier.
    However, I understand that's not always a viable option, and femtocells can definitely fill that void. And if the carriers just gave away the femtocell hardware, I think I could swallow another $10 a month or so in fees. And, really, the $100 Sprint is charging for the hardware isn't that outrageous for a relatively new technology.
    Another consideration: As we move to WIMAX and (eventually) LTE -- and even with the opening of the 700MHz frequency -- we're going to get better penetration inside structures, which may well turn that $250 femtocell into a pretty doorstop.
    Hey, you wanna pay $250 for a femtocell, go right ahead. We're not stopping you. And Sprint's isn't a bad deal, either. If you use your phone so much that a femtocell makes better economic sense than upping the minutes in your plan, cool. That's a pretty good argument, actually.