AT&T has announced that it will be releasing the 3G MicroCell
, a device that uses a broadband Internet connection to boost 3G mobile-phone signals for up to four users at a time. This device is a godsend for people that live in areas with poor AT&T coverage. The 3G MicroCell means that all of America's "big four" mobile providers have or will have a device that uses broadband connections to improve mobile-phone service. According to AT&T's web site:
"AT&T 3G MicroCell acts like a mini cellular tower in your home or small business environment. It connects to AT&T's network via your existing broadband Internet service (such as DSL or cable) and is designed to support up to 10 3G capable wireless phones in a home or small business setting. With AT&T 3G MicroCell, you receive improved cellular signal performance for both voice calls and cellular data applications, like picture messaging and surfing the web for up to 4 simultaneous users."
Sprint and Verizon offer devices that use femtocell technology to boost signal, while T-Mobile uses regular WiFi. As an international traveller, I'm partial to T-Mobile's @Home service, since it can be used through any WiFi signal, even in other countries. The limitation with @Home is that it can only be used with UMA (unlicensed mobile access) phones. Sprint's and Verizon's solutions can be used with any of their phones. but the improved service is limited to the femtocell box's range and can only be used domestically. The 3G MicroCell also falls into the same category, but is limited to 3G phones.
I know some of you live in the boonies. Anyone out there use T-Mobile @Home, Sprint's Airave, or Verizon's Wireless Network Extender? If so, how has your experience been? Any AT&T customers out there interested in the 3G MicroCell?
Source via Engadget Mobile