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AT&T gives away 3G MicroCells to some 'loyal' customers

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
AT&T, the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the U.S., recently sent out certificates to some customers, granting them free 3G MicroCell devices for improved reception at home.

A number of AT&T users have reported that they were contacted by the wireless provider, offering them a free 3G MicroCell with no strings attached. One AppleInsider reader said they received a letter over the weekend thanking them for being an AT&T customer and offering the hardware.

"AT&T tells me I am now eligible for a free 3G MicroCell," the reader wrote. "All that is necessary is to present the letter at an AT&T store and get a free 3G MicroCell, no strings attached, no cost."

They said they suspect the timing of the offer has to do with the fact that a two-year contract on three iPhone 3G handsets expires in the next two months.

"I went over to the nearest AT&T store late in the day and, when I went in, I was told that the person just in front of me got the last 3G MicroCell," they wrote. "Apparently a number of their other most valuable customers got the same letter today. I was told to leave my name and number and I would be called when more came in."



AT&T's 3G MicroCell is used to patch dead zones with the carrier's service. Users can plug the device into a broadband Internet connection, and provide local signal for both voice and data.

Nationwide rollout of the hardware began this year in mid-April. There are no additional costs associated with the hardware, aside from the purchase of the device, as minutes used through the 3G MicroCell affect the account of the phone making the call. However, some "loyal customers" who received a letter from AT&T are receiving the hardware for free as well.

Individual or FamilyTalk subscribers can pay an additional $19.99 per month to make unlimited calls through the special femtocell hardware device. The hardware costs $149.99, but comes with a $100 mail-in rebate for customers who select a MicroCell calling plan. In addition, customers who purchase a new line of broadband service with AT&T are also eligible for a $50 mail-in rebate.
post #2 of 29
I have a 3G Microcell from AT&T ( I paid for it but got a rebate) as a Small Business owner and it is just as reliable as the rest of the AT&T network.

If you decide to install one, don't expect it to solve all of your problems.

It just won't.

Peter
post #3 of 29
I got a letter in the mail; went down to the my local AT&T store this morning and they didn't have any stock. Called 10 stores within a 50 mile radius -- none of them had it in stock.

I called AT&T's 800 number and spoke to a representative about redeeming the coupon over the phone; she said it's in-store only.

**Sigh**

Also interesting timing with the receipt of my letter. Before leaving town on a trip to PA on Saturday morning, I was regularly getting 5 bars with my iPhone 4 (if I was holding it "correctly"). I arrived back home last night to find that now I'm only getting 1-2 bars. My wife's iPhone 3GS has dropped from 5 bars to 2-3 bars.

WTF? Did they down a tower or something?
post #4 of 29
Anyone that pays for one of these is an idiot. There is no reason why AT&T's customers should have to foot the bill for AT&T's crappy 3G coverage.

If you need one of these, demand it for free.
post #5 of 29
Watch out for the fine print. A MicroCell will hand off to a standard tower as you leave the range of the MicroCell but it DOES NOT go the other direction. If a call is initiated on a standard cell tower you cannot enter your cell restricted house/business and expect the the call to continue - sorry it drops as before you got your MicroCell. Now if you make the call from the MicroCell and leave the house/business your call is handed off to the standard cellular tower. Another hand off problem arises if your home is large and you install two or more MicroCell units to cover the total Square Footage of your Home/Business (each MicrpCell only cover 5000 SqFt barring any signal obstructing walls) you also cannot pass off signals between MicroCells. Therefore if you stay in the range of the MicroCell where you initiated the call and only leave the building to connect to a Standard Cell Tower your call will be maintained if you go from one end of your home to the other and come in range of your second MicroCell you will most likely drop your current call. If you immediately redial the call will initiate on the second MIcroCell and call quality will be restored to maximum.
Here in Eastern Pa we have a lot of old stone farm houses and those stone walls really kill the Cell Signals not only from Cell Towers but your MicroCell degrades very quickly giving only about a 20 ft radius vs the 40 ft radius promised by AT&T.
KennDDS
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KennDDS
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post #6 of 29
Sad.
How come the leading telecommunication company from the most rich country on earth is this lame?
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ochyming View Post

Sad.
How come the leading telecommunication company from the most rich country on earth is this lame?

capitalism, you gotta love it
post #8 of 29
In which states have this offer been sent out? I'm in CA and have a family plan with 5 iPhones and no AT&T reception at my house, but have not received an offer.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Anyone that pays for one of these is an idiot. There is no reason why AT&T's customers should have to foot the bill for AT&T's crappy 3G coverage.

If you need one of these, demand it for free.

we have a huge underground basement with a home theater and game room, all very well sealed [steel framing, acoustic insulation, two layers of 5/8 sheetrock].
while i can get 3-4 bars upstairs in my house, i got one bar or no service in the basement. now i have 5 bars down there. well worth the $150, unless you're cheap and just want to bitch about ATT.
post #10 of 29
I just called AT&T to ask them why I haven't received this offer, and they told me that they had never heard of it. The lady I spoke with asked me to fax her a copy of the coupon or at least to give her the details that are printed on there, like a contact number etc.

If anyone who received this coupon could post an image of it here, or email it to me, that would be greatly appreciated. My email address is don_mccracken at hotmail dot com.

As I said, I don't have ANY cellular reception in my home, and would very much like to have a microcelll tower. However, I'm not paying for it.
post #11 of 29
i've had an att 3g microcell for about a month, but returned it yesterday. we barely get a signal at home, maybe one bar on a good day on some portions of our property. by the way, we live in a very populated suburban county of the midwest. the microcell gave us 5 bars all around our house and property most of the time.

why did we return it? sometimes the signal would disappear, no bars or one bar. almost all calls had an echo or some other form of interference only heard by the receiver. and almost all calls made would drop out at some point early in the phone call. we decided that the 3g microcell isn't worth the $150, so i returned it yesterday.

if it were free, i might use it, but i'm not paying for something that first, we should be given, and second, that doesn't work correctly.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc69 View Post

I just called AT&T to ask them why I haven't received this offer, and they told me that they had never heard of it. The lady I spoke with asked me to fax her a copy of the coupon or at least to give her the details that are printed on there, like a contact number etc.

If anyone who received this coupon could post an image of it here, or email it to me, that would be greatly appreciated. My email address is don_mccracken at hotmail dot com.

As I said, I don't have ANY cellular reception in my home, and would very much like to have a microcelll tower. However, I'm not paying for it.

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

we have a huge underground basement with a home theater and game room, all very well sealed [steel framing, acoustic insulation, two layers of 5/8 sheetrock].
while i can get 3-4 bars upstairs in my house, i got one bar or no service in the basement. now i have 5 bars down there. well worth the $150, unless you're cheap and just want to bitch about ATT.

This is a far cry from those of us who can stand outside of our homes and get no signal don't you think? I can drive through my town and drop calls. I don't think I need to pay more money for service they should be capable of providing me and claimed to be able to provide me.
post #14 of 29
I get no ATT signal at my house but have been with them for years because of the iPhone.

They wanted me to pay full price for the microcell and I complained to my state Attorney General's office.

ATT called back and refused to give it to me for free but offered a $100 rebate on my phone bill which seemed OK at the time, a couple of weeks ago.

Now I'm upset that they didn't just give it to me for free.
I may have to complain again.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by S8ER01Z View Post

This is a far cry from those of us who can stand outside of our homes and get no signal don't you think? I can drive through my town and drop calls. I don't think I need to pay more money for service they should be capable of providing me and claimed to be able to provide me.

They don't cover everywhere, look up where they have coverage on their maps on their website And secondly, if they don't provide coverage to that area, you should expect to pay more, because they haven't invested the infrastructure to serve you, and unfortunately they've gotta make a profit, so that's why they charge you for giving you the device to provide coverage for them
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

They don't cover everywhere, look up where they have coverage on their maps on their website And secondly, if they don't provide coverage to that area, you should expect to pay more, because they haven't invested the infrastructure to serve you, and unfortunately they've gotta make a profit, so that's why they charge you for giving you the device to provide coverage for them

Their map says that I get a signal, but I don't. Also the other companies have signals at my house. ATT is the only one that doesn't.

I am not in a rural area, I live near Pasadena, Ca., not far from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Rose Bowl.

But when I talked with the representative she checked and said they have no plans to upgrade this area within the next 2 years.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

They don't cover everywhere, look up where they have coverage on their maps on their website And secondly, if they don't provide coverage to that area, you should expect to pay more, because they haven't invested the infrastructure to serve you, and unfortunately they've gotta make a profit, so that's why they charge you for giving you the device to provide coverage for them

City of 45,000 - check...coverage indicated on their map - check... poor signal/dropped calls with a tower in visual range only a couple miles away - check

The facts make your spin machine worthless.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesteel View Post

i've had an att 3g microcell for about a month, but returned it yesterday. we barely get a signal at home, maybe one bar on a good day on some portions of our property. by the way, we live in a very populated suburban county of the midwest. the microcell gave us 5 bars all around our house and property most of the time.

why did we return it? sometimes the signal would disappear, no bars or one bar. almost all calls had an echo or some other form of interference only heard by the receiver. and almost all calls made would drop out at some point early in the phone call. we decided that the 3g microcell isn't worth the $150, so i returned it yesterday.

if it were free, i might use it, but i'm not paying for something that first, we should be given, and second, that doesn't work correctly.

I live in Houston, in the middle of town and was getting frequent dropped calls in my house. Bought the Microcell, and it has improved my phone calls from the house. That said, I still get dropped phone calls from time to time, and when I do, invariably, it appears the Microcell has lost its signal.

Called AT&T, and after 1 hour and five people, finally escalated to a supervisor who sounded like he knew what he was talking about (of course that is a relative statement).

He told me the free Microcells were going primarily to Colorado where they didn't have enough cell towers. Houston didn't qualify for the offer. He finally agreed to credit my account for the 166.54 which included tax, but told me it would likely be reversed by higher ups because AT&T's policy was firm: no free microcells and no credits for iPhone 4 complaints.

He told me he was in Spokane, and his solution: Turn off 3G and use Edge. He said the reason for using the 3G network was for surfing the internet. My response was then "Why do I need a microcell if I am going to turn off 3G in my house?" If I have a microcell, that means I have internet service in my house, and at home, I would just connect my iPhone wirelessly to internet (or use my iPad, laptop or desktop). He suggested I didn't really need the microcell, but credited my account anyway. I also suggested they give them away to boost their service around the city. He told me that would not be cost effective versus a new cell tower. And round, and round, and round. I had to escalate to get to him, as lower CS rep told me no credit.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by S8ER01Z View Post

City of 45,000 - check...coverage indicated on their map - check... poor signal/dropped calls with a tower in visual range only a couple miles away - check

The facts make your spin machine worthless.

I am no fan of ATT but we have a tower on our property at work and suddenly for a couple of days our signal went bad and I finally called them. Within a day they had a crew out and within a few more we had the best reception ever. I was surprised that they could not detect the problem from their end and just take care of it without us having to call but they did take care of it once notified. If you haven't done so yet, you might give them a call.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bulk001 View Post

I am no fan of ATT but we have a tower on our property at work and suddenly for a couple of days our signal went bad and I finally called them. Within a day they had a crew out and within a few more we had the best reception ever. I was surprised that they could not detect the problem from their end and just take care of it without us having to call but they did take care of it once notified. If you haven't done so yet, you might give them a call.

Unfortunately I've called and posted issues via the Iphone app... I'm either not getting the right people on the phone or not saying the right things. I would love to have the issue resolved once and for all but it seems like 'everything appears ok' is all I can ever get from them. \
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by S8ER01Z View Post

Unfortunately I've called and posted issues via the Iphone app... I'm either not getting the right people on the phone or not saying the right things. I would love to have the issue resolved once and for all but it seems like 'everything appears ok' is all I can ever get from them. \

Sorry. That would be very frustrating.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Sad.
How come the leading telecommunication company from the most rich country on earth is this lame?


Quote:
Originally Posted by zindako View Post

capitalism, you gotta love it

Capitalism is what built AT&T - the friggin Federal Government is what killed them, starting in 1974 - you may not have been born then..........., but I won't hold that against you.

Google: Bell System Divestiture

A colossal misguided interference funded by our tax dollars. Salaries to Idiots.
OMG here we go again...
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OMG here we go again...
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post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzDots View Post

Capitalism is what built AT&T - the friggin Federal Government is what killed them, starting in 1974 - you may not have been born then..........., but I won't hold that against you.

Google: Bell System Divestiture

A colossal misguided interference funded by our tax dollars. Salaries to Idiots.

Absolutely true. Capitalism generally sustains itself, until that progress is mucked about by well-meaning congressmen. Nary a one of these government officials will have owned a business before attacking one to make things more fair (and that is patently un-capitalistic). The results are rarely intended and we consumers tend to pay far more and are 'rewarded' with inferior service. Capitalism is superior, but government measures almost always ruin this.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktronix View Post

Absolutely true. Capitalism generally sustains itself, until that progress is mucked about by well-meaning congressmen. Nary a one of these government officials will have owned a business before attacking one to make things more fair (and that is patently un-capitalistic). The results are rarely intended and we consumers tend to pay far more and are 'rewarded' with inferior service. Capitalism is superior, but government measures almost always ruin this.

Oh yeah, we're all better off with that trim line phone we rent from The Phone Company every month. Great monopoly capitalism.
post #25 of 29
2011 is going to be a big year for Femtocell.

In the UK we only have 1 provider of it - Vodafone.
post #26 of 29
ATT is probably going to be giving away many freebies down the road as they realize how many people are going to be jumping ship.
Be patient as ATT needs us customers more than we need ATT. They have yet to understand that their network leaves alot to be desired.
post #27 of 29
Verizon sells them too. Should their customers pay where their coverage is crappy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Anyone that pays for one of these is an idiot. There is no reason why AT&T's customers should have to foot the bill for AT&T's crappy 3G coverage.

If you need one of these, demand it for free.
post #28 of 29
This is such a giant generalization that its meaningless. What specifically has the government done to ruin our telecommunication service?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktronix View Post

Absolutely true. Capitalism generally sustains itself, until that progress is mucked about by well-meaning congressmen. Nary a one of these government officials will have owned a business before attacking one to make things more fair (and that is patently un-capitalistic). The results are rarely intended and we consumers tend to pay far more and are 'rewarded' with inferior service. Capitalism is superior, but government measures almost always ruin this.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kablooie View Post

Their map says that I get a signal, but I don't. Also the other companies have signals at my house. ATT is the only one that doesn't.

I am not in a rural area, I live near Pasadena, Ca., not far from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Rose Bowl.

But when I talked with the representative she checked and said they have no plans to upgrade this area within the next 2 years.

The map you as a customer can get online or in their brochures is only there to give you the warm fuzzies. If you want the true skinny on coverage in your area go to your local AT&T corporate store and ask them to show you their tower and coverage maps. They show the towers and good, better, best coverage areas for each tower and they are not concentric circles either it totally depends on how the Cell Arrays are positioned/directed. One tower might concentrate on the residential area to the east of the tower while the lake to west hardly gets any coverage.
KennDDS
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