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AT&T's 3G MicroCell to patch iPhone dead zones

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 
iPhone 3G users stuck in an AT&T dead zone at home or at work will soon be able to plug in a device that provides a strong local signal for up to 10 phones and four simultaneous voice or data connections via a connection to broadband Internet.

Price and availability haven't yet been set for the appliance, which AT&T calls the 3G MicroCell. The CDMA industry usually refers to local area, consumer cellular base stations as a "femtocell," suggesting a smaller version of the "picocell," an industry term for a cellular base station installed to extend the signal of standard "Node B" antennas of cellular networks. Apple has installed commercial GSM picocells with 3G base stations within its retail stores that work in parallel with WiFi base stations to give the locations both WiFi and 3G cellular signals.

Just as with picocells and full scale cellular antennas, a femtocell automatically passes a mobile user's phone connection to the next nearest existing cellular towers as they leave the local signal area provided by the base station. AT&T's "MicroCell" branding suggests a device a thousand times more significant than a femtocell, but it's really the same thing. In the world of UMTS, a femtocell is usually called a Home Node B.

Sprint and Verizon ahead with CDMA Femtocells

In the US, both Sprint and Verizon Wireless have already begun selling femtocells that provide a local extension voice and data service, with Sprint charging $99 for its Samsung-built Airave box (first introduced in limited testing in the third quarter of 2007, and nationwide last October) and then charging a $4.99 monthly fee. Verizon charges $249 for its box, but does not charge any additional monthly fees.

Both Sprint and Verizon are CDMA carriers. Sprint's femtocell is limited to extending relatively slow 2G CDMA2000 data service but not 3G EDVO; AT&T's box will provide full 3G UMTS voice and data service. The company has not yet stated if it will charge a one time fee for the appliance like Verizon, or whether it will bill a monthly fee as Sprint does.



AT's 3G UMTS Femtocell

Installing the new 3G MicroCell box will require both an uplink to the Internet (by plugging into an Internet router via Ethernet) as well as GPS reception. AT&T's website notes that "a GPS link is needed to verify the device location during the initial startup." That would typically require installation near a window, as GPS signals are not usually strong enough to penetrate indoors. The device's location must be registered with AT&T to verify that it lies within the company's authorized service area, so it won't work overseas or in states where AT&T isn't licensed to supply mobile phone service.

Once configured, the device creates a 5,000 square foot hot spot for 3G voice and data service. Use of the signal is identical to AT&T's existing 3G network, with minutes and long distance billed just as if the user were not contributing their private Internet connection to relay AT&T's signal. Still, the appliance will be popular among users who frequently work in an area where a reliable 3G or even GSM is impossible or difficult to receive, such as in a basement office or anywhere else 3G service hasn't yet reached, or can't reach effectively. Walls and windows absorb a large amount of the high energy signals

Last week, the Boy Genius Report published screen shots of AT's 3G MicroCell being listed as an option on both the company's internal service center systems and on its retail point of sale screens. Since then, AT&T itself has published information on setting up the device on its public website (below), but has subsequently removed some of the details on the page under the banner "maintenance in progress."



That brings to mind the on-again, off-again clown antics the company pulled when advertising, then removing, the details of a program to provide iPhone users with free WiFi access at AT&T's hot spot locations at Starbucks, bookstores, and certain airports. It took awhile for that plan to finally become available, and AT&T is similarly not providing any answers as to when users can expect to be able to patch up the company's dead zone holes with the new femtocell appliance, nor how much extra it will cost them.

Last spring, a report by ThinkPanmure stated that AT&T had inked a deal with small UK UMTS femtocell leader ip.access worth $500 million, giving AT&T 7 million femocell devices that it planed to sell to consumers for about $100. AT&T's 3G MicroCell product is built by Cisco however.

Femtocell vs UMA

T-Mobile, the other significant GSM/UMTS service provider in the US, has pursued a different strategy in extending its own UMTS network, which is considerably smaller and more limited than AT&T's. T-Mobile relies upon UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access), a technology which bridges mobile calls over WiFi.

Called "Unlimited HotSpot Calling," the program enables mobile phones to place calls anywhere on T-Mobile's WiFi hotspot network or from home WiFi base stations T-Mobile provides its customers, but also requires UMA support on the phone itself. It also carries an extra $10 monthly fee, and the process of monitoring both WiFi and GSM/UMTS signals for proper handoff strips significant battery life from the phone.

Certain newer BlackBerry and Nokia models support UMA, but T-Mobile's high profile Android G1 currently does not. Supporting UMA "only" requires software on the phone set that knows how to place calls over WiFi. Delivering flawless support for UMA is tricky however, and users frequently complain of dropped calls and compatibility problems between UMA devices and specific models of WiFi routers.

Current models of the iPhone should be capable of supporting UMA, if only AT&T were to allow it. The deal breaker for AT&T is that if it were to allow UMA service over WiFi, it wouldn't be able to bill users per minute or for long distance, as AT&T wouldn't even be carrying the call or aware it was being made. T-Mobile's considerably more limited US cellular network (and its finite options to potentially improve it outside of leveraging its WiFi hot spot network) give that company a stronger impetus to offer UMA.

Apple committed to supporting third party iPhone apps providing VoIP using WiFi, but those apps (which already exist) can't place or receive calls to the users' regular phone number or pass calls to 3G or GSM when it becomes available. They require a separate account with another VoIP service provider. UMA promises to handle both problems.

Apple would have to provide its own native UMA support in the iPhone's firmware in order for it to seamlessly place and receive calls over WiFi. With AT&T's 3G MicroCell on the horizon, the likelihood of that happening anytime soon is very small. The upside is that the new femtocell box from AT&T should provide users with fewer problems due to the technology being more mature and straightforward than the still experimental UMA. It also requires no updates to work with the iPhone 3G or any other 3G AT&T phone, and won't demand more from the phone's battery than 3G already does.
post #2 of 87
- Patch?
post #3 of 87
I like the concept, but would be a bit surprised if the masses pay to extend a network that we are already paying for. When did it become common place for me not to be able to use my cell phone at home?

If I had walked in to get my phone, and told that I had to pony up a few extra hundred bucks to use my new expensive phone and service at home, my purchase decision would have been different.

Why not provide a box that has a bit more range and sprinkle them around the city to cover holes, asking users to share their internet connection. Also, allow anyone in range to connect.

The registering the device stuff seems like they just want to sell one of these to me, and to my neighbor.
post #4 of 87
Quote:
The deal breaker for AT&T is that if it were to allow UMA service over WiFi, it wouldn't be able to bill users per minute or for long distance, as AT&T wouldn't even be carrying the call or aware it was being made.

This doesn't ring true to me. Even with UMA, the WiFi calls have to be carried by SOMEONE... that would still be AT&T (even if several options were available, it could be programmed to only use AT&T as the carrier).
post #5 of 87
Given my lack of understanding the technology involved, this may be a stupid question, but here goes:

Will using a device like this on your internet connection create a lot of traffic that may bother your ISP?
post #6 of 87
Currently, if you are in a 'dead' zone, you can register with AT&T to send an engineer around to scan and correct the issue. They boost the signal or tune the tower or add to then network as needed and it costs the consumer nothing additional. With Femtocells, they charge you for the cell, and they charge you to run the cell and they charge you for the minutes. And they do not spend a cent on the network. What a ripoff! Instead of fixing their network like they are supposed to (and do now), they charge you to do it for them. How rude AT&T!
post #7 of 87
So they make you pay to rent a device that shifts the load of your calls onto a broadband connection you pay for.... and then still count the minutes you use out of your voice plan?



Wow, if this idea/thing takes off, whoever came up with it is getting a fat bonus.
post #8 of 87
Doesn't the addition of this piece of equipment equate to AT&T's admission of its lack of coverage. Now I don't hold AT&T to having a five bar signal strength on top of the Rocky Mountains or in Death Valley or when trudging the Mojave Desert. However, I don't have a signal unless I go down a few houses and cross the street in the major city I live in?! C'mon!

I am wondering if AT&T will subsidize the 3G MicroCell. It's not my fault of AT&T's inefficiencies and why should I pay the added cost to enjoy the same benefits the people down the street have!

I know... whine, whine, whine...

Hey, maybe Obama will include 3G MicroCell's in that so called pork laden spending, er, stimulus bill. If he does, I might just call my representative to express my support... Maybe.

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post #9 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomkarl View Post

Given my lack of understanding the technology involved, this may be a stupid question, but here goes:

Will using a device like this on your internet connection create a lot of traffic that may bother your ISP?

It creates some traffic, but phone calls require very little bandwidth. Also, most folks aren't on the phone for that high a percentage of any given hour, so the traffic is bursty. Probably not significant use of bandwidth.
post #10 of 87
Like we need more radiowave, cancer@home, great.

But maybe with more nodes of less power it will be safer, maybe not.
post #11 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

Doesn't the addition of this piece of equipment equate to AT&T's admission of its lack of coverage. Now I don't hold AT&T to having a five bar signal strength on top of the Rocky Mountains or in Death Valley or when trudging the Mojave Desert. However, I don't have a signal unless I go down a few houses and cross the street in the major city I live in?! C'mon!

I am wondering if AT&T will subsidize the 3G MicroCell. It's not my fault of AT&T's inefficiencies and why should I pay the added cost to enjoy the same benefits the people down the street have!
.

You don't get to go down the street, unless your neighbor has registered you on their device (from the screen capture in the article). It does improve your coverage at home if it was marginal. Also, you will be much less likely to be blocked from calling if their is heavy volume on the cell tower that services your home.

That said, I think they should make the calling from the cell free since you would be freeing them from the expense of back hauling your call and building new towers to increase capacity.
post #12 of 87
The fact that people are buying these (from any carrier) simply shows you how much they love their phones. All carriers have dead zones. I agree they are the ones who should fix them. If an engineer comes out and determines they can't adjust their towers, then they should provide you with one of these boxes and apologize that they can't provide coverage any other way and that they would be grateful if you would use your own Internet access to help them provide quality coverage to you. But given that they see people are willing to pay for it, why should they offer it for free?

Would I pay all this extra to AT&T for just any phone? No. For my iPhone? Yeah, probably. But, I suspect most people would rather just switch to Verizon. They won't get an iPhone, but they'll get better coverage and have access to some pretty cool phones.
post #13 of 87
No matter where I am in the city, no matter which of my 3 cell phones I am using, I get dropped calls daily, I have to try 5+ times to call out, or I receive voice messages after my phone never rings, etc. As soon as my ATT contract is over, I'll jump, I phone or not !
post #14 of 87
It's a bean counter's dream - AT&T charges you for service that's provided by your ISP. Maybe Comcast, Time Warner, or if they're really lucky, Verizon. And you pay an extra fee on top!

What's next:
If I didn't have a direct shot at the Direct TV satellites I could hook up my DTV receiver to my cable service and watch TV through Time Warner. For a small fee to DTV.
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post #15 of 87
these articles always make me laugh on this site.

tell us what other options are available, in this case, the T-Mobile@home hotspot service, and then spend half the article talking about all it's negative points so that people don't think they are getting the shaft from AT&T.

The T-Mobile solution is OBVIOUSLY the better solution, to say that the technology isn't quite there is misleading. This service was launched 18 months ago, not last week... same time as the iPhone. It allows for customers to use their wi-fi connection at home to get FREE calls. No Long Distance, just free calls. And if you are out and about and come home, the phone automatically switches you to the wi-fi network so the remainder of your call is free. Now that is a box and a monthly fee worth paying for. While I'm sure the first few devices had their shard of dropped calls and mistakes, I've heard nothing but good things about the device. It could potentially allow you to drop your land line considering you are only paying 10 bucks a month... even if you don't have t-mobile service at your house, this still works.

AT&T charges you for a box to fix their shoddy network, and that's deemed more acceptable in this article. Let's take the apple blinders off for a second, and look at this rationally.
post #16 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by weshsu View Post

The fact that people are buying these (from any carrier) simply shows you how much they love their phones. All carriers have dead zones. I agree they are the ones who should fix them. If an engineer comes out and determines they can't adjust their towers, then they should provide you with one of these boxes and apologize that they can't provide coverage any other way and that they would be grateful if you would use your own Internet access to help them provide quality coverage to you. But given that they see people are willing to pay for it, why should they offer it for free?

Would I pay all this extra to AT&T for just any phone? No. For my iPhone? Yeah, probably. But, I suspect most people would rather just switch to Verizon. They won't get an iPhone, but they'll get better coverage and have access to some pretty cool phones.

Absolutely right. Many of us have not purchased an iPhone for the very reasons that you mention. After all the number one priority of any phone you would think would be the connection- rather than the phone itself.
However, I am a proud owner of an iPod Touch.
post #17 of 87
Why would I want to pay for a device that gives me a 3G connection when I can use my wireless instead?
post #18 of 87
This article makes a femtocell sound like a Wifi repeater, where a weak spot can be covered by a small box, and the signal 'repeated' or extended to the next aerial. But it actually uses the public internet as its backhaul to reach AT&T's network, so you are:

paying AT&T to provide you 'unlimited' 3G bandwidth, in the case of the iPhone;
PLUS extra money to AT&T for this box;
PLUS an ISP bill for the bandwidth to connect your box to AT&T.

My AT&T 'Unlimited' bill is $170 month.
My ISP is $39.99 a month;
If AT&T follow Sprint's example, the box will cost $99 PLUS $4.99 per month.

A femtocell can allow up to 4 mobile devices to connect simultaneously. Do you think AT&T is going to let you specify which devices can connect beyond your own? No, they are surreptitiously going to let their customers provide open bandwidth to make their 3G network omnipresent, when you are footing the bill of both consumer and provider! If everyone just opened their Wireless Access Points up to the public, we could all place calls almost everywhere, and cut the largest part of our monthly bill out, which is the cellular network provider.

If you live in Germany and have a 3G device tethered to your computer, you practically don't even need a home ISP, never mind a femtocell. US folks are getting hoodwinked more everyday when it comes to bandwidth/connectivity.

I shouldn't have to pay for AT&T and my ISP and my cable TV company to get me the same thing: bandwidth.
post #19 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


... Use of the signal is identical to AT&T's existing 3G network, with minutes and long distance billed just as if the user were not contributing their private Internet connection to relay AT&T's signal.


Are you sure about that? I thought one of the advantages of this was that your time wouldn't be counted towards your minutes. That is why cell carriers were getting away with what they were charging for these things.

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post #20 of 87
Hopefully they would offer a similar plan as Sprint where you pay $10 a month and while at home all calls are unlimited & you only use up airtime when you really need it. The verizon box is not only a rip-off but it's pretty much useless to, how can they expect people to pay $250 for and box & then they piggy back your broadband so they can offer you & others a service that you're already paying for.
post #21 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by fezzasus View Post

Why would I want to pay for a device that gives me a 3G connection when I can use my wireless instead?

You would need this box for the cell connection for voice calls. Or you can use true-phone or other voip iphone app.
post #22 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

What's next: [/B] If I didn't have a direct shot at the Direct TV satellites I could hook up my DTV receiver to my cable service and watch TV through Time Warner. For a small fee to DTV.

You jest! My parents's cable company switched content a few months back and they are now providing Dish or DirecTV (I can't remember) content. Satellite over cable. Oh the irony! When it storms, their signal goes out, just like it does for everyone else with satellite TV.
post #23 of 87
Holy shit - telephony is getting VERY complicated. Progress? or not? This is why Apple's insistence on simplicity is a good thing. You gotta be pretty tech savvy to even make a phone call these days. Ah, the good old days... or maybe not.... A friend and his 10 year old daughter were in an old fashioned elevator where there was an emergency phone of some sort - with a circular dialer. Remember those? My friend's daughter studied it for a while and then asked what it was. When she was told it was a phone her face scrunched up in a "HUH?" expression. "How do you use THAT?" she asked. Try explaining a dial phone to a kid who's never seen one.
post #24 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by eh270 View Post

So they make you pay to rent a device that shifts the load of your calls onto a broadband connection you pay for.... and then still count the minutes you use out of your voice plan?



Wow, if this idea/thing takes off, whoever came up with it is getting a fat bonus.

My thoughts exactly

I would think about spending $100-200 bucks on this device if it switched off their network and I had unlimited minutes using my on broadband. But if they expect the consumer to pay (in my case att 2x) for broadband and cell phone they are out of their mind. I would rather use wifi on my phone and just make EDGE calls and use their network.
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post #25 of 87
When AT&T (back before it became Cingular, and then AT&T again) first rolled out GSM service, I got an offer for a $99/month all-you-can-eat mobile plan. Unlimited call time, no roaming (back when that was an issue), unlimited long distance. It was pricey, but not so much in retrospect. Pay the fee and never worry about any extra charges.

(I didn't go for it, because I don't use the phone much, but it was available to early GSM adopters.)

These days we're getting nickeled, dimed, and silver-dollared to death with endless charges and billing surprises. Well, I have an idea for any carrier who wants to win customers back once and for all:

A $149/mo* No-Bullshit Plan

- unlimited minutes, long distance, roaming
- unlimited wireless data (including tethering)
- unlimited text messages
- nationwide WiFi access, wherever available
- nationwide dialup, wherever available
- 3 Mbps home broadband
- unlimited VoIP home phone service, including in-house mobile phone connections
- free home microcell service (customer buys hardware, which also includes 802.11n WiFi, 4-port GigE Ethernet switch, and built-in DSL or cable modem)


This is not a stretch. Most people would use some of these features to their fullest extent, while leaving other parts unused. It would satisfy many people's desires to simply be able to use their service without worrying about billing surprises. For the carrier it would simplify everything to a single login/authentication account and leverage their existing infrastructure. The monthly price (* above) might need to be tweaked to guarantee profitability, but then it would give them the piece of mind of steady revenue. Such a service would market itself.

But it would never happen...
post #26 of 87
Would be nice if AT&T would just expand their network beyond mid to large cities. What a concept that would be!

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post #27 of 87
What A Joke!

If you travel to Asia, say Hong Kong, Japan, or Taiwan, you'll get 3G, or HSDPA even on the subway, and that's like several stories underneath the streets.

Besides, there are tons of skyscrapers around the cities, and you'll never be in a dead zone.

How come mighty AT&T cannot fix such a simple problem?

If the reception is bad, or if there's a dead zone, BANG! Put another Cell tower.

DARN! GREEDY AT&T, just want to minimize their expenditures on expanding hardware infrastructure while jacking, and ripping off customers.
post #28 of 87
I agree with you.

I'm so sick and tired of this and that from AT&T or any other wireless provider.

BTW, did you guys know that if you put your SIM Card into a Nokia phone with Bluetooth, you'll be able to use it as a wireless modem with your Macbook/Macbook Pro?

Yeah, right, that's what I've been using, I bought the iPhone plan, and now, wherever I go, if I can't find a hotspot, then I'll just use my Nokia with iPhone plan.

Unlimited Internet.

Greedy AT&T. Trying to CHARGE people for tethering.

People in Europe has been doing that for a long time, that's why most phone has that capability.

Hate AT&T


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

When AT&T (back before it became Cingular, and then AT&T again) first rolled out GSM service, I got an offer for a $99/month all-you-can-eat mobile plan. Unlimited call time, no roaming (back when that was an issue), unlimited long distance. It was pricey, but not so much in retrospect. Pay the fee and never worry about any extra charges.

(I didn't go for it, because I don't use the phone much, but it was available to early GSM adopters.)

These days we're getting nickeled, dimed, and silver-dollared to death with endless charges and billing surprises. Well, I have an idea for any carrier who wants to win customers back once and for all:

A $149/mo* No-Bullshit Plan

- unlimited minutes, long distance, roaming
- unlimited wireless data (including tethering)
- unlimited text messages
- nationwide WiFi access, wherever available
- nationwide dialup, wherever available
- 3 Mbps home broadband
- unlimited VoIP home phone service, including in-house mobile phone connections
- free home microcell service (customer buys hardware, which also includes 802.11n WiFi, 4-port GigE Ethernet switch, and built-in DSL or cable modem)


This is not a stretch. Most people would use some of these features to their fullest extent, while leaving other parts unused. It would satisfy many people's desires to simply be able to use their service without worrying about billing surprises. For the carrier it would simplify everything to a single login/authentication account and leverage their existing infrastructure. The monthly price (* above) might need to be tweaked to guarantee profitability, but then it would give them the piece of mind of steady revenue. Such a service would market itself.

But it would never happen...
post #29 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

I like the concept, but would be a bit surprised if the masses pay to extend a network that we are already paying for. When did it become common place for me not to be able to use my cell phone at home?

If I had walked in to get my phone, and told that I had to pony up a few extra hundred bucks to use my new expensive phone and service at home, my purchase decision would have been different.

Why not provide a box that has a bit more range and sprinkle them around the city to cover holes, asking users to share their internet connection. Also, allow anyone in range to connect.

The registering the device stuff seems like they just want to sell one of these to me, and to my neighbor.

You'd be surprised how popular these things are in areas with network problems.

A few months ago, if available, I would have gotten one for my home because we had poor 3G reception there.

Once AT&T cleared that up with their moving 3G from 1900 MHz to 850 MHz, it was no longer needed.
post #30 of 87
OK, maybe it's been too many years since I've done my junior high math -

But isn't a 5,000 sq ft hot spot a circle with a radius of just 40 ft? (Smaller than even a 802.11g Wi-Fi hotspot) Please correct me if I'm wrong...

I guess it's worth it if you just want to bring reception to your apartment or small business, and can position the cell in a central location...Hopefully there is no monthly charge
post #31 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATARO View Post

This doesn't ring true to me. Even with UMA, the WiFi calls have to be carried by SOMEONE... that would still be AT&T (even if several options were available, it could be programmed to only use AT&T as the carrier).

VOIP calls (which would be going over WiFi), as you can tell by the name, go over the internet, not the carriers phone network. They are two distinct networks. The carrier can't tell what is going over WiFi therefor, because data is data.
post #32 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by chadisawesome View Post

these articles always make me laugh on this site.

tell us what other options are available, in this case, the T-Mobile@home hotspot service, and then spend half the article talking about all it's negative points so that people don't think they are getting the shaft from AT&T.

The T-Mobile solution is OBVIOUSLY the better solution, to say that the technology isn't quite there is misleading. This service was launched 18 months ago, not last week... same time as the iPhone. It allows for customers to use their wi-fi connection at home to get FREE calls. No Long Distance, just free calls. And if you are out and about and come home, the phone automatically switches you to the wi-fi network so the remainder of your call is free. Now that is a box and a monthly fee worth paying for. While I'm sure the first few devices had their shard of dropped calls and mistakes, I've heard nothing but good things about the device. It could potentially allow you to drop your land line considering you are only paying 10 bucks a month... even if you don't have t-mobile service at your house, this still works.

AT&T charges you for a box to fix their shoddy network, and that's deemed more acceptable in this article. Let's take the apple blinders off for a second, and look at this rationally.

The T-Mobile solution sucks. It has a lot of problems. I know a couple of people in areas where their network is minimal, and so they use the UMA "solution". It's unreliable, and they have about two hours of talktime on their phones.

Great solution!

If we had that, we'd be screaming!
post #33 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by chadisawesome View Post

these articles always make me laugh on this site.

tell us what other options are available, in this case, the T-Mobile@home hotspot service, and then spend half the article talking about all it's negative points so that people don't think they are getting the shaft from AT&T.

The T-Mobile solution is OBVIOUSLY the better solution, to say that the technology isn't quite there is misleading. This service was launched 18 months ago, not last week... same time as the iPhone. It allows for customers to use their wi-fi connection at home to get FREE calls. No Long Distance, just free calls. And if you are out and about and come home, the phone automatically switches you to the wi-fi network so the remainder of your call is free. Now that is a box and a monthly fee worth paying for. While I'm sure the first few devices had their shard of dropped calls and mistakes, I've heard nothing but good things about the device. It could potentially allow you to drop your land line considering you are only paying 10 bucks a month... even if you don't have t-mobile service at your house, this still works.

AT&T charges you for a box to fix their shoddy network, and that's deemed more acceptable in this article. Let's take the apple blinders off for a second, and look at this rationally.

Lets not be blind to the fact though that T-Mobile does not have their network in anywhere near as many places as AT&T. Where I live is a perfect example. At work I could use T-Mobile if I'm on the right floor in the right part of the building. When I get 1/3 of the way home, no more T-Mobile and I live about 20 miles from their tower.

With AT&T it's rock solid at work no matter the floor except if I go to the basement which is under alot of metal and concrete. Some of the basement still works but most it doesn't. Going home and AT&T is still solid. Sure there are days they seem to have an issue but it's like 3 days out of the year.

As for this device I admit it sounds a bit like a bad joke but there are probably businesses that would do it. I don't see this as a home consumer solution for anything.
post #34 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsailer View Post

You don't get to go down the street, unless your neighbor has registered you on their device (from the screen capture in the article). It does improve your coverage at home if it was marginal. Also, you will be much less likely to be blocked from calling if their is heavy volume on the cell tower that services your home.

That said, I think they should make the calling from the cell free since you would be freeing them from the expense of back hauling your call and building new towers to increase capacity.

You miss the point of my rant...

If my house was just down the street, I wouldn't need the aid of a 3G MicroCell from AT&T. I would have a signal both while out in the yard or inside the structure!

But being on the wrong side of the tracks so to speak, I don't. At least not in the house and I have to find a good spot out in the yard.

More bars in more places, sure. Just not at my place.

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #35 of 87
Since this box is identified for 3G, does that mean that the millions of 1st generation iPhones won't work with it?

- Dave Marsh
iMac Intel 27" 3.4GHz, iPad Air 64GB, iPhone 5 32GB

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- Dave Marsh
iMac Intel 27" 3.4GHz, iPad Air 64GB, iPhone 5 32GB

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post #36 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

VOIP calls (which would be going over WiFi), as you can tell by the name, go over the internet, not the carriers phone network. They are two distinct networks. The carrier can't tell what is going over WiFi therefor, because data is data.

Ah, no. If the phone is placing a call over the internet it has to be connecting to something, and people's normal phones do not have IP addresses. So the call must connect to a server which connects to the phone system and to the phone being called.

Using something like Sykpe to call another Skype user is a different matter, but what we are talking about here is making normal phone calls.
post #37 of 87
Anybody know when AT&T is planning to start selling thier MicroCells, any time this year perhaps ? Thanks,any answer would be very helpfull.
post #38 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by chadisawesome View Post

these articles always make me laugh on this site.

tell us what other options are available, in this case, the T-Mobile@home hotspot service, and then spend half the article talking about all it's negative points so that people don't think they are getting the shaft from AT&T.

The T-Mobile solution is OBVIOUSLY the better solution, to say that the technology isn't quite there is misleading. This service was launched 18 months ago, not last week... same time as the iPhone. It allows for customers to use their wi-fi connection at home to get FREE calls. No Long Distance, just free calls. And if you are out and about and come home, the phone automatically switches you to the wi-fi network so the remainder of your call is free. Now that is a box and a monthly fee worth paying for. While I'm sure the first few devices had their shard of dropped calls and mistakes, I've heard nothing but good things about the device. It could potentially allow you to drop your land line considering you are only paying 10 bucks a month... even if you don't have t-mobile service at your house, this still works.

AT&T charges you for a box to fix their shoddy network, and that's deemed more acceptable in this article. Let's take the apple blinders off for a second, and look at this rationally.

Yeah this site is a bit of a joke, they don't even pretend to try to be objective, they're just cheer leaders for Apple and any product they push out the door and now, AT&T. Fanboys (or maybe just shills) like melgross just add to the mix. Criticism of their beloved products or companies does not go down well.
post #39 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by merdhead View Post

Ah, no. If the phone is placing a call over the internet it has to be connecting to something, and people's normal phones do not have IP addresses. So the call must connect to a server which connects to the phone system and to the phone being called.

Using something like Sykpe to call another Skype user is a different matter, but what we are talking about here is making normal phone calls.

Apparently not, as they can't monitor them from what's being said. If they could, it would be different.

What's you missed in the original post, and my reply, is that we were talking about WiFi. WiFi calls are VOIP.

UMA is different as well. Normally, the phone company can't track those calls either, which is why they need that battery gulping software on the phone, so that they can monitor the call from the PHONE, as it can't be monitored from the network.

These devices from Sprint, Verizon, and possibly AT&T, are using 3G, not WiFi. They act just like a regular 3G service. I'm not referring to that.
post #40 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by merdhead View Post

Yeah this site is a bit of a joke, they don't even pretend to try to be objective, they're just cheer leaders for Apple and any product they push out the door and now, AT&T. Fanboys (or maybe just shills) like melgross just add to the mix. Criticism of their beloved products or companies does not go down well.

Please, don't act any jerkier than you normally do. You aren't all that knowledgeable so that you can afford to make statements like that.
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