AT&T 3G MicroCell nationwide rollout begins in mid-April

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Dead spots and connectivity issues in the home could be a thing of the past for some U.S. iPhone users next month, when AT&T begins the formal nationwide rollout of its 3G MicroCell service.



AT&T, the exclusive carrier of Apple's iPhone in the U.S., announced Wednesday that it would begin the national rollout of the 3G MicroCell in mid-April. New markets will be activated in cities across the continental U.S. over the next several months, the company said.



The nation's second-largest wireless provider revealed that there will be no additional costs, other than the purchase of the 3G MicroCell device, for using the 3G MicroCell service, as minutes used through the hardware affect the account of the phone making the call. Individual or Family talk subscribers can pay $19.99 per month to make unlimited calls through the special femtocell hardware device.



The 3G MicroCell hardware will cost $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. Those who select both could receive the hardware for free.



The hardware blankets a 5,000 square foot area, about a 40 foot radius from the device, to provide voice, data and text service coverage in areas that might otherwise be a "dead zone" for cell phone reception. The hardware supports up to four users making simultaneous calls, and up to 10 on 3G standby available for incoming calls and messages.







Last September, Charlotte, North Carolina was the first test market for the femtocell device, which provides 3.2Mbit/sec 3G service from the home. In order to support that bandwidth, the device must be connected to an appropriately fast broadband connection.



It was expected that AT&T would expand its 3G MicroCell service to other markets in 2009, but until this week availability was limited to Charlotte. In that test, the device was said to cost $150 and carried no monthly fees.



In February, AT&T expanded its trial of the 3G MicroCell service to five markets, adding select counties in Georgia, South Carolina, San Diego and Las Vegas.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    Cool. The other large providers are rolling out or have rolled out similar services. Not a big deal to me. Spectrum is a finite resource after all....
  • Reply 2 of 46
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,836member
    T-mobile should do the same. Their coverage is pretty spotty 'round here.
  • Reply 3 of 46
    ch2coch2co Posts: 41member
    Let me get this straight. I pay $150 for a device that allows me to use an iPhone in my house where I already have much faster wifi in my house. That makes a lot of sense? How about one for my car so I can use my phone when I can't get a good signal, like most of the time.
  • Reply 4 of 46
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ch2co View Post


    Let me get this straight. I pay $150 for a device that allows me to use an iPhone in my house where I already have much faster wifi in my house. That makes a lot of sense? How about one for my car so I can use my phone when I can't get a good signal, like most of the time.



    1) Yes, objects can affect radio transmissions from penetrating effectively so this is a valuable option for many. No, AT&T shouldn't be giving these away to customers just because. (you didn't suggest that, but someone will.)



    2) WiFi won't help you make and receive calls on AT&T's network.



    3) For your car a cellular signal boosting antenna would work best, assuming the issue is low instead of non-existant. I'm not even sure they have omni-diractional boosters for cars, but the home-based units cost more than the MicroCell.
  • Reply 5 of 46
    I have been enjoying my 3G MicroCell since its introduction in the Charlotte test area. I live minutes from downtown Charlotte and in general have pretty good iPhone reception except at my house. (AT&T technical support indicated it is because I live at the bottom of a hill. Isn't it great that AT&T's network is so advanced that a hill can cripple it?) So much for ditching that landline...but wait--with the MicroCell I can now ditch my AT&T bungee cord.



    Did it piss me off that I had to actually buy and pay for AT&T to get coverage I was already paying for? You betcha. Did it strike me as perversely bizarre that AT&T's "network" solution was to leech my bandwidth from my cable provider. You betcha. But in trying to find the good in the bad, now I can ditch my landline and position myself to kiss AT&T goodbye when Apple ends its exclusivity. Best $150 I ever spent.
  • Reply 6 of 46
    paul94544paul94544 Posts: 1,027member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brownreese View Post


    I have been enjoying my 3G MicroCell since its introduction in the Charlotte test area. I live minutes from downtown Charlotte and in general have pretty good iPhone reception except at my house. (AT&T technical support indicated it is because I live at the bottom of a hill. Isn't it great that AT&T's network is so advanced that a hill can cripple it?) So much for ditching that landline...but wait--with the MicroCell I can now ditch my AT&T bungee cord.



    Did it piss me off that I had to actually buy and pay for AT&T to get coverage I was already paying for? You betcha. Did it strike me as perversely bizarre that AT&T's "network" solution was to leech my bandwidth from my cable provider. You betcha. But in trying to find the good in the bad, now I can ditch my landline and position myself to kiss AT&T goodbye when Apple ends its exclusivity. Best $150 I ever spent.



    Hi frequency radio waves go in stright lines of sight directions mostly unless defelcted by an object, This is why there are dead spots especially in cities where buildings get in the way. Did you ever remember Long Wave radio. The longer the radio waves the eaiser it is for them to bend around objects. Before you spout of more ignorance do a little learning . Educate yourself, oh yes you are a product of the American "Education" system right that explains a lot.
  • Reply 7 of 46
    woohoo!woohoo! Posts: 291member
    Wallet bandits.
  • Reply 8 of 46
    normmnormm Posts: 548member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The nation's second-largest wireless provider revealed that there will be no additional costs, other than the purchase of the 3G MicroCell device, for using the 3G MicroCell service, as minutes used through the hardware affect the account of the phone making the call. Individual or Family talk subscribers can pay $19.99 per month to make unlimited calls through the special femtocell hardware device.



    This whole concept is perverse if you have a WiFi capable smartphone such as the iPhone. Why do you need a 3G microcell? What they should really do is just route your calls over WiFi whenever that's the best route (or at least whenever you're at home). I wouldn't even mind if they charged me for minutes of conversation over my own WiFi. But to add on an extra $150 for a completely unnecessary wireless access point seems stupid!
  • Reply 9 of 46
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,572member
    About time. Just wish they would start supplying real pico-cells for businesses that can be coverage extenders for more than 5 phones.
  • Reply 10 of 46
    finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    This should make a lot of iPhone users happy--but isn't there an upgrade coming soon--from Apple and Verizon?
  • Reply 11 of 46
    danielswdanielsw Posts: 905member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NormM View Post


    This whole concept is perverse if you have a WiFi capable smartphone such as the iPhone. Why do you need a 3G microcell? What they should really do is just route your calls over WiFi whenever that's the best route (or at least whenever you're at home). I wouldn't even mind if they charged me for minutes of conversation over my own WiFi. But to add on an extra $150 for a completely unnecessary wireless access point seems stupid!



    Why do you people seemingly have to be hit over the head in order to grasp something new or a little different?



    The microcell provides CELLULAR PHONE SERVICE to those phones to which you grant access to your microcell, and it uses the WiFi connection to link to the main AT&T cellular network. It's in advance of or in lieu of normal access to regular cellular towers.



    In the majority of cases, WiFi doesn't replace the need for cellular service, at least for other people within the microcell's range who simply would like to make calls from their respective cell phones, which may very well not be iPhones, or from iPhones which don't have VoIP accounts.
  • Reply 12 of 46
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NormM View Post


    This whole concept is perverse if you have a WiFi capable smartphone such as the iPhone. Why do you need a 3G microcell? What they should really do is just route your calls over WiFi whenever that's the best route (or at least whenever you're at home). I wouldn't even mind if they charged me for minutes of conversation over my own WiFi. But to add on an extra $150 for a completely unnecessary wireless access point seems stupid!



    How would the cellular signal be configured in the handset HW and OS to travel over WiFI to the internet on every phone? Sounds to me like this would be a lot of pointless effort from the vendors, not AT&T.



    How would you get a call to come in and ring and work in real time if the wireless network is congested and not setup with specific QoS for the AT&T signal? A common issue with WiFi networks, but less of an issue past the modem?



    To me the MicroCell seems like a fairly inexpensive solution for a longstanding problem. I don't think it's reasonable to expect any carrier to have coverage in every place a user may possible go. If you're had your AT&T phone for more than 30 days you are well aware of how it performs in your home and you have chosen to keep it so this would be a fairly inexpensive solution for a problem that could be many, many years from resolving, and possibly even save you money as an earlier poster pointed out that he was able to cancel his landline.
  • Reply 13 of 46
    filburtfilburt Posts: 398member
    I find MicroCell, at least the pricing aspect, to be troublesome. MicroCell is unnecessary for those that get reliable reception at home. If those with unreliable reception buys this, AT&T has no incentive to fix reception for your home and possibly even made decent profit.
  • Reply 14 of 46
    Now if they would work on providing coverage in the rest of the country where they don't even have Edge Service.
  • Reply 15 of 46
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by filburt View Post


    I find MicroCell, at least the pricing aspect, to be troublesome. MicroCell is unnecessary for those that get reliable reception at home. If those with unreliable reception buys this, AT&T has no incentive to fix reception for your home and possibly even made decent profit.



    That is a point, but there are many reason outside corporate apathy as to why an area doesn't get good cell coverage and I have to assume that many, if not most, of the people interested in this product have not been using AT&T for quite awhile at this point.
  • Reply 16 of 46
    elliots11elliots11 Posts: 270member
    I get 5 bars at my house, but sometimes my roommate will get a call from someone saying they've been trying to call me. Or I'll get a voicemail from way earlier. Maybe this would help me. I don't know if it's worth $150 to fix that though. Plus I may be on Verizon soon. TMobile had something like this that I tried and it sucked, so I'll wait to read the reviews.
  • Reply 17 of 46
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    at&t rakes in 10 billion dollars a year or more in net profit.
  • Reply 18 of 46
    techstudtechstud Posts: 124member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    1) Yes, objects can affect radio transmissions from penetrating effectively so this is a valuable option for many. No, AT&T shouldn't be giving these away to customers just because. (you didn't suggest that, but someone will.)



    2) WiFi won't help you make and receive calls on AT&T's network.



    3) For your car a cellular signal boosting antenna would work best, assuming the issue is low instead of non-existant. I'm not even sure they have omni-diractional boosters for cars, but the home-based units cost more than the MicroCell.



    AT&T needs to improve their service- PERIOD. Your flippant excuses for their mediocrity has no limit. We are paying a Premium for their service. If the iPhone were not on AT&T I highly doubt that you would continually be making excuses for them.
  • Reply 19 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Paul94544 View Post


    Hi frequency radio waves go in stright lines of sight directions mostly unless defelcted by an object, This is why there are dead spots especially in cities where buildings get in the way. Did you ever remember Long Wave radio. The longer the radio waves the eaiser it is for them to bend around objects. Before you spout of more ignorance do a little learning . Educate yourself, oh yes you are a product of the American "Education" system right that explains a lot.



    When suggesting that someone "educate" themselves, you might consider checking your grammar and typing - lest readers wonder about your education. Your post was nearly unintelligible.
  • Reply 20 of 46
    I have the MicroCell (Charlotte) and LOVE IT! It has made a huge difference and I didn't mind paying the $150.00. I must be an anomaly.
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