AT&T Launches 3G Microcell To Soothe Spotty Networks

tower broadband 3G According to AT&T

Each 3G Microcell works with up to four users at a time. The device, also called a femtocell, covers about 5,000 square feet and works only in AT&T coverage zones. If you're an AT&T user and want unlimited at-home minutes on top of your 3G Microcell, it'll cost you $20 a month, but you do get a $100 rebate off the price of the Microcell itself.

AT&T did not issue a press release around 3G Microcell or make much of the launch besides going live with an online portal. Late last week, several telecom-focused blogs picked up on a note from Zacks Investment Research that suggested AT&T's femtocell would go live in several markets "in the next week."

Zacks also named Atlanta, San Antonio and Seattle as test markets but AT&T has confirmed only Charlotte. Zacks suggested in a blog post last week that "the U.S. is likely to undergo a massive wave of 3G femtocell from the end of 2009."

AT&T's femtocell is the first to offer 3G support. AT&T's telco rivals have similar network boosters, including Verizon's Network Extender and Sprint's Airave. Neither of those, however, supports 3G data; Verizon's supports only cell calls, and Airave only supports 2G speeds. Sprint was the first telco to offer a commercially available femtocell when Airave debuted in August 2008.

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