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  • AT&T's Free 3G MicroCell Giveaway May Be Far Less Widespread Than Believed


    Over the weekend, scant reports began surfacing of AT&T giving away free 3G MicroCells to a select few individuals deemed by the carrier to be 'loyal customers." Since then, adequate coverage has been afforded to these isolated incidents to make it seem as though AT&T has rolled out a massive giveaway rooted in the type of generosity we've never seen from this particular carrier or any other.

    But before we all get our hopes up too high, let's hold our feet more firmly to the ground as we dig deeper into this giveaway, which, by all accounts, is anything but a mega-inventory-threatening campaign to give away tons of mini cell towers. As our friends at Apple Insider reported Monday, AT&T has recently distributed "certificates" to "some customers," that effectively serve as coupons for a free 3G MicroCell, a device that works to boost at-home reception strength via broadband Internet connection.

    So far, the notes have been linked to a highly targeted category of AT&T customers - those who have either logged a long history of complaints (unconfirmed but highly suspected) or are only weeks away from the end of their two year contract. The carrier's motive, logically, could be to help retain some customers through this MicroCell ploy and potentially bate other customers into staying as a result of the heady one-two punch born of a positive PR boost and the prospect of getting something for free by staying with AT&T.

    As far as we can tell, however, the letter from AT&T promising a free 3G MicroCell with no hidden costs or other strings attached has reached only a very, very, very - dare I say "micro" - base of AT&T subscribers. But the clever carrier is picking up the most positive PR it's received in months as a result of the move. That's all fine and good... just don't be under any illusion that you're next in line for a free 3G MicroCell. You're probably not.


    Apple Insider
    This article was originally published in forum thread: AT&T's Free 3G MicroCell Giveaway May Be Far Less Widespread Than Believed started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 59 Comments
    1. southfrisco's Avatar
      southfrisco -
      Give me a free two year contract for having to put up with random dropped calls, price gouging and pathetic customer service for the past seven years and I might then feel like a "loyal" customer. Giving away a chunk of plastic that probably costs $30 to manufacture to customers that are out of contract but pay $100+ a month isn't charity. It is just another ploy in the long line of bs this company tries to pull on people. And it still doesn't help some who have used these devices.

      Can't wait for the unlock. T-Mobile pre paid here I come!
    1. Antman217's Avatar
      Antman217 -
      I get five bars and 3G almost everywhere I go. So I guess I don't need this but I don't have an iPhone 4 so I don't really know how bad the reception with that is but with my good old iPhone 3G it's like I got a cell tower with me at all times. I love AT&T in my area!
    1. tamaysz's Avatar
      tamaysz -
      AT&T sounds like a total fail! Just like my old provider Rogers (Formerly AT&T Canada)... It's no wonder why Rogers is a fail too. I'm so glad I switched to Telus. I have never had a single problem with them yet.
    1. kennic's Avatar
      kennic -
      I did not get a offer for a free one, but I did receive a offer for one for $49.
    1. quidam_brujah's Avatar
      quidam_brujah -
      /me furiously pounds 'Mark the Spot' on his iPhones...
    1. ocbum's Avatar
      ocbum -
      Just got my letter for a free 3G micro cell. Going to get it tomorrow. Guess 10 years with AT&T pays off. 
    1. evolasme's Avatar
      evolasme -
      Quote Originally Posted by 8r00k1yn8411!n View Post
      instead of the free bumper case, everyone will get a free roll of duct tape to fix the problem
      The one thing you'll never hear a redneck say " I don't think duct tape is gonna fix that"

      =•p
    1. lsufan51's Avatar
      lsufan51 -
      Why not just use wifi at home? This seems kind of useless to me.
    1. center_99_99's Avatar
      center_99_99 -
      Quote Originally Posted by lsufan51 View Post
      Why not just use wifi at home? This seems kind of useless to me.

      It is not just for internet. I have 1-0 bars at my house without the micro cell. At least with the micro cell I know when someone calls and I can call them back with the home phone, instead of finding out hours later when my phone stops "searching" and finally gets service.
    1. StevenB's Avatar
      StevenB -
      I got a letter yesterday offering a free one. The sales rep at AT&T store said that a lot of people in the area got that letter (and they had sold out of them). I actually have great signal where I live with 3 cell towers within a mile radius (not sure how far the AT&T one is). Only things I can think of are:

      -Complaints about service
      -Mark the Spot (got that text saying my signal was going to improve)
      -Spoke to a retention rep and got offered a better plan and free minutes
    1. jfadler's Avatar
      jfadler -
      I received one. I haven't upgraded to the iPhone 4 or complained to at&t about any reception issues. Guess im just one of those lucky few
    1. lsufan51's Avatar
      lsufan51 -
      Quote Originally Posted by center_99_99 View Post
      It is not just for internet. I have 1-0 bars at my house without the micro cell. At least with the micro cell I know when someone calls and I can call them back with the home phone, instead of finding out hours later when my phone stops "searching" and finally gets service.
      I retract my previous statement. That does sound useful. Luckily I get good service at home.
    1. grbspltt's Avatar
      grbspltt -
      I just got my letter! I could have used it 5 years ago when I lived in an area where the only way I could get signal is if I stood on the master bedroom toilet and stuck my head out the window. I guess I'll just pick one up and hold onto it just in case I need it if I move.
    1. gillile1's Avatar
      gillile1 -
      I started my “relationship” with AT&T in July of 2008 with my iPhone 3G, my family has a cottage in Northern Michigan AT&T’s coverage map shows the area is covered with Edge service but it’s really Edge of nowhere. So I had followed the MicroCell story since I first learned about it on MMI (kudos to MMI – great resource!). So after paying my $100 monthly fee’s to AT&T I finally decided they needed to start appreciating me for the loyal customer I was. The MicroCell wasn’t rolled out to Northern Michigan yet but lets face it that was B.S. red tape and with a little pushing sure enough they mailed me a MicroCell (after I paid $150). The straw that broke the camels back was when I heard how generous AT&T was to customers who contracts were going to be up this year they were waving the early termination fee that’s when I got pissed and spent some quality time with the CSR at AT&T. Rule one don’t shoot the messenger I was always very courteous to AT&T henchmen but never excepted no. One thing ask for the stars and negotiate from there first call in the rep finally asked me “so how much can we take off a future bill to keep you as an AT&T customer” (they won’t reduce the price of the iPhone 4 but they will credit your account). I wasn’t expecting that question so soon and was caught flat footed and threw out $50 the AT&T rep said “well if $50 will keep you with us then I can take care of that right now” – I was sooo stupid that was way too easy! Anyway this post is getting way to long but I received a $230 credit on my account for my white iPhone (sucks waiting and seeing people with their black ones but it couldn’t be pawned yet so what’s the rush right?). Have been so happy with the MicroCell up at the cottage that I called AT&T and complained about the poor quality of 3G serive in my condo that they gave me an additional $150 credit (had to pay the taxes for it – pick and choose your battles). My latest is my sister and brother-inlaw got a coupon in the mail today for a free MicroCell so called AT&T and went through the dog and pony show again but sure enough they folded, although the last level of supervisor I told “I didn’t care if they had to dig up Alexander Graham Bell I don’t think it should cost me to build their network one MicroCell at a time!
    1. posrjak's Avatar
      posrjak -
      I got the letter in the mail today and went to the store and got the last micro cell. The rep told me AT&T messed up and it was only suppose to go out to 2 markets at a test but the send them out to 15 markets. Been a long time AT&T customer and have used Mark the spot constintly letting AT&T know that I had no or little service at the house. Can't wait to hook up and tear. Hope I am kne of the lucky ones who it works well for.
    1. Ryfly's Avatar
      Ryfly -
      Quote Originally Posted by posrjak View Post
      I got the letter in the mail today and went to the store and got the last micro cell. The rep told me AT&T messed up and it was only suppose to go out to 2 markets at a test but the send them out to 15 markets. Been a long time AT&T customer and have used Mark the spot constintly letting AT&T know that I had no or little service at the house. Can't wait to hook up and tear. Hope I am kne of the lucky ones who it works well for.

      You know i find the micro cell funny yet needed for many. Your connection will entirely depend on your internet, so if you dont have high speed, your screwed!
    1. CZroe's Avatar
      CZroe -
      Quote Originally Posted by KartRacer View Post
      They have expanded their coverage all the way down to Macon Ga in te past few years and pretty far down I-85 towards Columbus too. I've not had any coverage problems in the metro area and was surprised they fixed the huge dead zone between Stockbridge and Macon. There was little to no coverage there and now it's all 3G. I don't know about Peachtree City but they've continuously expanded 3G further and further out of the metro Atlanta area over the past few years.
      Did you leave the immediate areas surrounding the Interstate/freeways? Newnan, GA still only gets coverage when you're near i85. Everywhere else there is Edge or worse. Covering travelers is not the same as covering cities. Once they'd set up towers along i85, they never set up any more because that stretch was covered and they hadn't started actually covering the city. i85 in Newnan already had coverage when I got my first 3G phone and remains the only 3G coverage in Newnan, which is part of metro Atlanta. They should be ashamed. 3G bandwidth is pretty limited while in motion anyway, so seeing them expand coverage on freeways instead of focusing on population centers is even more frustrating.

      To top it off, my brother's 3G microcell ("Femtocell") drops the calls about 2/3rds of the time when he drives away and it hands off to Edge. This is not OK. This is creating a new problem where there was already a fix needed.
    1. posrjak's Avatar
      posrjak -
      Yes it is the necessary evil. Still not sure on call quality yet but I have full bars in my house :-) Aleast I should have less failed txt messages.
    1. dsouth77's Avatar
      dsouth77 -
      I received an offer for a free 3G Microcell last week, still tring to get one. I've been calling 5 AT&T stores in the area everyday, all say none in stock (they are a hot item) and to call back tomorrow say they get shipments in everyday.