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  • 3G MicroCell to Give iPhones a Boost Beginning Next Month



    AT&T said this week that it will be ready to introduce its 3G MicroCell nationwide by the middle of April. Serving as a signal booster and, hopefully, the remedy for reception issues, the AT&T 3G MicroCell has been likened to a wireless router for your mobile phone. Providing a small but substantial cell signal upon connection to your network, the 3G MicroCell should help reduce dropped calls around the house - a problem far too common for AT&T's comfort.

    Although AT&T is advertising the unit for sale without additional costs, the reality of "additional costs" is factored into your service plan. That is, minutes used via the 3G MicroCell are deducted from your account. Individual or Family talk subscribers, however, have the option of paying $20 per month for unlimited calls through the mini cell tower. There are, naturally, some incentives tossed in for those who pick up a MicroCell calling plan. The 3G MicroCell hardware, for example, which costs $149.99, comes with a $100 rebate with the purchase of a subscription plan.

    The 3G MicroCell has been teased for national rollout since the device was first beta tested in Charlotte, North Carolina last fall. Just last month, AT&T lumped Georgia, South Carolina, San Diego and Las Vegas into the trial zones. Since all has gone well to date, AT&T is confident enough to introduce the device nationally in about three weeks time.

    Although it seems probable that a great many AT&T customers will purchase the 3G MicroCell, it's also been made perfectly clear by some that there is very little justification in paying AT&T for another piece of hardware (and possibly a subscription plan) just to make the service they're already paying for work as it should have in the first place.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 3G MicroCell to Give iPhones a Boost Beginning Next Month started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 60 Comments
    1. Fallguy's Avatar
      Fallguy -
      Isnt it funny how the only sure place I get dropped calls is while I am reclining in my living room chair ? And they want me to pay to fix this ? And renew my contract ? Just another way to screw the American people . Way to go AT&T , your showing us how companies like you can still STICK IT to the your loyal customers .
    1. mvtrainer's Avatar
      mvtrainer -
      Not only is this a crappy idea but AT&T has managed to make money off this insane idea. The last time I checked it is the providers responsibility to provide service not have for the customer to pay! What is the purpose of the "Mark the Spot" app?
      The other issue they over looked...you are linking it to a router. What does this mean to the customer? There are programs out there that can make calls via...wifi (hence the router).
      Give me a break AT&T...bad, bad job!
    1. southfrisco's Avatar
      southfrisco -
      Was anyone here in the test group? I am confused how this all works.

      1. Is this a mini tower that boosts cell reception by itself and doesn't need to connect to the nearest ATT tower in your area?
      2. Does it actually require you to have a broadband connection for it to work and give you a signal boost? EDIT: I read the comment that broadband is needed but is that for just registration or does this in fact plug into your broadband and use your ISP thus bypassing ATT network altogether?

      If the answers are yes to the questions above then my questions are...

      1. If I get bad reception at home now, how is this suppose to boost my reception if it also has to try and find an already weak ATT signal? Better radio hardware?
      2. If I am utilizing my broadband and diverting network bandwidth from ATT through my ISP provider why on earth do I need to pay ATT for this? In essence it is clearing their stuffed network and putting more money in their pockets.

      I am guessing the range on this thing will be like a wireless router, about 30-40 feet before the signal drops totally.

      Last question, if I buy the hardware and have an allotted amount of minutes (not unlimited) does it mean they double dip when I use this in conjunction with my cell?

      Meaning I talk 50 min at home on my cell using this hardware. So ATT takes 50 min off my bucket of minutes and an additional 50 min for using it on the microcell which means I am out 100 min. And why take more minutes away if in fact this diverts usage from their network and onto my ISP?

      I am not seeing many positives here. Can anyone enlighten me?
    1. thevmax's Avatar
      thevmax -
      I called AT&T when they were testing it.

      First of all, this only works within less than a mile from your home.

      If you are having reception problems and are mobile, this won't help you.

      Secondly, I concur with the original posts in this thread.
      Why the Hell should I have to throw good money after bad,
      to receive what I am already paying for ?!?

      This is like whipping a dead horse!
    1. jayson9's Avatar
      jayson9 -
      Let me see if I can sum this all up.........

      GOOD BYE AT&T!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    1. thetoothfairy's Avatar
      thetoothfairy -
      All cell phones are meant to be used outdoors.... not indoors... if you call any cell provider and tell them you are having problems using your phone in your house they will tell you that they can't do anything about the service in your house but they can outside.... so I can see how they are trying to help people that want to use their phones in their homes.....

      I am still in Florida and At&t service is awful where I am at. I have contacted At&t each month and I have yet to pay my phone bill while being down here... I have been here for five months now.... they have been very nice about it and also because my husband has to use his minutes to call me and went over they removed the minutes he went over.... which was a lot!

      Maybe I can talk to At&t and get to use one of these things to see if it would help me or not. I am going to talk to them soon again and see if they will send me one free of charge to see if it works or not since I have such a bad history with them while being down here....
    1. ultimatexpka's Avatar
      ultimatexpka -
      So im confused, I need to pay $150 to get a device... that connects to internet through my cable modem, to get me more 3g signal? is this a router? because it sounds like a very expensive router, whats the point of getting 3g signal if u have wifi at home???
    1. cm2047's Avatar
      cm2047 -
      So yes AT&T does have some bad coverage but I have noticed it getting better than a year ago. Next I would love this device and pay the $20/month if I didn't have over 3000 rollover minutes and was not on the 900 minute/month plan (in order to get the unlimited minutes to any phone). So if I went back to the 450 minutes/month I would consider this if I saved money from dropping my minutes. If my wife had AT&T I would get this tomorrow and drop both of our plans and save a bunch of money, but she has T-Sucks@ss. Yes I get great reception in my house.

      I don't think this device was developed to help with reception, yes that is a benefit of the product, but it was designed and developed for those who use their cell as their only phone like myself and wife.

      But I have to agree with those that say stop crying about this product, if you don't like don't buy it. Nothing will change for you, YOUR service has not been changed at all, in fact your service may even get better if it relieves congestion on the tower by your house or even everywhere with more people buying it. So in fact by you griping about this you may turn people away from the product. If you were smart you would embrace it and encourage others to buy to help you in the long run.
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Squeaky369 View Post
      (FCC regulations say where 3G can be, don't blame AT&T)
      Disregarded everything you had to say after this. First do you have proof of this ridiculous statement, and if Verizon can cover 5x as much area as AT&T with their 3G what is stopping AT&T? Money. You've bought the lie hook line and sinker. The FCC has ZERO to do with AT&T's lack of coverage and the FCC has not stopped them from expanding it. Their greed, stupidity, and laziness has stopped them. This happened in the Ma Bell days and it's happening now, just now they aren't using copper wires hanging over the sidewalk.

      This is a stupid thing to even charge for, it should be free and not use your minutes when connected to it. Here's why. Pay money to have your paid for device to work on a network you pay for by using your broadband that you pay for to fix our problems that your monthly bill is supposed to pay for. How exactly does it make sense to charge you to use someone elses pipes 9your broadband provider) to route your calls for a service you already pay to have? You're effectively paying for the same thing twice. AT&T has zero shame. Zero.
    1. thinknoffcenter's Avatar
      thinknoffcenter -
      Here's a genius idea, sit by a window when on your phone....problem solved, and it's free!!!!
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      Quote Originally Posted by thetoothfairy View Post
      Maybe I can talk to At&t and get to use one of these things to see if it would help me or not. I am going to talk to them soon again and see if they will send me one free of charge to see if it works or not since I have such a bad history with them while being down here....
      I wouldn't hold my breath about getting one for free. They might give you 20 bucks off your bill but you'd have to be a real smooth talker or get lucky for them to do this for free.

      Quote Originally Posted by thinknoffcenter View Post
      Here's a genius idea, sit by a window when on your phone....problem solved, and it's free!!!!
      Yeah, because I want to sit by a window for an hour while talking to family. Great idea, I'm so dumbfounded why I didn't think about that.
    1. Sherm23's Avatar
      Sherm23 -
      One of my co-workers lives out in the country and would love this. He own quite a bit of land and where his house is in the lowest part making him have a land line. If he can get this device operational in his home he can stop the land line and use only his cell phone. As our phones are the way work gets us in an emergency situation this will also improve his response time.

      Nay-sayers need to expand there imagination bubble for those outside of metro areas.
    1. glassJAw's Avatar
      glassJAw -
      isn't it ironic? that the day that this is mentioned my phone is stuck in "searching" for the past 2 hours only in my apt though, don't you think? a little to ironic....
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      Quote Originally Posted by glassJAw View Post
      isn't it ironic? that the day that this is mentioned my phone is stuck in "searching" for the past 2 hours only in my apt though, don't you think? a little to ironic....
      Mine was going from 'searching....' to one bar every ten or so seconds for over 5 hours yesterday.
    1. glassJAw's Avatar
      glassJAw -
      ^ AT&T must be preparing for the new in house towers
    1. brianlg's Avatar
      brianlg -
      How bogus is this?? We have to pay for a better signal? Cmon ATT get your **** together
    1. clikzip's Avatar
      clikzip -
      At&t trying to get more profits, this thing should be free for all at&t customers. $150 to have better service that im already paying for? I would think it should be at&t that pays for me to have better service rather than me double paying for it. This thing is rediculous and another way At&t is trying to cash in while not having to spend any of its profits to upgrade their network....
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      There was a time I was waiting for this to come out. With the rollout of 3G in my area and full bars in my house I am not sure I want this. That said, our family plan has 3 phones on it. Does that mean for 20 bucks a month we will all get unlimited calling so long as we are connected to this microcell? What about texts?
    1. CMOSlabs's Avatar
      CMOSlabs -
      Hmm, will have to do more research on this device. At least its a option.
      I use icall with wifi for free just for kicks when I'm home or a hotspot and want to save on my minutes.
      In the mean time people will low signals might want to consider a case with a antenna booster. I'm sure there are many out there.
      Like this one at Griffin Griffin Technology: ClearBoost - Antenna-boosting case for original iPhone FYI, your cell antenna is at the bottom of your iPhones, by the mic and speaker, so just by holding your phone differently can improve your reception. For testing, call this number on your iPhone *3001#12345#* then press call.
      This will put you into a call test mode and you can look at the cell towers in your area and the signals, helps you find the sweet spots around your home. Or try the tin foil on your head while holding 2 coat hangers
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      Quote Originally Posted by clikzip View Post
      At&t trying to get more profits, this thing should be free for all at&t customers. $150 to have better service that im already paying for? I would think it should be at&t that pays for me to have better service rather than me double paying for it. This thing is rediculous and another way At&t is trying to cash in while not having to spend any of its profits to upgrade their network....
      It's actually $50, assuming you sign the contract for it. Tmobile (and I think Verizon) have a similar deal going, so this isn't unique to ATT. Really, they figure if you don't get reception in your house and need this service you can pay for it. If not, you can go elsewhere. The latter reason is largely why ATT is fighting to keep the iPhone exclusivity.