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  • iPhone Carrier Update = AT&T MicroCell Coming Soon


    An iPhone Carrier Settings Update was pushed out by iTunes recently. What's in it? Among carrier images for some new carriers like the UAE's Emirates (iPhone should be coming to them in a week or so), carrier images for AT&T's MicroCell (site under maintenance at time of story writing) service are now included. MicroCell is essentially a tiny cell tower which gets 3G signal from broadband internet.


    (image from MobileCrunch)

    Here's AT&T's description of MicroCell:

    AT&T 3G MicroCell acts like a mini cellular tower in your home or small business environment. It connects to AT&T's network via your existing broadband internet service (such as DSL or cable) and is designed to support up to 10 3G capable wireless phones in a home or small business setting. With AT&T 3G MicroCell, you receive improved cellular signal performance for both voice calls and cellular data applications, like picture messaging and surfing the web for up to 4 simultaneous users.
    Pricing and release date have not been released for the MicroCell. An AT&T spokesperson told ModMyi only that "we have not yet announced this product." Sprint and Verizon (both CDMA providers, not GSM like AT&T) have similar devices - the AIRAVE by Sprint and Verizon's Network Extender. Sprint charges only $99 for the box, but adds a $4.99 monthly fee. Verizon charges a one-time $249 fee for the box. The MicroCell will allow for full 3G UMTS voice AND data.

    Commercial devices for extending your cell reception can often run $300-600, so neither of these prices are too bad. We'll see how AT&T competes.

    tuaw
    This article was originally published in forum thread: iPhone Carrier Update = AT&T MicroCell Coming Soon started by Kyle Matthews View original post
    Comments 55 Comments
    1. WickedEvo124's Avatar
      WickedEvo124 -
      this comes up on iTunes every time i open it but have been afraid to do the upgrade because i don't want it to mess anything up
    1. podude-touch's Avatar
      podude-touch -
      nothing in the uk yet,
      my iphone hasn't asked for any updates
    1. PorthosPirate's Avatar
      PorthosPirate -
      Quote Originally Posted by poetic_folly View Post
      Pricing and release date have not been released for the MicroCell. An AT&T spokesperson told ModMyi only that "we have not yet announced this product." Sprint and Verizon (both CDMA providers, not GSM like AT&T) have similar devices - the AIRAVE by Sprint and Verizon's Network Extender. Sprint charges only $99 for the box, but adds a $4.99 monthly fee. Verizon charges a one-time $249 fee for the box. The MicroCell will allow for full 3G UMTS voice AND data.
      There is a big miss in this section. The first carrier to offer this service was T-Mobile with their @Home service (a GSM provider like AT&T). They offered their UMTS router (a modified Linksys that hardware handshakes with the phone) for $100. They then offered a $10 @Home plan (for calls). The $10/month add-on was unlimited minutes on the UMTS connection, including if you started a call on UMTS then handed off to a cell tower it remained as a UMTS call. As an added bonus, UMTS could be used from ANY WiFi Access Point, not just their particular router.

      This was particularly interesting when T-Mobile owned the HotSpot network, as you were able to start calls at any HotSpot location (Starbucks) for Free. You also didn't have to pay for the HotSpot service to use it with UMTS.
    1. BenzoHartt's Avatar
      BenzoHartt -
      Good to know, but we really need more info.
    1. DuRo's Avatar
      DuRo -
      Will get only if its free otherwise not worth it. I pay 110 dollars for a plan already. Eff that
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Quote Originally Posted by DuRo View Post
      Will get only if its free otherwise not worth it. I pay 110 dollars for a plan already. Eff that
      I pay 21 for 900mins or 1800 texts or 900 MMS or any combination of the three (2 texts = 1 min or 1MMS) and up to 3Gb of HSDPA data tethered or not (but Not VOIP)

      What on earth do you pay $110 for?
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      would this essentially be a VOIP service or would we still be using our minutes as is part of our plan. I would be more than willing to pay something like $5 a month if it was a VOIP deal because I am usually at home when I take a call. I can bump my minutes package down and add this instead. If all it does is improve cell reception, I already have full bars everywhere I go.. no need to pay extra money for such a service in my home :P

      Quote Originally Posted by PorthosPirate View Post
      There is a big miss in this section. The first carrier to offer this service was T-Mobile with their @Home service (a GSM provider like AT&T). They offered their UMTS router (a modified Linksys that hardware handshakes with the phone) for $100. They then offered a $10 @Home plan (for calls). The $10/month add-on was unlimited minutes on the UMTS connection, including if you started a call on UMTS then handed off to a cell tower it remained as a UMTS call. As an added bonus, UMTS could be used from ANY WiFi Access Point, not just their particular router.

      This was particularly interesting when T-Mobile owned the HotSpot network, as you were able to start calls at any HotSpot location (Starbucks) for Free. You also didn't have to pay for the HotSpot service to use it with UMTS.
      I have a tmo @home servie and at 10 bucks a month I think it is great. I no longer am with TMO for anything but their VOIP services. If ATT's service is similar to TMOs I will swith in a heartbeat, especially if I can transfer to cell towers like we could with TMO

      Quote Originally Posted by perezinthenet View Post
      What is the difference between this and regular wifi?
      Wifi is only data wheras this allows you to make calls as well.
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      I believe this is just an extension antennae so you get full 3G signal - nothing to do with VOIP - just a signal booster, which many will appreciate.
    1. Kyle Matthews's Avatar
      Kyle Matthews -
      Quote Originally Posted by PorthosPirate View Post
      There is a big miss in this section. The first carrier to offer this service was T-Mobile with their @Home service (a GSM provider like AT&T). They offered their UMTS router (a modified Linksys that hardware handshakes with the phone) for $100. They then offered a $10 @Home plan (for calls). The $10/month add-on was unlimited minutes on the UMTS connection, including if you started a call on UMTS then handed off to a cell tower it remained as a UMTS call. As an added bonus, UMTS could be used from ANY WiFi Access Point, not just their particular router.

      This was particularly interesting when T-Mobile owned the HotSpot network, as you were able to start calls at any HotSpot location (Starbucks) for Free. You also didn't have to pay for the HotSpot service to use it with UMTS.
      Correct, but you had to have a phone which was @Home enabled.
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      Quote Originally Posted by confucious View Post
      I believe this is just an extension antennae so you get full 3G signal - nothing to do with VOIP - just a signal booster, which many will appreciate.
      If this is anything like TMO @home service it is exactly VOIP, the difference is you will be using your iPhone as the handset. Also (if it is like TMO's service) you will not be charged for those minutes that you use, which would be GREAT!
    1. perezinthenet's Avatar
      perezinthenet -
      This seems pretty cool, this will work with all phones though, not just an iphone right?
    1. illcaptive's Avatar
      illcaptive -
      ever since the update i cant change my att and 3g/edge icons any more it is stuck on the att stock one. Any advise?
    1. JStraitiff's Avatar
      JStraitiff -
      Quote Originally Posted by illcaptive View Post
      ever since the update i cant change my att and 3g/edge icons any more it is stuck on the att stock one. Any advise?
      try changing them manually or with winterboard other than that just wait for everyone to update their software i would try make it mine
    1. JazJon's Avatar
      JazJon -
      if you dont want to pay any monthly fee's just get a wireless extenders zBoost box. It works great in my condo's garage. A few friends have them working at home. (rock solid) They are around 300 bucks or less on *bay etc.

      Wireless Extenders - Home
      (supports 3G too)
    1. Kyle Matthews's Avatar
      Kyle Matthews -
      Quote Originally Posted by perezinthenet View Post
      This seems pretty cool, this will work with all phones though, not just an iphone right?
      Right. Any AT&T phone.
    1. farfromovin's Avatar
      farfromovin -
      I wish it were going to be like tmo's @home but don't think they would give us the free minutes. I really love my iPhones and our service but Att sure does make you pay. Tmo has the most ridiculously cheap plans, but their service is garbage!
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      From what I gather it is not like T-Mob's @home which, as you say, is a VOIP service. This is a 3G extender service which is like having a 3G mast - it just boosts the 3G signal in areas where you can't get a decent signal.
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2009/0...ne-dead-zones/

      Does a really good job explaining this. I can see having to pay for the device but a monthly fee would be ridiculous. Why should we have to pay for a device AND a monthly fee for that device. Also, I wonder if we will have to register our phones with the device or will everyone within range be able to connect to it?
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Quote Originally Posted by sziklassy View Post
      will everyone within range be able to connect to it?
      Sounds good - all you need to do is persuade your neighbour to buy one
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      Quote Originally Posted by confucious View Post
      Sounds good - all you need to do is persuade your neighbour to buy one
      Hell if thats the case I wouldnt mind just splitting the monthly fee between about 20 neighbors LOL (I live in a 3 story apartment with about 20 total units). That would be ridiculous!