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AT&T Scheduled To Test Femtocells In 2009 – Kills My Hope For UMA

In case you don’t know femtocells are little cell phone towers that piggyback on your home broadband internet connection to provide you cellphone reception in your house. This is perfect for people who have shoddy reception in their apartments or houses. Sprint has already released a femtocell for their network called the Airave. The problem is that Sprint charges and arm and a leg to use it which makes it useless.

The AP is reporting that AT&T will be testing out 3G femtocells next year. Sadly this probably means that AT&T will never try out UMA which just lets you make calls and access the internet over WiFi like T-Mobile does with [email protected] I think UMA is a better idea since that just piggybacks on the same technology, WiFi, that many people already have in their homes.

Hopefully AT&T will not charge to use the femtocells like Sprint does. Or better yet they should follow in T-Mobiles footsteps and just deduct your minutes for those calls and offer a paid unlimited plan.

What do you think?

via AP via IntoMobile

8 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I think your completely right and knowing att they would probably charge you half your pay check for it! Al though tmobile has been really slow at getting new things out in the US they have one of the best services in the nation. And I hope they don’t change that. That’s why most of their smart phone devices have wifi

  2. i can not wait for this. the coverage in my house sucks. i installed a signal booster but it does not work.
    i heard it will cost 100$
    the devices are from

  3. T-Mo did such a great job (in my opinion) with their HotSpot UMA service for mobiles and home land line that ATT would be really dumb to not model ofter that. Sprint is a lost case so no wonder they did what they did.

  4. Sprint has a really bad customer service and super expensive I used to be with them for 7yrs and one day they charged me for phones that some one else bought and placed it on my account no wonder there in so much legal trouble and bout to fail

  5. Frankly I think that the idea of them charging anything but minutes for this service is crap. They are the ones that are providing nationwide coverage. If they cant get service into your house then they should be obligated to do what ever it is that they can to get you service everywhere.

    In my own humble opinion, I think that they should be developing these boxes with a much wider output. If they could design a box, even if it required an antennae, that could cover an entire apartment complex, at least 300 units. Then they should do so and even pay the apartment owner.

    Crap even if you put a small box in your house that provides extra signal to a densely populated area, they should give you a discount on your bill.

  6. I would love to have a femtocell in my place to improve AT&T service. I text an average of 6000 to 8000 messages a month, plus at least 1000 MMS. I rarely talk on the phone, so UMA wouldn’t do me much good.

  7. Verizon is testing them too.

    My personal feel is the carriers should PAY us to use these or at least provide them for free. WE are absorbing their backhaul costs with these, minutes should be 100% not tracked when using your femto.

    I also feel that the user should be able to restrict what phones are able to connect. Why should I pay the backhaul for someone else’s calls/data?

  8. The advantage to the femtocell method over UMA is that the device need not be specially capable of connecting to the femtocell (asfaik), whereas a UMA-capable device is required for UMA access.

    Using T-Mobile [email protected], I have a very limited choice of phones which are UMA capable. Not to mention exclusion from their new 3G service in the US; none of their 3G phones are UMA capable. If I had a femtocell in my house, I could use any cell phone. And while I agree that limiting access to it might be preferable, I would like it to work with the cell phone of anyone who was my guest (and was on the same cell network).

    Also, I think unauthorised access would be fairly effectively limited by the range of the femtocell, but I am guessing on that.

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