T-Mobile has HotSpot @Home, Sprint has AIRAVE, and Verizon has its Wireless Network Extender, leaving just AT&T among the States’ big four carriers without a launched WiFi or femtocell solution for extending signals into the home — but it looks like that’s finally getting close to changing. We know that they’ve been in the process of trialing some units recently, and tipsters have observed that there’s now a pretty slick site launched on AT&T’s domain for its 3G MicroCell, an indication that they might be looking to go retail eventually. There’s quite a bit of detail here; from the picture, we can make out that the unit comes from Cisco (versus Samsung for Sprint and Verizon), and like its competitors, the MicroCell will require a broadband connection to operate. It’ll cover up to 5,000 square feet, allow up to four simultaneous voice or data connections (locked down so that your neighbors can’t pilfer the signal), and most interestingly, will only work with 3G phones. We’ve heard that femtocells are more difficult to manage in a 2G GSM environment than in CDMA and WCDMA — hence the 3G requirement — but the cells offered by Sprint and Samsung only offer 2G coverage, so AT&T’s arguably got an advantage here. We still don’t know exactly when this is coming or for how much dough, but the site makes mention of a “3G MicroCell service plan,” so we’d count on a fee for the pleasure of extending AT&T’s network on their behalf. Follow the break for AT&T’s full rundown of the device.
via Engadget by Chris Ziegler on 1/25/09