Las Vegas - AT&T Wireless in
mid-April plans to expand availability of its first residential femtocell,
which is designed to improve in-home cellular coverage and reduce traffic on the
carrier's wireless network, AT&T announced here at CTIA Wireless 2010.
The $149.99 AT&T 3G MicroCell, made in collaboration with
Cisco, operates like a miniature cellular base station, routing cellphone calls
and data sessions over the Internet via a home's broadband modem. It's promoted
as the only femtocell to support both 3G data and voice services.
Wireless and Sprint also offer femtocells, and T-Mobile offers a similar
type of service.
The femtocell has been available
since September for trials in select markets.
Through an on-line account,
purchasers enable up to 10 cellphone numbers to access the femtocell, and up to
four cellphones will be able to make calls simultaneously through the device.
Minutes used over the femtocell
count against a user's regular cellphone plan, but for $19.99 a month, AT&T
lets individual or family-plan customers make unlimited calls through a 3G
MicroCell without using up their wireless voice-plan minutes.
Consumers who select 3G MicroCell
calling plans are eligible for a $100 mail-in-rebate to reduce the femtocell's
price to $49.99. If they also buy AT&T residential DSL or U-verse 1.5MB or
higher residential-broadband service, the purchaser is eligible for another $50
via mail-in-rebate to reduce the femtocell's price to free.
Consumers self-install and
self-activate the femtocell. Channels of distribution weren't disclosed.