AT&T's MicroCell Gets 3G Service to iPhones Everywhere

AT&T's MicroCell Gets 3G Service to iPhones Everywhere

Range Govindan
Sep 23, 2009

The iPhone is exclusive to AT&T, this isn't really news to anyone. However, the spotty 3G service has been a pain for a lot of iPhone users, especially in their homes. We all know the reason: AT&T's network isn't geared up to deal with the daily use that usual iPhone owners put their mobiles through. Is MicroCell a solution to this?

MicroCell is a Cisco-built device that will boost the 3G signal of AT&T's hobbled network. The device will let mobile phone owners use their phones at home without any problems. Even if you can't receive the network in your apartment, MicroCell is supposed to boost the signal well enough.

Check out the signal bars. Before and after.

The problem and controversy with this is that AT&T is asking its customers to fork out $150 to patch problems in their network coverage. To most of us, this seems insane. It's up to a carrier to maintain and improve a cell network, not to its customers. Nevertheless, the device will probably sell very well, since a lot of iPhone users want to use their iPhones exclusively, foregoing a landline completely. If AT&T's spotty coverage makes this impossible, then MicroCell is for you. It's currently available only in Charlotte, North Carolina, but we believe that it will be released nation-wide pretty soon. It's similar to Sprint's AIRAVE.

The device will work with your existing cell phone minutes. If you have your phone (via VOIP or a landline) or internet with AT&T, then you get unlimited calls to your cell phone for $10 a month. If you have both, it's free. Otherwise, you'll have to pay an extra $20 a month for unlimited calls. However, you do get a $100 mail-in rebate in the last case, which brings down the cost of the device to $50. Check out Jason Nash's review.

If you have spotty network coverage in your home and you've been wanting to use you iPhone exclusively, then this might be a great option, especially if you already have two of AT&T's services. That way, you don't have to pay anything extra and you get unlimited calls.

[via Engadget, photos by Jason Nash]

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