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Sprint Says They'll Offer 3G Femtocells Before AT&T
Improved EVDO connectivity in the home...soon....
by Karl Bode 11:04AM Wednesday Jul 01 2009
Sprint was the first wireless carrier to embrace femtocell technology, their Airave service debuting back in 2007 and allowing unlimited mobile calls over a user's home broadband connection for an additional $15 per month. Now Sprint tells Unstrung they'll be the first to offer 3G femtocell service, allowing not only improved voice signal strength in the home -- but improved EVDO/data phone connectivity as well. Sprint's of course taking a shot at AT&T's announcement this week they'll be offering femtos before the year's end:
quote:
"Just like Sprint was the first with 2G, we'll definitely be the first in the 3G space as well," Mathew Oommen, VP of device and technology development (effectively the CTO), tells Unstrung. "We're not talking about trials; we're talking about full commercial service". . . Oommen says Sprint will be first, but he doesn't say when the 3G femtocell would arrive. And he isn't giving away details about the device, including suppliers, price, and service plans.
Carriers of course love femtocell services because they ease congestion on local towers. Whether they're worth it to consumers depends on price and the quality (or lack thereof) of your indoor cell coverage. In some cases, the carriers themselves get in the way of the service being useful for consumers. For instance, in Verizon's case placing calls over your home broadband connection still ridiculously eats away at your mobile minutes.

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tmoore44

join:2004-08-05
Chicago, IL

Equipment and service should be free

The telecos should be giving this equipment and service away for free. It eases the load on their network, so you're doing them a favor using your bandwidth.

nightdesigns
Gone missing, back soon
Premium
join:2002-05-31
AZ
Reviews:
·CenturyLink

Re: Equipment and service should be free

said by tmoore44:

The telecos should be giving this equipment and service away for free. It eases the load on their network, so you're doing them a favor using your bandwidth.
I agree. I lived in a house that had no sprint reception while 100 yards away I had full reception. Being a long time customer (8 years at the time) and due for a contract renewal, I tried to talk them into the equipment and no additional charge per month for the service. I asked, why should I pay extra when I'm providing them the internet connection. They wouldn't help me.
--
This Space for Rent...

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA
I agree.. I could pay a couple of hundred dollars and just purchase a repeater, and NOT have to use MY broadband connection for THEIR service. Also, a repeater would be good for ANY carrier.
--
Canada = Hollywood North

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

1 recommendation

said by tmoore44:

The telecos should be giving this equipment and service away for free. It eases the load on their network, so you're doing them a favor using your bandwidth.
Then tell your neighbors, HOA and town Governments to stop opposing new cell towers. The signals aren't going to get to your house all by themselves!

Matt3
All noise, no signal.
Premium
join:2003-07-20
Jamestown, NC
kudos:12

Re: Equipment and service should be free

said by fifty nine:

said by tmoore44:

The telecos should be giving this equipment and service away for free. It eases the load on their network, so you're doing them a favor using your bandwidth.
Then tell your neighbors, HOA and town Governments to stop opposing new cell towers. The signals aren't going to get to your house all by themselves!
Not to mention 1800Mhz+ doesn't penetrate walls very well at all.

mlong
Premium
join:2000-05-27
Parker, CO

It's a great idea that only cell phone companies can hose

I love the idea but leave it to the cell phone companies to charge you in this "bring your own infrastructure" model. I get great AT&T 3G service at home and I got great Verizon service as well. However, if they offered a femtocell option for say $99 that allowed me to make more calls from home I'd use it.

Right now my wife and I share 550 minutes on AT&T and I use Skype and pay $2.95 to call phones over WiFi from my iPhone. It works great but if AT&T said you get 550 anytime minutes and say 1500 (for this plan) "home" minutes I'd be thrilled. I understand they need to route the call and terminate it somewhere so I don't expect a gagillion free minutes but add a new minute bucket (we've got anytime, night and weekend, mobile to mobile, what's one more?).

I like the ability to use my home WiFi on my iPhone so this would be a sort of extension of that for making phone calls. I think wireless providers would be well served as the market shifts from home phone plus cell phones to strictly cell phone users who are abandoning their land lines. I think the femtocell idea can help them reduce the required upgrades they'll have to make to their towers or at least buy them some time.
--
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tommy13v
Premium
join:2002-02-15
Niskayuna NY

Re: It's a great idea that only cell phone companies can hose

I have the Sprint Airave now and it works pretty well. I also didn't have to pay for the device or monthly fee.
--
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dcurrey
Premium
join:2004-06-29

Re: It's a great idea that only cell phone companies can hose

Got one myself. Seems to work pretty good. Took about 2.5 hours on the phone to get them to give me the device for free and waive the monthly fee.

digiblur
Premium
join:2002-06-03
Louisiana

Re: It's a great idea that only cell phone companies can hose

said by dcurrey:

Got one myself. Seems to work pretty good. Took about 2.5 hours on the phone to get them to give me the device for free and waive the monthly fee.
I got one shipped next day...no fees...and for free. Only took about 5 minutes on the phone. Easiest call ever and best thing I ever did.
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FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 recommendation

said by tommy13v:

I have the Sprint Airave now and it works pretty well. I also didn't have to pay for the device or monthly fee.
Same here. I got Sprint to give a credit for the purchase of the device and also got a $5/mo credit for the service.

And as to having a 3G femtocell:
Actually, you don't need a 3G femtocell in the house. Or a 2G for that matter. You only need a femtocell for voice access where coverage INSIDE the house is poor. Most smartphones now provide WiFi access and that is the way to get data in the house. Afterall, the femtocell needs a broadband connection and a router anyway to work. So if you already have those(assume the router is also a wireless router), you would use WiFi anyway.
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Matt3
All noise, no signal.
Premium
join:2003-07-20
Jamestown, NC
kudos:12

Re: It's a great idea that only cell phone companies can hose

said by FFH:

Most smartphones now provide WiFi access and that is the way to get data in the house. Afterall, the femtocell needs a broadband connection and a router anyway to work. So if you already have those(assume the router is also a wireless router), you would use WiFi anyway.
That's what I was thinking too. I'm assuming there are a ton of 3G phones out there that don't have WiFi though.
broccoli

join:2007-11-29
Portland, OR
said by FFH:

Actually, you don't need a 3G femtocell in the house. Or a 2G for that matter. You only need a femtocell for voice access where coverage INSIDE the house is poor. Most smartphones now provide WiFi access and that is the way to get data in the house. Afterall, the femtocell needs a broadband connection and a router anyway to work. So if you already have those(assume the router is also a wireless router), you would use WiFi anyway.
In that case, why not go all the way and use Wi-Fi for voice also, à la UMA?

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: It's a great idea that only cell phone companies can hose

said by broccoli:

said by FFH:

Actually, you don't need a 3G femtocell in the house. Or a 2G for that matter. You only need a femtocell for voice access where coverage INSIDE the house is poor. Most smartphones now provide WiFi access and that is the way to get data in the house. Afterall, the femtocell needs a broadband connection and a router anyway to work. So if you already have those(assume the router is also a wireless router), you would use WiFi anyway.
In that case, why not go all the way and use Wi-Fi for voice also, à la UMA?
If Sprint &/OR Palm evetually allow VOIP app on the Palm Pre, I'll be sure to try it out. Then you wouldn't need the femtocell in the house at all.
--
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Matt3
All noise, no signal.
Premium
join:2003-07-20
Jamestown, NC
kudos:12

Re: It's a great idea that only cell phone companies can hose


SIP VoIP over 3G
said by FFH:

said by broccoli:

said by FFH:

Actually, you don't need a 3G femtocell in the house. Or a 2G for that matter. You only need a femtocell for voice access where coverage INSIDE the house is poor. Most smartphones now provide WiFi access and that is the way to get data in the house. Afterall, the femtocell needs a broadband connection and a router anyway to work. So if you already have those(assume the router is also a wireless router), you would use WiFi anyway.
In that case, why not go all the way and use Wi-Fi for voice also, à la UMA?
If Sprint &/OR Palm evetually allow VOIP app on the Palm Pre, I'll be sure to try it out. Then you wouldn't need the femtocell in the house at all.
I run Siphon on my iPhone and can connect to my home SIP PBX or my company's over both WiFi and 3G.
glinc

join:2009-04-07
New York, NY

LAWL

LOL at these cell companies thinking we should pay for a equipment to improve our reception at home + monthly fees.
fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

2 recommendations

Re: LAWL

Yea.. "lol" at them for thinking that they can push a signal past every wall, over every hill, through every building, and all that.. lol at them for thinking you should pay for equipment to improve signal INSIDE your home like businesses do. lol at them when the very agreement you agreed to states that coverage is approximate and that you may not be able to get signal in all places at all times. AND, lol at them thinking you shouldn't have to pay any fees, or minutes, to carry phone calls that they still have to route and pay termination fees on simply becuase they no longer are being carried over the air.. (ok, AIR/LandLine/VoIP.. those are just ways you connect to the switch which is where the real service begins.. just becuase it goes over the internet doesn't mean it's a free call to make. Today's lesson... the internet doesn't make everything "free"..)
glinc

join:2009-04-07
New York, NY

Re: LAWL

The point is, they're nuts if they thinking on charging for the device.

Look at Vodafone

»www.engadgetmobile.com/2009/07/0···l-today/

Free if you got a plan that meets their min requirement. Now if this is done in the US then is welcome, but charging for something to boost signal at home makes no sense.
fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

Re: LAWL

I really don't care what Vodafone does, to be honest... I don't think they are nuts if they think they can charge for the device..

.. you said it, but why do you think it should be for free? Should they provide equipment inside elevators? Should they pay for the equipment so you have it in your basement?

Radio signals are not guaranteed to penetrate every surface on the planet.. with this logic floating around here, I should ask my local A.M. radio stations to provide me with a free antenna so I can get their A.M. signal in my house too, huh?

.. It makes perfect sense.. Cell phones were designed to be "mobile".. they work pretty good outside your home while mobile.. and MANY people have great service in the home too.. maybe the universe should be charged for the cost of these devices I suppose...

Matt3
All noise, no signal.
Premium
join:2003-07-20
Jamestown, NC
kudos:12
said by glinc:

LOL at these cell companies thinking we should pay for a equipment to improve our reception at home + monthly fees.
I'll pay it if it's reasonable. Just going from downstairs to upstairs in my house makes my signal go from 1 bar to 5. Cell phones (if you read your contract) aren't guaranteed to work indoors anyway.

wifi4milez
Big Russ, 1918 to 2008. Rest in Peace

join:2004-08-07
New York, NY

1 recommendation

Femto's should all come with two options

Many people have differing opinions about how much it should cost to have a femtocell. I personally dont think its a big deal if they want to charge $99 for one (although getting it for free is never hard ). Its really the monthly cost that people cant agree on. I personally would never pay a monthly fee to have one, as I dont want/care for/need more minutes. Others would only want one if they could get unlimited (or a bundle) of minutes for $10 or $20 more per month.

So here is my suggestion. All carriers should offer the option to burn your own minutes, OR purchase a "home" calling plan. This way everyone will want a femtocell, and the carrier will increase their revenues. Also, the majority of people will pay the $99 for the device so thats even more revenue (one time, but still).

I just dont think it makes sense to have two disparate camps; free or pay. There is no reason both cant be available, thus making the device all the more attractive to consumers.
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fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

Re: Femto's should all come with two options

I agree with you..

This is a two part issue here.. the equipment, and the airtime/use.

For one, anytime I've ever called Sprint about a signal issue, there has been a technician at the local tower in 24 to 48 hours to check on it AND I got a phone call every time asking me to check my signal / use at the location I was having problems.. so I give them props for being attentive to that unlike others.

If they can't get service that good in their home - then this equipment is a good options for them... if people want to replace the land line with a cell phone, I say this would be a great back up.

As for the way to use it.. yea.. I agree with you.. you can have a home phone service kinda charge to take the pressure off your minutes, or not have that and use your minutes to make calls no matter what. Otherwise, you'd have many people wanting to replace the land line with wireless, wanting free equipment, dropping their rate plan to almost nothing, and paying no per minute charge. If that's what people want, there's Vonage and other VoIP services for that.. But, to me, and many others that DO agree with me on this, if you want the convenience of a cell phone, you've gotta play like the rest of us who pay the bills to keep the system running.

aztecnology
O Rly?
Premium
join:2003-02-12
Murrieta, CA

Re: Femto's should all come with two options

said by fiberguy:

For one, anytime I've ever called Sprint about a signal issue, there has been a technician at the local tower in 24 to 48 hours to check on it AND I got a phone call every time asking me to check my signal / use at the location I was having problems...
Lies...
--
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fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

Re: Femto's should all come with two options

said by aztecnology:

said by fiberguy:

For one, anytime I've ever called Sprint about a signal issue, there has been a technician at the local tower in 24 to 48 hours to check on it AND I got a phone call every time asking me to check my signal / use at the location I was having problems...
Lies...
Really, Jackass....? and you know this how?

Steve B
Premium
join:2004-08-02
Seattle, WA

Wireless carriers at it again...

I would agree only to buy the equipment at a decent price. After that, I shouldn't have to pay them for calls going over my internet connection and helping them take a load off their network. I live less than a block away from an AT&T tower (also my carrier) and I have excellent coverage at home. So buying AT&T's femtocell would be pointless unless I got unlimited minutes included with what I'm already paying them for service. Sprint is okay here but, could be better. Verizon here is where a good femtocell (not their crappy Network Extender piece) would work and I would buy if they didn't make you use your minutes while connected to it.

In short, until all femtocell services are included with what you are already paying, it's really a ripoff.

Rob
In Deo speramus.
Premium
join:2001-08-25
Kendall, FL
kudos:3

Re: Wireless carriers at it again...

said by Steve B:

I would agree only to buy the equipment at a decent price. After that, I shouldn't have to pay them for calls going over my internet connection and helping them take a load off their network. I live less than a block away from an AT&T tower (also my carrier) and I have excellent coverage at home. So buying AT&T's femtocell would be pointless unless I got unlimited minutes included with what I'm already paying them for service. Sprint is okay here but, could be better. Verizon here is where a good femtocell (not their crappy Network Extender piece) would work and I would buy if they didn't make you use your minutes while connected to it.

In short, until all femtocell services are included with what you are already paying, it's really a ripoff.
In fact, I'd want to see a discount on my cell phone bill for using the femtocell.
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slckusr
Premium
join:2003-03-17
Greenville, SC
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Charter

I love it

Ive had the sprint Airrave for half the year now, and its worth the 4.99 I pay a month to use the phone in my house without any problems. clear calls and 5 bars where i couldn't get 1 bar before.

My phone calls transition from the airrave to the tower fine, but when i come home on the phone I have to hang up and replace my call.

They will really have to reevaluate this service if caps on your internet become more consistent.
fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

Re: I love it

said by slckusr:

They will really have to reevaluate this service if caps on your internet become more consistent.
Why? caps on internet is not of anyone's concern.. IF your internet has caps, then you need to prioritize or use your service in the best way that suits your needs - after all, that's being "neutral"... Just think, if someone downloaded just 1 less movie in a month how many phone calls someone could make and not even think about 'caps'... VoIP calls still take a very tiny amount of bandwidth to make.

DaveDude
No Fear

join:1999-09-01
New Jersey
kudos:1

Is that really a challege?

I dont think thats a challenge, ATT hasn't offered anything new in years. Really its like saying i am going to do something, and actually attempting. As opposed to ATT , say you dont need it.

swintec
Premium,VIP
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME
kudos:5

3G Airave??

I really hope Sprint can enable 3G on the current Airaves out there now, by a simple software upgrade.
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RickNY
Premium
join:2000-11-02
Farmingville, NY
Reviews:
·Optimum Online

Re: 3G Airave??

said by swintec:

I really hope Sprint can enable 3G on the current Airaves out there now, by a simple software upgrade.
Im pretty sure it cant be done.. I had taken my Airave apart and looked up the various chips inside, and from what I recall, the cellular chip that was in it was only a 1x CDMA capable device.

swintec
Premium,VIP
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VoicePulse
·Sprint Mobile Br..
·RapidVPS

Re: 3G Airave??

said by RickNY:

said by swintec:

I really hope Sprint can enable 3G on the current Airaves out there now, by a simple software upgrade.
Im pretty sure it cant be done.. I had taken my Airave apart and looked up the various chips inside, and from what I recall, the cellular chip that was in it was only a 1x CDMA capable device.
That's irritating. How am I going to come up with a story to get the 3G version for free now???
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dieman
Premium
join:2002-08-02
Minneapolis, MN

Wifi?

Why not put wifi on all the phones instead so we don't have to have a #*(@)! mini-cell-station for each provider at businesses. T-Mobile gets this, no one else does. (rockin the uma bb 8900)

iLive4Fusion
Premium
join:2006-07-13

Re: Wifi?

said by dieman:

Why not put wifi on all the phones instead so we don't have to have a #*(@)! mini-cell-station for each provider at businesses. T-Mobile gets this, no one else does. (rockin the uma bb 8900)
UMA Sucks. I have it on mine as well. But you can't just use any phone it has to be a UMA enabled phone. And currently there is no chipset that compatible with UMA and 3GSM. Why do you think every phone UMA compatible is only 2G? And not any WiFi phone can do UMA, it has to be a UMA Chipset to handle the GSM to UMA handover.
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iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
·Comcast

T-Mobile: Ur doin ir (somewhat) right

T-Mobile has a fair selection of phones with WiFi UMA capability built in. So everywhere you can get WiFi your phone uses that network for calling. Good reception indoors and you don't have to pay $100 or more for a special femtocell, though you do need one of the UMA-enabled phones.

For $10 extra you get unlimited calling over WiFi also.

So why can't other providers follow T-Mobile's model? Subsidize the 'cell a bit and don't charge anything unless someone wants unlimited calls.
purwater
Premium
join:2002-10-25
Bluefield, VA

Worth it to me so far

I've had Verizon's network extender for about 2 weeks now and it has been great. I'm in a fringe area right between 2 towers in a mountain area. My signal was usually just enough to talk in certain rooms with bluetooth or outside. Now I have at least 3 bars at the far ends of the house and it stays connected when I'm in the yard. It has made it possible for me to disconnect my landline in the near future. Overall the one time purchase will save me $40 per month.