AT&T wants you to pay $150 for a MicroCell to improve 3G in your home

If you want better 3G coverage for your home or office, AT&T is now offering a 3G MicroCell. The catch? You have to pay for it.

Special Report: CTIA Wireless

Yesterday we mentioned AT&T's claims for offering the fastest 3G in Rhode Island. Well, if your AT&T coverage in Rhode Island or anywhere else is not up to par in your home or business, AT&T is now offering a solution in the form of a 3G MicroCell. If you're not familiar with a MicroCell, the device acts like a mini cell tower and connects to AT&T's network via your broadband internet service. The end result is improved signal performance for both data and voice. According to AT&T, their version of the MicroCell works for up to 5000 square feet, performs seamless call hand-over, and can support up to four voice or data users at once.
The MicroCell is expected to be available next month for $150 in select areas. AT&T plans to let it connect to 10 approved phone lines and for an additional $20 a month, users can get unlimited voice minutes when in the home and a $100 mail-in-rebate for the device. I've been using a Spotwave signal booster in my house since 2007 and it definitely made a substantial difference. These days, though, the need for a 3G compatible one is there since there's no guarantee that it's going to work in my town. Given that, $150 is a small price to pay, as long as there's no monthly fee attached. While I don't have an immediate issue paying to improve my coverage, I have to wonder why AT&T can't subsidize it even further, since the end result means that I'll be using even more minutes and probably generating more revenue for the company. It's a small price for the company to pay, especially when the alternative is either losing me as a customer or them having to pay to build more cell sites. At any rate, most people will probably end up spending the $150 since they'll just want the best coverage they can get. If it's just $150 to get it, it's a small price to pay as a consumer.

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