Sprint launches in home network booster

Sprint launches in home network booster

Summary: Sprint on Monday launched a device called the Airave in Denver and Indianapolis that will boost the wireless company's coverage in homes. Samsung makes that Airave, a "femtocell," or a compact base station that hooks up to your broadband connection.

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TOPICS: Telcos, Networking
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Sprint on Monday launched a device called the Airave in Denver and Indianapolis that will boost the wireless company's coverage in homes.

airave-t.jpgSamsung makes that Airave, a "femtocell," or a compact base station that hooks up to your broadband connection. The rollout is limited for now.  All of Denver and Indianapolis will have service later this year along with Nashville. All customers will have Airave service in 2008.

The base station will work with any Sprint phone and provide unlimited calling. According to Sprint, Airave won't gobble up wireless minutes and works with any Sprint phone. The device will cost $49.99 and service will run $15 a month for individuals and $30 for families. These costs are in addition to Sprint wireless service.

Sprint's effort sounds similar to T-Mobile's @Home service. The idea: Use Wi-Fi and home Internet connections to expand a network where coverage is lacking in areas.

While there are benefits to the Airave the economics for the customer are a bit unclear. Sure you save wireless minutes, but you could get VOIP service for the $15 a month it would cost an individual.

Meanwhile, I'm left with this question: Yes, the device is cool, but shouldn't my Sprint phone just work indoors anyway?

Separately, parent company Sprint Nextel is under fire. In a research note on Monday, J.P. Morgan analyst Thomas Lee wrote that Sprint's third quarter is likely to be "sloppy" amid tough competition, high costs and subscriber losses on Nextel's iDen network, which have offset gains on Sprint's CDMA network.

Lee said:

Anxiety has risen in recent weeks regarding Sprint Nextel 3Q results as investors weighed whether 3Q is worse than previously telegraphed. Two years after this merger closed, a sloppy quarter raises one of two logical questions for investors: (a) whether this management team is the right one to lead this merger, and (b) should the company consider unwinding this merger considering iDen has lost 3mm users in the past two years.

A big problem: Sprint Nextel is bloated. Lee said Sprint's cash costs per customer is $44.10 a month compared to $28 for Verizon Wireless, $32 for AT&T Wireless and $36 for T-Mobile.

No new device will change that cost equation.

Topics: Telcos, Networking

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5 comments
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  • Indoors is a HUGE plus

    I work in a giant metal building. There's no way to get a strong CDMA signal there. Hook this up to the network and voila! Sweet gadget - kudos to SprintPCS.
    Mike Bellman, techradio.info, Columbia, MO
    mikebellman
  • Signal booster

    I just recently switched from Sprint because of the need for things like this. I would never get signal in my home and in many stores I would lose signal. Sprint should provide these for free because when your in a fully covered area losing signal is ridiculous.
    Magikx21
  • Needs work

    I would love for AT&T to implement something LIKE this, but I can't see myself paying $30/mo EXTRA to my carrier to provide me with a service in my home. Come on, I'm ALREADY PAYING for service!

    Sure, I would pay extra for the hardware. And I wouldn't mind if my minutes were counted as part of my plan. But PAY EXTRA?? I'll pass.
    bmgoodman
    • Niche

      This is a niche peripheral. It's only good for some people. Many people can say the same for certain features like SMS, camera, voice dialing...

      The mentality that you should get everything and pay nothing is really a problem in this industry. Are you offering the property, materials, power and $$$ for a PCS tower on the top of your house? This is an excellent stop gap method and another option for people who want to "fire their phone company", but didn't have the minutes to spend. I agree that the $15/$30 pricepoint is a little weird.

      I suspect these devices are only approved for personal use and literally have to be homed to your phone number. I think the final price point should be a $9.99 monthly for unlimited use up to 5 lines.

      Additionally, I want to make sure I can pick it up and move it to my workplace, hotels etc...

      Mike Bellman, techradio.info, Columbia, MO
      mikebellman
  • Great first step

    I think thius is a great first step. I currently have a landline and cell phone. At home I use a wireless handset. Away from home, I use my cell phone. It would be nice if I could use one handset in both places. For example, I would only have one address book and one set of controls to learn. This Sprint device is heading in that direction. I do not like that I have to pay additional for it - why not just use my existing landline?
    michaelwacey@...