This smug woman would love to tell you all the reasons why AT&T’s Y-shaped 3G MicroCell is going to change the way you use your cellphone at home, just don’t ask her when you can buy it or for how much. Ma Bell’s new femtocell promises – just like the Sprint AIRAVE and Verizon Network Extender – to set up your own mini access point at your home or office, in this case capable of carrying both voice calls, messages and data over your broadband connection.
Like the other networks’ units, the AT&T 3G MicroCell has a GPS receiver which is used by the carrier to make sure you’re not trying to bypass their roaming charges abroad. Up to ten devices can be authorized for use with the femtocell, meaning you won’t be sharing your connection with other users, and it’s all managed through an online UI.
An Engadget tipster dropped them a line with details on the upcoming price plan for the 3G MicroCell, and it seems to be another example of carriers pushing femtocells as an extra bonus for the consumer rather than a way to bypass patchy, overloaded networks. AT&T will be charing $19.99 per month for unlimited use – which includes calls started on the 3G MicroCell and then passed over to the main network – though that comes down to $9.99 if you have either a landline or broadband with them. If you have both, unlimited calling is free.
Update: AT&T have clarified pricing, and the unlimited package isn’t the only way to use the 3G MicroCell. More information here.