AT&T 3G MicroCell network extender revealed

There's an unusually high quantity of femtocell news this morning, as hot on the heels of the Verizon Wireless Network Extender comes word of the AT&T 3G MicroCell.  Yet to be officially announced by the carrier, but revealed in their online setup page, the 3G MicroCell will work with up to four AT&T cellphones simultaneously – though they must all be 3G devices – using your broadband connection to carry voice and data traffic in areas of poor cellular network coverage.

The A&T 3G MicroCell itself is made by Cisco, and is presumably one of the fruits of the company's January 2008 investment in femtocell specialist ip.access.  As with the Sprint and Verizon femtocells, AT&T's will allow you to select which handsets will work with the 3G MicroCell, and cover a 5,000 square foot area.  Like Sprint's AIRAVE, it will also seemingly offer a service plan, though whether it's mandatory or optional is not yet clear:

"Unlimited nationwide calling: With the 3G MicroCell, you have the option of unlimited minutes in the home or on any 3G MicroCell with a 3G MicroCell service plan"

The phrasing would suggest that unlimited calling can be subscribed to, but that without it use of the 3G MicroCell will count against a user's normal cellphone plan inclusive minutes.  Use will only be permitted within AT&T service areas, as the femtocell has a GPS puck that prevents it being set up abroad.

No word on pricing or availability, but given the new page on AT&T's own site it looks imminent.

[Thanks Alex and sCoobIE!]