Prepare for the second-coming of the Samsung femtocell, last seen on the SlashGear test bench as the Sprint AIRAVE and now, revealed courtesy of the FCC, coming in a new Darth-style suit to Verizon Wireless. Despite cosmetic changes, the principle is the same: plug the femtocell into your broadband connection and it creates its own little bubble of CDMA coverage, within which your Verizon cellphone is king.
Aside from the color change and some new casing moldings, there’s a stubbier aerial too. Sadly the GPS lock system that so disappointed us on the AIRAVE – which refuses to let the femtocell operate if it realizes you’re not in the US – is still present on this Verizon version.
While we were impressed with the hardware when we tested the AIRAVE, and it worked exactly as promised, it was the costing that made us think twice about wholeheartedly recommending it. Here, Verizon can differentiate themselves from Sprint despite using basically the same box: if their pricing policy is fair – i.e. not charging vast quantities for the “privilege” of using your own broadband to make up for poor patches in the Verizon network – then they could be more successful than Sprint have.