Print 23 comment(s) - last by phxfreddy.. on Apr 8 at 3:52 PM

Verizon doesn't say what the femtocells will cost customers

Mobile phone users around the country and the world have noticed for a long time now that their cellular signal drops inside the home or office. This loss of coverage makes sense with the added interference of actually penetrating the walls of a building and competing with other wireless signals that are often very prolific inside a home or office.

For mobile phone users that want to drop landlines or who already have made the move to mobile phone only, the lack of coverage inside the home is a huge issue that can leave you without service or with poor service. Many of the largest cellular providers are looking at solutions to this problem and one of the most promising answers is the femtocell.

A femtocell is exactly what the word sounds like, a small cellular tower built into a package resembling a Wi-Fi router. The femtocell provides a usable wireless signal inside the home or office. The femtocell is good for the cellular provider in one aspect because it sends voice traffic over a user’s broadband network and the carrier doesn’t have to pay for the traffic.

The drawback for carriers to providing the femtocell to customers is the cost. Currently a femtocell costs in the area of $200, though the price is expected to drop to near $150 as more makers enter the market. To get customers to adopt the technology the carrier would have to subsidize the cost.

Sprint's trial femtocells cost $49.99 cost to the subscriber. Sprint also provides unlimited calls in the home to femtocell users for an additional $15 per month. Sprint spokesperson Emmy Anderson says that feedback on the femtocells has been good and there has been no interference between the femtocell and cellular tower.

Many customers will view the femtocell as an extra cost to get what they already pay for—a usable signal. Despite what may present a prejudice in a subscribers mine, Verizon announced at CTIA that it would be deploying femtocells in 2008. Verizon declined to give any specifics on its femtocells like cost and availability.

For some potential users of femtocells a big drawback could be the addition of another box into the home that already has a cable modem, wireless router, home phone, cable box and more to deal with. A French company called Thomson may have the answer to that problem; it is working on a femtocell that is built into a Wi-Fi router.

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Really needed?
By anonymo on 4/4/2008 10:32:08 AM , Rating: 3
I assume there is a market for it if they're actually producing it but do people really get such bad reception in their homes?

My Rogers (in Toronto) service is fine in most single story basements I'm in (EDGE network) and works great in my apt 30 stories up. It also continues to work in all the various hotels I visit around downtown, works under the TD center etc.

On the other hand my Telus phone often ends up in roaming in my apartment and switches to Nextel because CDMA (at least the service offered from Telus) is so horrible. This shouldn't carry the need for this device, rather it should force carriers to stop using such crap networks. Too bad that's a pipe dream.

RE: Really needed?
By BigToque on 4/4/2008 10:39:34 AM , Rating: 2
The second I step into the front door of my house, my signal drops to 1 bar or less.

RE: Really needed?
By bravacentauri83 on 4/4/2008 11:05:20 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Really needed?
By Polynikes on 4/4/2008 11:19:25 AM , Rating: 3
Mine fluctuates between full bars and only one less than full.

RE: Really needed?
By FITCamaro on 4/4/2008 12:56:11 PM , Rating: 2
No problems in my office, or home. At my girlfriends place though, I'm on the first floor of a 3 story building and my signal can get low.

I've no problem paying for one of these things. But I will not pay an extra service fee to use it when I'm already saving them bandwidth by not utilizing the tower to make my call. At least on my end.

RE: Really needed?
By mattclary on 4/4/2008 4:04:36 PM , Rating: 2
Ditto also

RE: Really needed?
By phxfreddy on 4/8/2008 3:52:12 PM , Rating: 2
Can you hear me now?

RE: Really needed?
By tallcool1 on 4/4/2008 12:35:21 PM , Rating: 2
On the other hand, Alltel works great everywhere in my house, however with Nextel I cannot get a signal in my basement.

RE: Really needed?
By GreenEnvt on 4/4/2008 12:58:01 PM , Rating: 2
Same in St. Catharines and Burlington, also on Rogers.
I have to be pretty deep in a building before I have problems.
This is on a HTC Tytn.

My wifes phone is on Virgin Mobile, which uses bell's CDMA network, and it's good great reception indoors too.

RE: Really needed?
By MozeeToby on 4/4/2008 2:08:00 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't it be easier to just put WiFi into phones and let the use VIOP when you are within range. Granted, it wouldn't work for every phone but it seems like it would be simpler than paying an addition $200 for something that only servers one purpose.

RE: Really needed?
By SkeeterLDR2004 on 4/4/2008 4:33:25 PM , Rating: 2
Apparently that service is already available. My sister uses T-Mobile and her phone is enabled to make VoIP calls when in range of a WiFi signal. The downside is that you still burn up your minutes if you go from being on a cell tower to a WiFi connection, or if you move from a WiFi connection to a cell tower. I can't find evidence of the service on T-Mobile's website, though... Anyone have experience with this service?

RE: Really needed?
By SkeeterLDR2004 on 4/4/2008 4:35:32 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Really needed?
By nolisi on 4/4/2008 9:06:04 PM , Rating: 2
Your sis should talk to T-Mo. On my Blackberry, if I transition from a WiFi connection to a tower, it doesn't (and according to service reps, its not supposed to) eat up minutes. Of course, if I transition from a tower to WiFi, it still utilizes all the minutes from before the transition to Wifi.

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