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Verizon will bring femtocells to market in 2009 that work with any Verizon handsets

Many cell phone users find that indoor coverage can be spotty at best. Dead spots inside homes or offices make it hard to get a signal and talk without interference or dropped calls. This is especially problematic for users who only use cell phones.

One way to improve cellular coverage indoors is by using a device that resembles your typical wireless router, known as a femtocell. Verizon Wireless has announced that it will be selling its first femtocell early next year. Verizon had previously said that it would launch femtocells this year, what led to the delay is unknown.

Verizon isn’t the only cellular provider that is offering femtocells. Both Sprint and T-Mobile offer femtocells to customers. The femtocell connects the cellular phone of a user to the broadband internet connection in a home or office to route calls over the internet.

Like any other VOIP service, call quality is likely to be affected by the available bandwidth on the network at the time. Sprint's femtocell is far from the bargain users will hope for at $99.99 for the hardware and an additional $10 to $20 per month for the privilege of using the femtocell.

T-Mobile also offers a femtocell-like service from called HotSpot@Home and requires a special handset to use whereas the Sprint and coming Verizon femtocells will work with any handset. Verizon is still mum on how much its femtocell will cost and what fees the femtocell will carry monthly. Pricing is likely to be in line with what Sprint charges for its femtocell service.

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RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By VaultDweller on 10/29/2008 2:31:51 PM , Rating: 3
Because they think people will pay for it?

Finding ways to make money is kind of what they do.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By gramboh on 10/29/2008 2:33:59 PM , Rating: 5
It's hilarious because you are basically improving their network structure for them, at your OWN cost. Weak signals (unless you are in some kind of bunker) should not be happening in a typical home. Rather than upgrade network coverage, they are trying to pass the cost onto consumers and profit from it. Good business decision since I'm sure keeners will go for it.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By nace186 on 10/29/2008 2:57:35 PM , Rating: 2

You know, it's probably cheaper to just switch to a different provider if you have reception problem in your house.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By UNCjigga on 10/29/2008 3:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree with your analysis of the business model. Charging for Femtocell service makes sense, provided you have the following conditions:

1) Hardware is free/100% subsidized through a monthly charge, or hardware is cheap (less than $50) with a very low monthly service fee (less than $15)

2) You have unlimited "anytime" minutes and unlimited data when using the femtocell. For people without a landline this is a very compelling feature to have and easily justifies the cost of a small monthly fee if you can stay on a cheaper plan.

Ideally, the service fee would allow you to pair the femtocell with a virtual "home" telephone number (i.e. while at home, calls from your cellphone appear to others as coming from a separate "home" number, while calls to your "home" number ring through to your mobile phone regardless of where you are).

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By Alphafox78 on 10/29/2008 3:25:56 PM , Rating: 2
Knowing verizon im sure this will still count against your minutes. It might be worth it if it didn't count against them especially if you only had 450min a month plan but I doubt verizon would be so generous.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By jeff834 on 10/30/2008 9:00:31 PM , Rating: 2
As far as the Sprint one goes, minutes at home are unlimited.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By ebakke on 10/29/2008 3:44:01 PM , Rating: 4
Ideally, the service fee would allow you to pair the femtocell with a virtual "home" telephone number (i.e. while at home, calls from your cellphone appear to others as coming from a separate "home" number, while calls to your "home" number ring through to your mobile phone regardless of where you are).
How is that ideal, or useful at all?

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By UNCjigga on 10/31/2008 4:59:38 PM , Rating: 2
It would be a nice option for landline replacement. If I have unlimited calls at home, I might as well use my cellphone for everything, right? But I don't necessarily want to give my mobile # to everyone.

By Rodney McNaggerton on 10/30/2008 12:21:40 AM , Rating: 2
Sprint is using the femtocell as a way to keep customers that are considering leaving. Call them up and complain about service and they'll waive the monthly fee and depending on how pissed you sound they'll wave the cost of the femtocell as well. It's called customer retention. I do believe that at some point in the distant future this will actually be offered to consumers with a lower cost.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By ira176 on 10/30/2008 1:07:16 AM , Rating: 3
Scarey thought, now the pressure is off of Verizon to provide the best wireless coverage they can. Verizon can now set up fewer towers, and then tell customers who have weak or no signals inside buildings that the only thing that they can do to improve the service is buy the new device and pay additional monthly fee for it.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By feraltoad on 10/30/2008 3:41:40 AM , Rating: 2
I bet some guy in a boardroom said, "Geez, will these customer people quite whining about good coverage in their homes. Ha, we oughta make them use Skype at home! Hey, wait a minute..."

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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