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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 the goat on 10/29/2008 3:25:05 PM , Rating: 2
t would be far, far cheaper for Verizon/Sprint to take calls over the internet than at their cell towers. People using this device in their homes would be cheaper in operation for the cell company, not more why charge for it?

They charge because they can. Same reason banks use to charge you a yearly/monthly fee to have an ATM card. It costs the bank a lot less if a customer uses the ATM instead of a live person teller. But the bank knows it is faster for the customer also. So they justify charging the customer and pocketing the money they saved (the bank gets double the money).

Of coarse if one cellphone provider simply passed the savings along to their customers (unthinkable), they would make even more money because of the large number of customers signing up for their service.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By drebo on 10/29/2008 3:32:05 PM , Rating: 3
My bank doesn't charge me a fee for my checking account or ATM card. All that's required is that I maintain a balance of $2,000 or more between all of my accounts, CDs, etc. Why? Because the more money I put into the bank, the more money the bank can reinvest. They're rewarding me by giving me free checks, free checking, and convinient service for making their job easier and more profitable. There's no reason cell companies can't do the same.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By ebakke on 10/29/2008 3:47:22 PM , Rating: 2
You conveniently left out your suggestion of how the cell companies should operate to "do the same". Please elaborate.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By drebo on 10/29/2008 4:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
Er, I thought I made that pretty clear when I said that the use of this service is actually cheaper for the cell company than normal use of the cell phones.

The idea is that the consumer does something to help the company (take load off of the cell towers, cheaper calls), and the company rewards the consumer for it (better signal).

Under Sprint's model, the consumer is paying for the priviledge of helping the company out.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By ebakke on 10/29/2008 5:21:24 PM , Rating: 2
I'm following you now (and I didn't realize that you authored the posts), however you'll probably remember that ATM fees used to exist, and many banks still charge them. Your bank isn't providing them free to you because they want some amicable relationship with you. They're doing it to compete and differentiate with their competitors. Banks (and every other business) are there to make money. If they could get you to pay ATM fees, you damn well better believe they would. Now apply that logic to cell phone companies. Until market forces push them to offering discounts, they'll charge as much as people are willing to pay.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By drebo on 10/29/2008 6:10:02 PM , Rating: 2
Well, the ATM fee analogy doesn't really fly here, as that would be akin to YOUR ISP charging you for making calls on the cell company network via this femtocell.

My bank doesn't charge me fees to use their ATM, and they don't charge me fees to use other ATMs. OTHER banks charge me fees to use their ATMs, which is akin to roaming on your cellphone. You're paying to use someone else's network. But, because ISPs don't (can't, at least policy-wise) filter your data with tiered charges for different types of data, there is no roaming. All it is is benefit to the cell company.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By ebakke on 10/29/2008 11:04:45 PM , Rating: 2
Well, the ATM fee analogy doesn't really fly here
You're the one who started using it!

And I think the ATM analogy does hold. The cost of the ATM itself is something the bank had to pay for, much like the hardware for femtocells costs money. In addition, the cell companies have to add capabilities within their networks to handle the transition from internet traffic to their voice networks (however they choose to do that). This is comparable to a bank requiring larger data capabilities for all of these remote terminals executing transactions. Neither of these are free, and as a result, they'll charge you for them. As more people begin to offer the same service, they'll use price as a means of differentiation.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By the goat on 10/30/2008 7:02:51 AM , Rating: 2
Well, the ATM fee analogy doesn't really fly here,

When I made the original analogy I was talking about how banks use to charge customers a yearly fee just to have an ATM card . Not the per use fee you get charged when using another bank's ATM. You guys might be too young to remember, but when ATM's first came out just having the card cost $5/month or more.

RE: Cell companies...uhg...
By ebakke on 10/30/2008 1:11:43 PM , Rating: 2
I still think the situations are comparable. :)

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