Print 34 comment(s) - last by lexluthermiest.. on Jul 21 at 6:21 AM

AT&T is in a giving mood this week

AT&T seems to be in a giving mood -- the company is offering its "most valuable customers" free 3G MicroCells. For those unfamiliar with the MicroCell, it's a device that will boost AT&T cellular reception in "dead zones" by tapping into your home's broadband connection.

Over the weekend, reports from Engadget and Gizmodo explained that customers were starting to receive notices in the mail saying that they qualified for the free MicroCells. Today, I found one of the letters in my mailbox.

I nearly ripped the letter up and threw it in the trash, as I was expecting it to be typical AT&T spam mail about their home phone service or free after rebate mobile phones. To my surprise, it was the free MicroCell offer that has been making the rounds this weekend.

Considering I've only had AT&T service for just over a year, I was surprised at being considered an MVP. I've also never called AT&T to voice concerns over receptions issues in my area because I never had any until picking up an iPhone 4.

I'll be stopping by the AT&T store tomorrow morning to get my unit and will update this article to note whether the MicroCell cures the "Death Grip" phenomena that has stricken my iPhone 4.

Updated 7/14/2010 @ 8:11 am

Just a small update to my story. I was finally able to snag a 3G MicroCell from an AT&T store in my area after numerous calls. After getting the device home, it took about 30 minutes for it to complete its initial setup. 

With the 3G MicroCell active, I now get 5 bars anywhere in my house and performing the death grip on the iPhone 4 results in no dropped bars at all. It allows me to make calls with the death grip and incoming calls no longer go to voicemail when holding it firmly in my left hand.

The 3G MicroCell at least solves the issues I'm having at home, but it still doesn't begin to address the reception issues I face out around town.

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Shouldn't this be the cue to...
By The0ne on 7/11/2010 9:12:22 PM , Rating: 4
y'know...change phone or carriers; that is if you can. Having to do this is ludicrous already. I use the next term after ludicrous as did in Space Balls but I forget.

I seriously cannot understand how so many consumers can tolerate such products and devices. More so I have two engineering colleagues that are in the same blind situation. They refused to believe anything "against" their iphone or apple. I really just don't get it.

By darkblade33 on 7/11/2010 10:08:32 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, I had Verizon at my old apartment ( still do ) and they weren't too good there at that location, but they are where I live now with my wife ( she has ATT ).. we get discounts through work and we were both with our carriers before getting married.

Her ATT reception is very good where we live.. as good as my verizon. I hear alot of people bad mouthing ATT, but it really depends on where you live, because at my old location (on Verizon) I had about alot of calls dropping and echo's in my calls- I didnt drop them because everywhere else - my work place (which I spent more of my time) the reception was very good.

In a nutshell, i know people who have Sprint and say they suck.. all in all I really feel you're going to find a high rate of peolple that aren't happy with ANY GIVEN Carrier since cellular service isn't as perfect as it should be and we all pay for it and none of us pay cheaply.

RE: Shouldn't this be the cue to...
By icanhascpu on 7/11/2010 10:21:51 PM , Rating: 5
Calm down.

Even though ATT is the worst when it comes to this, dont blow it out of proportion. The difference in dropped calls between all carriers are not as big as you imagine. Understand that the vast majority of people are content with their service and you wont be hearing from them as much as people that have been slighted.

DT is a site that does way too many Apple/ATT "articles" becuse they know that somehow some nutcase like you is going to somehow not only make FREE STUFF into something bad, but then out of nowhere irrelevantly take a jab at Apple as well.

What you dont get is that there are idiots on both sides of the fence here, what you don't get is that people dont have to be sheep to enjoy a product no matter how much someone hates/loves a brand. They dont give a rats-ass and frankly fanatical apple haters and lovers are both in need of a life.

RE: Shouldn't this be the cue to...
By bigboxes on 7/12/2010 12:46:35 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, AT&T is considerably worse than it's competitors. If you'd stop placing your self-worth into a company and/or product maybe you'd see that. My friend and his iPhone is always dropping calls. Funny thing is that he's maybe three blocks from the tower. His data speeds are through the roof, but calls... makes you want to smash the device. We all know there are limitations to cellular service and in some buildings you are not going to have great service. We accept them. But when you have a flawed service then you should look elsewhere. Device or no device.

RE: Shouldn't this be the cue to...
By Targon on 7/12/2010 5:55:44 AM , Rating: 4
This is a great example of people blaming the service rather than the phone. I don't live very close to a tower(1-3 bars), and I don't get dropped calls except when my battery dies in the middle of a call. While towers CAN have problems, in many cases, the problems are caused by a problem with the phone.

In the case of the iPhone, what you have is an iPod Touch with a mediocre phone connected to it. The iPod Touch side of the iPhone is a good device, but the phone portion has never been very good, and this is where the review sites have almost all failed. How good is reception? How many comparisons of signal strength and call quality in the same location have you seen performed? All of the reviews skip this test with the iPhone, because people pay more attention to speed, screen, memory, and the ability to run apps these days. What happened to testing the PRIMARY function of a phone?

By lexluthermiester on 7/21/2010 6:21:23 AM , Rating: 2
This is a great example of people blaming the service rather than the phone. I don't live very close to a tower(1-3 bars), and I don't get dropped calls except when my battery dies in the middle of a call. While towers CAN have problems, in many cases, the problems are caused by a problem with the phone.

I have to cry foul on this point of view, I was an AT&T customer once and lived 4 blocks[with line of sight] from our tower. Had dropped calls daily. After having traded out phones from various makers, I concluded that it was the service. It didn't really matter where I was in town, calls dropped often. Changed to another carrier and this problem disappeared.

What happened to testing the PRIMARY function of a phone?

Totally valid point! And this is why Nokia[for example] phones almost always rank high in phone functionality over nearly everyone else. They do their homework on the basic function of a phone; calls. They may be lacking other functions in their lower end phones, but always perform great in the basic function.

But these are just the views of one lowly geek/nerd...

RE: Shouldn't this be the cue to...
By callmeroy on 7/20/2010 2:36:05 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly I think its a Iphone issue more than an ATT issue.

My strongest evidence of this is I have ATT for my phone (which is a Samsung) -- I never...again..NEVER have signal in the South Jersey / Philly area.

I've been on calls were it dropped and for a second thought it was me and then the person calls me back and goes "sorry that was my phone"...

So putting two and two together I think its more Iphone than anything else.

RE: Shouldn't this be the cue to...
By Wily on 7/20/2010 7:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
Yes and no. The cause of the 3G issues is all the iPhones - their popularity and the fact AT&T is(was) the sole provider left AT&T short of capacity. But all 3G cellphone users within a cell are affected when an area becomes oversubscribed. It's a capacity issue AT&T is still struggling to deal with.

I have a Samsung and I get dropped calls in my own house.

RE: Shouldn't this be the cue to...
By dark matter on 7/12/2010 2:15:38 AM , Rating: 3
Even though ATT is the worst when it comes to this, dont blow it out of proportion.

a = You agree with him that ATT is the worst carrier
b = His solution was to change carrier.
c = You tell him to calm down and don't blow it out of proportion.

Can you point out to anyone with half a brain why he is blowing things out of proportion by advising you to move away from the worst carrier available?

Of course he is going to bring Apple into the equation. Especially considering that Apple are revising their "bars" to show a more accurate reflection of ATTs network. No sooner had they announced this, ATT start giving out free hardware. Call it co-incidence if you must, but his point is still pertinent.

I believe the OP was absolutely spot on. After all, you have just stepped forward and attempted to defend the indefensible. Your first comment was an attack on him, attempting to make his comment some rage inspired rant by asking him to "calm down". Strikes me as something a politician would do. Secondly you think FREE stuff is amazing, and ATT are doing this out of sheer generosity, not because they are the worst performing network, and then you defend Apple despite their CEO telling people they are holding their phone wrong.

RE: Shouldn't this be the cue to...
By tng on 7/14/2010 4:27:48 PM , Rating: 2
I travel 6 to 8 months of the year and I have AT&T.

I have found that despite all of the trashing of the different carriers they are virtually all the same. Where I spend allot of time in NY the AT&T signal sucks, but Verizon is great. In TX where I go often AT&T is great and people complain about Verizon. Here in CA where I live it really just depends on where I am.

As such I can't really fault any carrier for network weak spots cause they all have them.

RE: Shouldn't this be the cue to...
By kusala on 7/11/2010 11:49:15 PM , Rating: 1
AT&T has gone PLAID

RE: Shouldn't this be the cue to...
By tank171 on 7/12/2010 1:09:19 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, ludicrous is the max speed. The one lower was rediculous speed.

RE: Shouldn't this be the cue to...
By bohhad on 7/13/2010 7:12:15 PM , Rating: 2
Whoever downrated this should have their geek card revoked

By Marlonsm on 7/11/2010 8:26:18 PM , Rating: 2
They are basically wanting you to pay for their service even you're using your own connection?

RE: So...
By Yaos on 7/11/2010 8:28:54 PM , Rating: 2
Just think, one day everybody will have to pay an extra $30 a month so they can have good reception in their own home. I applaud companies for charging so little to use their customers Internet connection.

RE: So...
By Master Kenobi on 7/11/2010 8:29:17 PM , Rating: 3
Yes! It's the latest craze, get people to pay for a service they do not actually provide themselves, its a service for "being on their network" without using any of it's cellular hardware. Pure genius!

RE: So...
By Marlonsm on 7/12/2010 11:11:35 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I'd say that it's still better than having no signal at all...
But I'd ask for (big) discounts before using this.

RE: So...
By Captain Orgazmo on 7/14/2010 8:53:43 PM , Rating: 2
As much as I hate cell service in Canada, Fido here provides a VOIP service for their Wifi phones that gives you unlimited calling at home using your own internet connection and wireless router for $10 a month. So it's like Skype for mobiles, but using your own phone number.

I have one for Verizon
By gigahertz20 on 7/11/2010 8:58:20 PM , Rating: 2
I bought a cell phone service expander from Verizon about a year ago. I live in a rural area north of Colorado Springs called Black Forest and service sucked inside our house, whenever we talked to someone their voice would cut in and out unless we went outside.

I complained to Verizon and they sold me their expander for 50% off. I received it and plugged it into my D-Link DIR-655 router and attached the GPS antenna that came with it to the office window. For the last year or so it has worked pretty good, we can talk to anybody inside our house without any voice quality issues.

The only annoying thing is every few weeks or so it stops working and has a blinking red light for the service LED on the front. I have to unplug the power from the expander and my router, then plug the power back in and it will work again. A little bit of a hassle, but well worth it for having coverage in my house.

Also Verizon just charges one price for the expander, I didn't know AT&T charges a monthly fee for it. That is kind of BS.

RE: I have one for Verizon
By Brandon Hill on 7/11/2010 9:02:55 PM , Rating: 2
Think there's only a monthly fee ($20) if you want unlimited MicroCell calling.

RE: I have one for Verizon
By Targon on 7/12/2010 6:10:00 AM , Rating: 2
You can pay a one-time $150 charge for the AT&T Microcell, or you can get a $100 rebate on it but pay $20/month.

For those complaining about the cost of the device, or the monthly bill(for those who go that route), keep in mind that while you may be using your own bandwidth, your calls(and 3G data) all get routed across the AT&T network, no matter who your ISP is.

There are also various reasons why people will want to pay for a service that doesn't work EVERYWHERE they may go. In some cases, the phones are paid for by the company they work for, while in others, people live in remote areas, or on the back side of a mountain where there IS no service from any provider, yet in most places people go, they get great service.

I live in an area that has a mix of good and bad places, holes in the coverage area, etc. As a result, I run into dead spots. Verizon shares many of the same dead spots, and Sprint has even more dead spots. T-mobile is a bit of a joke when it comes to coverage out here. So, who do I use? I HATE Verizon due to experience with the company. They are also the local phone company, and I have seen the weird fees they add to bills, and the way they treat their customers. As a result, even if they may have better service in my area, as a company I know Verizon treats its customers like crap, and has some very sleezy business practices that WOULD earn them a number of lawsuits if customers could verify that many of these random fees are really systematic ways to get more money from customers without providing additional services.

Picture adding a SPECIAL service that no one knows about or uses that they charge $10/month for. They decide to give it to EVERYONE unless the customer calls to turn it off. Suddenly all customers get an extra $10 on their bill. Knowing that cell phone bills tend to fluctuate, over 95 percent of the customer base never calls in to complain. So, millions of customers getting charged $10 extra each month for a service they don't know about or even want. That is Verizon...and they SUCK!

By SoulBlighter on 7/11/2010 10:30:30 PM , Rating: 2
This is totally ridicules. First why a customer would pay to have a device using his broadband connection to give him service which is supposed to be provided by the cell company. Instead these cell companies should provide them with repeaters which doesn't require any broadband connectivity and works very well if placed properly or by professional. I hope the regulatory authority approves some law to make service provider service inside the consumer home.

RE: Ridicules
By Targon on 7/12/2010 6:21:25 AM , Rating: 2
The MicroCell links to the AT&T network, and as a result, it makes sense that an optional device should cost something. Many people use the Microcell to provide coverage in places where you would never expect to get service, like basement apartments, and for THAT, it makes sense for the owner to pay for the equipment to provide service down there.

When you get cell phone service in a mall, or office building, there is often a piece of equipment that does just what the Microcell does, but on a larger scale. If you doubt me, here is just one example of a place that sells this sort of thing:

RE: Ridicules
By SoulBlighter on 7/12/2010 9:45:36 AM , Rating: 2
It makes sense if you looking to broadcast signals into your basement. But there is no justification paying for repeaters or such device if you are living in an apartment.
I have worked installing cell towers and repeaters for high rise buildings in 3rd world countries. If cell companies pays for better quality reception for benefit of their clients in poor countries than why companies here can invest the same and install such equipment.
I don't see any justification me as client paying extra $300 to have signals in my single story home.

Free calling?
By kmmatney on 7/12/2010 2:52:16 AM , Rating: 2
Do these calls through the Microcell counts towards your minutes? Might not be a bad idea if they did not use up your normal daytime minutes.

RE: Free calling?
By bodar on 7/12/2010 5:56:48 AM , Rating: 2
name confusion
By rudy on 7/12/2010 12:41:38 AM , Rating: 2
I like the way ATT called a femtocell a microcell sounds like apple taught ATT some new tricks.

only fixes half the problem.
By GruntboyX on 7/12/2010 9:45:42 AM , Rating: 2
So It improves reception in my home. However, what about when I am out and about? Oh I know, I can use this microcell and a mifi from verizon wireless and this way I can have reception anywhere on my Iphone 4, the white one, that takes pictures and video.

Only have to carry around a few extra pieces of equipment.

By soloman02 on 7/14/2010 3:54:56 PM , Rating: 2
My parents have been customers of AT&T since before they sold their network to Cingular (since 1999). We never received one of these letters. Even after all the mergers and acquisitions they never left for Verizon or Sprint. They even have the vaunted Iphone. So how the hell are they not "MVP" customers?

But Does 3G Micro Cell really work?
By grampaw on 7/15/2010 11:48:15 AM , Rating: 2
I bought one ($150) when they first came out - sure it works fine when it works. However it didn't like my home LAN apparently and proved totally unreliable. Apparently AT&T prefers you put the device directly out of your cable modem, or whatever your internet source may be, not downstream from your router and ethernet switches. Every other internet device (at least 20) on my LAN works fine no matter where I connect, and I'm not about to change my LAN configuration just to accommodate the 3G Microcell. So I took it back and got a refund.

So is it just for iPhone users?
By Wily on 7/20/2010 5:08:21 AM , Rating: 2
Not only do I have AT&T cell service I also have AT&T U-verse. My cell has spotty reception in my own house - I think I'm near the edge of my cell radius. I've had dropped calls during meetings on more than one occasion.

But my cell is not an iPhone - where's my letter? :/

Are you serious?
By martyrant on 7/12/2010 1:30:17 AM , Rating: 2
Did you really just right this?

"Considering I've only had AT&T service for just over a year, I was surprised at being considered an MVP. I've also never called AT&T to voice concerns over receptions issues in my area because I never had any until picking up an iPhone 4."

Duh, the reason you are an MVP is because YOU BOUGHT THE eyePhone 4.

I always thought you were slightly less special than Jason Mick and his articles, but now you are just right up there with him. Use your head, advertising is targeted, these companies have algorithms written to take your browsing habits, gps locations, what food places you are looking up, the addresses you are visiting, these are all collected, and you better believe they have a profile for you, and they probably even have it cross referenced with your computer's browsing habits if you are dumb enough to link the two--which it sounds like you are. I fear for humanity. I hope they don't pay you guys for this crap.

RE: Are you serious?
By martyrant on 7/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: Are you serious?
By angryplayer on 7/12/10, Rating: -1
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