Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The latest news via Unstrung's Michelle Donegan is that AT&T's 3G Microcell, which has been in a limited and private beta in the United States for a few months now, will be available in a sort of public beta in the coming weeks, in select (and as-yet unnamed) cities. The 3G Microcell is a device that you plus into your broadband connection at home. It has a 3G transceiver built in, and allows you to create a small cell area of coverage (hence the name "microcell" of course). I've written about it before, here and here.

From the news article:

According to AT&T's executive director for radio access network delivery, Gordon Mansfield, who was speaking at the Femtocells World Summit in London today, about 200 users are testing the femto service in targeted customer trials.

In the coming weeks, he added, "we will expand that into a marketing trial of the AT&T-branded 3G Microcell, which will be open to customers through our AT&T stores… in a handful of cities.

"We're on track for a full national launch by the end of 2009."

The equipment comes from network infrastructure equipment giant Cisco.

I'm hoping that Portland is one of the metro areas they include in the text phase, since my home has pretty much zero coverage. But I do have broadband and would truly benefit from the product.

AT&T plans to add a whole bunch of 850 Mhz spectrum to it's 3G service infrastructure, which should improve it's network performance and capacity substantially. Many have experienced the dropped call and unavailable network performance issues on AT&T's network, so this is a welcome change. But for those of us who simply live just outside the workable coverage area, the 3G Microcell will open even more doors for its customers.

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