Sprint offering femto cells in selected markets

February 19th, 2008

Technology Review has an interesting article on femtocells, which may be the next big thing in home networking and mobile computing.

“Similar in concept to the Wi-Fi routers that many people use to blanket their homes with wireless Internet access, these little boxes instead provide a network for carrying the voice and high-speed data services of mobile phones. They’re designed to give bandwidth-hungry cell-phone subscribers the strongest possible connections at home.” (link)

femtocells in the home

The idea is attractive and I’d buy one in a minute. I live in a hilly area where the hills do a good job of blocking all kinds of signals — cell phone, TV, and radio. So my mobile phone is almost useless at home, even though I’m in the middle of the Baltimore-DC metropolis.

Femtocell technology has its own industrial organization, the femtoforum, a “a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 2007 to promote femtocell deployment worldwide.”

Sprint airave femtocell
Here’s a part of the TR article that excites me:

“Today, the equipment cost for femtocells runs in the range of $250 to $300. Sprint, one of the first companies to start commercial trials of the products, is offering them to consumers in Denver and Indianapolis for $50 apiece, along with an offer of lower-priced calling plans–altogether a substantial subsidy.”

Sprint’s press release descibes it’s AIRAVE femtocell, made by Samsung, and their pricing plan: $50 for the femtocell plus $15/$30 a month for the service (individual/family). While at home you talk for free.