AT&T 3G MicroCell, who is doing who a favor?

  • July 15th, 2010

Syl and I moved into a loft late last year and have had the worst experience imaginable with our AT&T iPhones. I completely understand that concrete structures aren’t exactly known to amplify carrier signals, but no other carrier (T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint) suffers nearly as much as AT&T Wireless in the apartment. It’s terrible! In order to complete calls or successfully send a text message, we have to stand next to the window or door. I’ve made it a habit to point my phone towards the city hoping that the phone maintains a newborn strength grip of a single bar of service. Bottom line, this sucks…

When AT&T announced their signal boosting femtocell a.k.a. the 3G MicroCell, I knew it was the answer to our coverage woes. Essentially, the MicroCell is a miniature cellphone tower which increases indoor coverage by utilizing your existing internet (Cable or DSL) connection. The idea sounds awesome until you start to digest the monetary details.

So the current situation looks like this:

  • $150 – One MicroCell plus taxes so that I can enjoy an iPhone.
  • $180 / mo. – Two iPhones sharing minutes, unlimited data and unlimited messaging on AT&T’s Family Talk plan.
  • $60 / mo. – Comcast internet connection which AT&T is going to use to improve our cellphone coverage.

Ok, that’s a decent chunk of money going towards communicating on a cellphone via AT&T Wireless. But it’s hard to let go of the iPhone. I’ve tried.

I’m tired of having poor service. I’m even more tired of friends who come over with their non-AT&T service who are able to use their devices without fuming. I actually walked into an AT&T Wireless Store on the way home from work today with the intention of purchasing a 3G MicroCell. I was so close to pulling the trigger until I asked the sales rep:

What do you think about a customer having to pay $150 for a piece of hardware that piggybacks on a home internet connection to fill AT&T service holes?

The answer that convinced me that today was not a day to give AT&T more money:

We’re actually doing you a huge favor by subsidizing the MicroCell. The actual price of the device is $500. $150 for reliable home service is a great deal.

No AT&T, I would be doing you a favor by staying on as a contract customer and reducing your wireless network load in the area. Wouldn’t it be great if AT&T has some kind of system in place that would provide 3G MicroCell towers to customers in order to maintain quality service?