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AT&T To Begin Femtocell Trial Later This Year

Mon Nov 3, 2008 - 3:18 PM EST - By Jennifer Chappell

Yes! I'm so happy to have just read over at Brighthand that AT&T will be jumping aboard the femtocell bandwagon later this year, following Sprint and Verizon. Sprint was the first United States carrier to start using femtocells with their AIRAVE. We've reported several times on Sprint's AIRAVE and recently on Verizon's Ubicell, that could launch early next year. What's a femtocell? If you haven't read the previous articles, Wikipedia defines a femtocell as:

A femtocell�originally known as an Access Point Base Station�is a small cellular base station, typically designed for use in residential or small business environments. It connects to the service provider�s network via broadband (such as DSL or cable); current designs typically support 2 to 5 mobile phones in a residential setting.

I recently reported on Engadget Mobile's review of the Sprint AIRAVE, and the device works pretty good and really does improve signal strength.

I reported back in April via Brighthand that AT&T was planning to begin a femtocell trial later this year. This information came from a RCR Wireless News article. The article says that T-Mobile USA Inc. went a different route than the femtocell. According to RCR Wireless News, T-Mobile last year introduced a dual-mode calling service that allows users with GSM/Wi-Fi phones to place calls over their Wi-Fi network for free.

Anyway, back to AT&T, Brighthand says that an AT&T spokeswoman confirmed in an email comment to wireless industry site Unstrung that AT&T is currently doing lab testing, and plans to launch a femtocell trial later this year. The Unstrung article notes that AT&T has more choices of potential suppliers than its CDMA rivals Sprint and Verizon.

Well, I'm anxious for AT&T to launch a femtocell device. I know the AT&T ads say, "More bars in more places", but that sure isn't true in My house unfortunately. I guess I live in an almost dead zone because I'm lucky if I get 2 bars sometimes. I know people who have it worse though so I really shouldn't complain too much I guess.

We'll let you know when we hear more about AT&T's femtocell testing.

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