Sprint Goes Femto

New Airave box offers cheaper couch potato calls for the carrier's CDMA users

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

September 17, 2007

1 Min Read
Sprint Goes Femto

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has revealed its first femtocell -- a $50 box intended to provide free calls and improved in-house coverage for users of its CDMA network.

The $49.99 Airave box from Samsung Corp. is being launched first in Denver and Indianapolis before rolling out to the rest of the country in 2008. The Reston, Va.-based operator says it will charge a flat fee of $15 a month for the service -- $30 for families -- but in-home calls will not use up subscriber's existing wireless minutes.

The appliance uses a tiny CDMA radio to connect to the subscriber's cellphone and then pumps the call over a local Internet connection. Several major operators around the world are testing or planning to use home base stations -- or femtocells -- to improve indoor coverage and decrease calling costs for subscribers. Sprint, however, is the first of the big U.S. operators to launch such a product.

Airave currently most directly competes with T-Mobile US Inc. 's Hotspot@Home service. The differences being that the T-Mobile service requires a dedicated dual-mode handset with WiFi to work. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is also rumored to be looking into femtocells. (See T-Mobile Launches UMA in USA and Is AT&T Putting Out Femto Feelers?)

Sprint is also expected to introduce similar devices as it rolls out its first nationwide WiMax network in 2008. (See Sprint Goes Femto With WiMax.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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