More 3G Femtos Coming to the US
Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is now shipping 3G CDMA EV-DO home base stations, according to a report that a Sprint spokesman confirmed to LR Mobile on Monday. The boxes "aren't for sale," however, according to spokesman.
Instead, Sprint will issue the boxes to fix user coverage problems on a "case-by-case basis" and may give them out for free. Users would, however, be subject to an unspecified fee for the voice and data homebody if they cancel service before the end of their contract.
These Sprint 3G home base stations have been a long time coming. The operator originally said that it would beat AT&T to the 3G punch, and Airvana Inc. was even revealed as the supplier of the box in July 2009. AT&T, however, started to ship its $150 3G Microcell to select markets in September 2009. (See Sprint: We'll Beat AT&T to 3G Femto, Where Is the Sprint 3G Femtocell?, Airvana Wins Major Sprint Femto Deal, and Meet the AT&T MicroCell.)
Nonetheless, Sprint is breaking the US femto sales model by saying that it will consider giving away the boxes. While the other US carriers charge for femtos, the Sprint approach is more like that of another Airvana customer, which can also give the femto for free if a customer has coverage issues. (See Femto Watch: Vodafone Means Business in Spain.)
The Sprint spokesman said the operator has no plans yet to do a wider rollout but will treat everything on -- you guessed it -- "a case-by-case basis."
Verizon Wireless , meanwhile, doesn't have a 3G femto yet but appears to be working on one. As we reported last week, the company appears to be saying, in recent job postings, that a 3G femto is a "key project." (See 3G Femto a 'Key Project' for Verizon? )
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile