AT&T's 3G Femtocells Now in More US Cities
LR Mobile found Tuesday that the 3G "MicroCells" are now available in the New York area, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The operator launched the Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)-made boxes in Vegas in the spring after tests in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and San Diego. (See AT&T Takes MicroCells to Vegas, CTIA 2010: AT&T Femtos Go Commercial in April, and Cisco Claims AT&T Femto as Its Own.) The service is expected to be going nationwide sometime this quarter. The operator isn't yet offering the boxes in markets such as Boston or Austin, Texas, however.
Cambridge, UK-based ip.access Ltd. , which supplies some of the underlying femto technology, suggests that the market reach of the 3G femtos is spreading fast. "I think it is probably the largest femtocell rollout in the world," says Andy Tiller, VP of marketing at the company.
Certainly AT&T is pushing ahead of competitors in offering users home base stations that can improve both voice coverage and 3G data speeds in the home. Neither Verizon Wireless nor Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) have yet moved beyond offering simpler 2G boxes. (See Where Is the Sprint 3G Femtocell?) AT&T may be able to use the boxes to offload more traffic from its 3G. As ip.access's Tiller points out, a femtocell contains a radio network controller element, so the home base station can offload signaling and data traffic. (See iPhone: Could Multitasking Increase 3G Woes?)
Let us know if the MicroCell is available in your area by putting in your ZIP code here.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile