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Summary:

I’m still not sold on this whole femtocell approach. These devices offer better cellular phone coverage in your home, which is great for you. They also offload voice traffic from the carrier’s network to your broadband connection which is good for them. I’d call it a […]

Verizon Femtocell unit

Verizon Femtocell unit

I’m still not sold on this whole femtocell approach. These devices offer better cellular phone coverage in your home, which is great for you. They also offload voice traffic from the carrier’s network to your broadband connection which is good for them. I’d call it a wash in terms of benefits, so why does it cost you, the consumer? That’s the question you’ll need to answer before you plunk down $249 for Verizon’s Femtocell.

Stacey thinks it’s pretty lame and I tend to agree. It’s not going to do a whit for any 3G data services, so don’t expect to get a better EV-DO signal with one of these. For improved data, you’re better off using the integrated WiFi on your phone… yet another reason to make sure that your handset includes WiFi as a feature.

As someone who’s considering a dump of the landline, I’m all for better wireless coverage in my home. I just don’t think I should have to pay $250 to essentially subsidize Verizon’s network. Or anyone else’s for that matter. At least VZW isn’t charging a monthly fee; that would be adding insult to injury. (Any Sprint AIRAVE customers want to chime in here?) Maybe this whole model is a play on the wireless subsidization method. After all, the carriers routinely pay some of our handset price so they can rake in monthly service fees. In this turnabout, we’d actually be offering them a similar benefit with a femtocell, no? The least they could do is offer a $10 monthly discount on FiOS or DSL internet service since that’s where the calls get routed.

  1. I’d rather change my carrier than pay for this.

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  2. I had been battling poor coverage inside my house vs decent coverage outside with Sprint for a long time. I finally called sprint service to cancel my account and go with “more bars” when I was transferred to “Retentions” who offered me an Airave. I asked them “why should I pay more for something you are already selling me (service)?” After a few minutes of discussion between me and the CSR, I was told that I “qualify” for a free Airave and no monthly service fee.
    The Airave arrived about 5 days after the phone call and after setting it up I am quite pleased. Coverage throughout my home is excellent even in my basement and in a known deadzone in my back yard. I haven’t noticed any degradation of my broadband speeds either when calls are in progress.
    All-in-all, I’m quite happy with it. It was a win win situation for both me and Sprint.
    David

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  3. Was Verizon ever fair? :)

    I have unlimited data(for normal phones) yet I can’t even tether without paying an additional 30$ monthly and 40$ for USB cable (since bluetooth on my phone has no DUN… and it was marketed as a business phone (vx8700)).

    srsly.

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  4. The idea of paying for this device does not bother me to much. To me its a really useful phone accessory. I do think the $249 is to expensive for me. Also, access to the device had better be for me and mine only!!

    The idea of a monthly service is very much a deal breaker for me.

    This as a $50 to 100.00 device for me.

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  5. I’d rather just pay $200 to switch carriers to one that provides decent coverage through-out the house. A new gig I’m contemplating has poor AT&T coverage, which may line up nicely with moving to a Palm Pre. ;)

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  6. I like how they advertise a range of up to 5,000 square feet, because we measure transmission range in square units of area. BTW, that’s 40 feet from the unit for you non-nerds out there (assuming there is one somewhere).

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  7. I have read several posts by the tech community panning this device because it does not this or that. I wish they could visit my neighborhood and see my neighbors outside talking into their cell phones because they cannot get a signal inside the house from either Verizon or AT&T. I know because I have accounts with both. For people like us, it will be a good device, and perhaps even a great one for the folks who finally cancel their land-line and use their cell service for voice communication. I love 3G on my iPhone but I do not need it inside my house. Devices such as this one need to be evaluated by what they do, not what they do not do.

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  8. John, My problem was quite interesting and may be similar to what your neighbors are experiencing. The foamboard insiulation underneath my siding is foil backed and attenuates wireless signals quite effieciently. I have 100% wifi coverage throughout my house but almost zero outside…even a few feet. If I stand in front of a window, I get good cell reception and good wifi – from the outside, but move a couple feet away and zero.
    Same holds true for my airave with a few exceptions. I can get good reception outside the rear of my house because I have large windows and sliding glass doors. In front of the house in the yard, my airave drops off quickly but I have decent tower reception anyway.
    In spite of it all, I have good airave coverage inside where I need it and good cell coverage outside. I use a wifi repeater for wifi outside when I need it during the warmer months.
    David

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  9. @John M — so that’s brilliant for your neighbors: instead of complaining to their carriers and/or canceling their accounts, thus putting pressure on them to actually provide the service they are already being paid for, you’re advocating paying them more money?

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  10. @Oliver – I did complain to the manager of an AT&T store and got an interesting response: you are in a dead zone between towers which is the same problem my parents have. When asked when it was going to be fixed she said that there were no plans for a new tower. These companies are oligopolies who do not respond to customers. Sure I could cancel both accounts (after paying big fees) and give up cell service (there is not a viable alternative in my area). Or I could buy one of these boxes and solve my problem. You can say it is their problem but i am the one without cell service. I bought a Macbook and bought Applecare for almost the same amount as this product costs. But I could have said that I am not going to buy a Macbook until Apple makes one that will last for three years.

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