Today Verizon Wireless is expected to launch its first femtocell product, which will boost cell phone reception inside a person’s home and cost $249.99. Despite the fact that there are no monthly fees, Om’s right, the femtocell is a ripoff. But while the press release may tout this as being akin to getting a million-dollar cell site in your home, it’s a seriously neutered one.
The service only supports better voice reception, and while the Verizon release talks about boosting data coverage for email and picture messaging, the femtocell won’t improve EVDO or MediaFLO reception. That means no 3G data in your house (or a potential temptation to drop your Verizon broadband) and no mobile TV, for which subscribers already pay $15 a month. Instead of getting innovative with the femtocell, Verizon’s merely taking voice traffic off its cellular network and routing it over the user’s broadband connection. At least it’s not charging service fees for the privilege like Sprint does.