Updated: Okay guys I screwed up big time here and combined Verizon’s Hub product with its Network Extender product. So the simple reason this doesn’t look like a femtocell is because it isn’t. Thanks for those who quickly pointed this out. I must have been thinking of this device.
Today, Verizon Wireless (s VZ) unveiled more details about its Verizon Hub, a femtocell device and VoIP phone service that goes beyond boosting reception and acts as some kind of home command center. Most femtocells have been advertised as tiny cell towers for the home, used to improve cellular reception indoors, and they offer a way for carriers to get traffic off their wireless networks by using the customer’s wireline broadband as the backhaul. Verizon’s focuses more on entertainment and information features.
To see if you are a good candidate for Verizon’s new femtocell command center product ask yourself: “Do I want to watch National Geographic Channel content on a 7-inch digital photo frame attached to a handset?” If you said yes, and want to pay $35 a month for that and the privilege of watching E!, getting traffic reports and making unlimited voice calls over your current broadband line, then the Verizon Hub service might be for you.
But contrary to the first reports, it’s gonna cost you. The hub will set you back $249.99 (there’s a $50 rebate). It’s $34.99 a month for the hub service plan, and $35-$60 for broadband or DSL. and the cost of your mobile plan. If you’re considering it because you can’t get mobile service inside your house, then it’s probably cheaper just to change your carrier. Other femotcell Hub-like products on offer so far include Sprint’s (s S) Airave service, which requires a $99 device and a $15 subscription fee ($4.99 for “enhanced coverage” and $9.99 for voice), and T-Mobile@Home, which allows you to use Wi-Fi instead of the cell network inside your home for $9.99 per month.
However, for those who have some money to burn and aren’t after the signal-boosting benefits, this product might be just the thing for a family web center in the kitchen. Mom or dad can use the hub in lieu of the Internet or TV to get weather, traffic and stalk the kids with Verizon’s Chaperone cell phone tracking service. Some caveats though: this doesn’t appear to work with 802.11n, which is the latest and fastest Wi-Fi variant, it doesn’t give unfettered access to the Internet and it has pretty limited memory options (128 MB of RAM) for storing addresses, downloads and those family photos you can receive from cell phones using the hub.