A Cell Phone Tower For Your Living Room

Sprint Nextel has begun offering customers a device called a femtocell, for both boosting cellphone reception in the home and routing captured calls over your existing Internet connection. It lets you have unlimited calls at home for a monthly subscriber fee, using your existing cellphone. The femtocell device, called an Airave box, is made by Samsung.

"Subscribers who spend $50 on the Airave box can pay an additional monthly fee of $15 - or $30 for a family - to make unlimited calls to anyone on their cellphone at home. The fee comes on top of the regular monthly cellphone bill. Those who simply want improved coverage can just buy the box.

"Is there demand for perfect coverage at home? I would say yes," said Iain Gillott, founder and president of market strategy consulting firm iGR. "The idea for having excellent coverage for $50 in my house is pretty appealing."

Sprint, Reston, Va., is mimicking a feature used by Deutsche Telekom AG's (DT) T-Mobile USA unit, albeit through a different technology. In June, T-Mobile unveiled its T-Mobile HotSpot @Home service, allowing subscribers at home to use a Wi-Fi connection to make calls."

With so many people now using their cellphone as their only phone, and the poor cellphone reception inside many buildings, these devices should find a very enthusiastic market waiting for them. Nationwide next year; selected markets right now.