AT&T to Test Femtocells in 2009

Remember all those iPhone 3G issues when it was first released? Perhaps if every AT&T customer had a femtocell in their house, we wouldn't have seen so many complaints. AT&T is currently testing the "cell phone signal boosters" in employees' homes, and is looking at a broader, city-sized test with customers in the Q2 2009.

A femtocell is basically, as I said, a signal booster for cell phones. It works through the user's broadband connection, sapping still more away from your already dwindling broadband cap. But all sarcasm aside, it acts as a miniature cell phone tower, and certainly could help those in marginal areas.

Sprint is already selling femtocells under the Airave brand, but those only enhance voice and low-speed data connections. AT&T said that it wants to use femtocells that provide full 3G performance.

Verizon is also looking into femtocells, and T-Mobile has it's own take on it, with T-Mobile @ Home, which lets you make calls over Wi-Fi, but only with UMA phones that can switch between GSM and Wi-Fi networks.

Business Week didn't exactly rave about Sprint's Airave in this review, though.

So, two questions:
  1. Will this work better than Airave?
  2. Seriously, how much of our bandwidth caps will this thing suck away, anyway?
Tags:  Cell Phone, Apple, iPhone, ATT