Verizon Intros $250 In-Home Network Extender

Sprint already won the race to market with its AIRAVE, but it's Verizon Wireless' Network Extender that seems to be the better overall deal. For those unaware, a femtocell is -- for all intents and purposes -- a miniature cell tower that connects to your broadband Internet. Once installed, it gives you impeccable at-home coverage by routing mobile calls that originate in your home through the Internet. Sure beats climbing up to that one window in your attic to eke out a single bar, doesn't it?

Starting this week, Verizon customers who are disappointed with coverage within their own home can exchange $250 for the promise of having an outstanding signal within a 5,000 square foot area of where the Network Extender is installed. Unlike Sprint's solution, which sells for just $100 but requires a monthly fee of at least $5 to use, Verizon has decided to price its box at $250 while doing away with monthly service fees.

In theory, this gives mobile phone users the ability to completely ditch their standard telephone and rely solely on a cellular provider, but you'll want to ensure you have enough minutes per month to cover the gap should you decide to do so. If you'll recall, we had previously heard that AT&T was busy testing a femtocell solution of its own, and company spokesman Mark Siegel has asserted that it should be ready to "conduct customer trials in at least one market in the second quarter" of 2009. Better enjoy the days you have left, landline -- it seems your days really are numbered.