Humberto Saabedra is the Editor-in-Chief of and an occasional columnist for He can also be found musing on things at @AnimeNewsdotbiz

10 responses to “AT&T Expands 3G MicroCell Availability”

  1. JJ

    How is this going to help your signal when you can barely get 3g signal with att? Hey.. at least it will improve your 2g 🙂

  2. Jim S

    The comment here makes no sense. “How is this going to help your signal when you can barely get 3g signal with att?”. ???? This question suggests that the writer fails to understand that the whole point of the 3G microcell is to deliver a higher quality connection in those places where service is less than ideal. The microcell delivers improved 3G connectivity for both voice and data. Sounds like a nice option to me

  3. JJ

    How does it not make sense? The way way that microcells work is that they improve the current signal you get. Like you said Jim, they “deliver a higher quality connection”.But when you dont have a connection or signal to improve or amplify then it doesnt work. My point is that ATT has bad 3g coverage and when the 3g signal isnt even there to begin with then it will do you no good to have it. Is that a little better explanation for you?

  4. Paul S

    You are wrong JJ. AT&T’s MicroCell does not improve current the signal you get. They are basically a VOIP modem which also has a mini GSM “tower” on them that allows, in AT&T’s case, 10 registered lines to get full 3G service even in an area where there is no cell phone service. The microcell uses your broadband internet connection to send all of the phone calls and data over the internet. AT&T’s device will give this service up to 5000 sq. feet.

    AT&T’s microcell is the only femtocell that provides 3G phone and data service. All of the other femtocells being offered by the other cell phone companies are all 2G. Does that make sense?

  5. JJ

    Paul, that is good to know. I know that the microcell uses voip technology to get the calls out but I thought it just enhanced your signal not give you a completely seperate signal. I know that the microcell for verizon doesn’t do that and neither does the one for sprint. You at least need minor cell phone coverage for those.
    I currently use sprint but I have a line that is my business partners and yes.. he has the iphone. So it would help him out at his house where he gets no att coverage. I just hope he’s willing to pay the monthly fee to have it. The only problem I see is that when he is on a call and has to leave he will have to hang up the call since it won’t transfer since there is no cell service.

    Thanks for the info. Learned something new. thanks

  6. Will the iPad work with the AT&T Microcell?

    […] and the other one is $130 more and has WiFi and 3G data capabilities as well. AT&T recently expanded their trials of the 3G Microcell service to a few more cities. The Microcell is basically a small wireless cell […]

  7. Christopher Price

    JJ, Verizon’s femotocell (Network Extender) does operate in the same manner as AT&T’s MicroCell. It can work anywhere in the continental United States that there is a fast enough broadband connection and a GPS signal.

  8. JJ

    christopher, I worked for verizon till may of last year and their network extender will only work where verizon has enhanced coverage. With the built in gps reciever they make sure you only use it in the area that it is allowed. Unless you know of a way to hack it I don’t think there is a way around it. I also currently use airave and it does the same thing.

  9. Christopher Price

    JJ, I’ll clarify what’s going on here.

    It is true, Verizon must have an FCC license to operate in the market that you are powering up the Network Extender. However, that is nearly ever market in the continental United States.

    But my response was to the notion that you need need a Verizon tower or a Verizon signal in the area. That is not true. They just need an FCC license for the market.

    In addition, if too many Network Extenders are operating at the same time in a market, Verizon may block additional units from powering onto the network. This is also governed by GPS fix, as Verizon does not want to exceed the FCC spectrum allocation in an area.

    Yes, Airave works the same way. But to wrap it up, you don’t need to be anywhere near a tower for the Network Extender to work. Verizon just needs a spectrum license for the region. There are asterisks to every explanation, but I don’t feel the average customer needs to know these details… I’ve yet to hear one customer in the continental US complain that the Network Extender won’t activate in an area where they genuinely wish to use it.

  10. Paul S

    Interesting info Christopher. I’m sure it won’t be too long before you can hack these devices. I’ve hacked tivos, routers, and cell phones before and depending on the operating system used on these it should be very similar. I’m assuming, since AT&T’s MicroCell is Cysco based, just like Linksys, that they’ll be using a UNIX based system. My TiVo, Linksys router, and iPhone are all Unix based and for the most part all that was involved was uploading a “modified” firmware to give access to areas previously “locked”. Once access is gained to these areas, I’m sure all there is to the GPS fix will be a file with the latitude and longitude coordinates. So if there were issues of blocked access, then all you would need to do is modify where the GPS program writes to while leaving the read file permanently set at a coordinate that won’t have issues of blockage. Just a thought…