Samsung announced that it's bringing its femtocell base station to Verizon Wireless, as reported last week (story here). The Verizon Wireless Extender is similar to the Sprint Airave, which Samsung introduced last year.
The Extender requires a normal power outlet and a home broadband Internet connection. If you're on the phone and leave the house, the call will switch automatically between the Extender's coverage area and Verizon's standard network. It costs more than most Verizon handsets ($249), but unlike Sprint's Airave, Verizon doesn't charge monthly fees after the initial investment.
Mass deployments of femtocells, which act as mini cell phone towers for better in-home coverage, have been held up by a number of standardization and regulation issues, but the technology is still anticipated by many to be a big player in the wireless industry’s future network ecosystem.
Yet there’s growing sentiment that customers shouldn’t have to pay extra to get good coverage from their carrier. When a customer purchases a femtocell, they’re also helping to meet the carrier’s backhaul demands.
Last week, Verizon Wireless announced a touchscreen home cordless phone system designed to integrate with wireless devices (story here). Verizon will introduce the new Hub on Feb. 1. It’s unclear if it will integrate with Verizon’s femtocell product.
And earlier this week, AT&T started talking about its femtocell plans (story here). AT&T’s product is called the 3G MicroCell. The hardware is believed to come from IP.Access, which is partially owned by Cisco Systems.
– CED’s Traci Patterson contributed to this report