Engadget is reporting that AT&T is getting ready to give away 3G MicroCells to its customers who are suffering from poor network coverage in their homes or offices. AT&T’s 3G MicroCell is a range-boosting femtocell that helps in improving the cellular reception inside buildings and in areas where there is limited cellular coverage by tapping into the user’s home broadband. The device is currently priced at $150 and an additional monthly cost of $19.99 for unlimited minutes.
According to a report by Engadget, starting Sunday – January 23, 2011, AT&T will start mailing coupons to a select number of its customers that they can use to get a free 3G MicroCell from a local AT&T COR (Company Owned Retail Store) store.
AT&T is apparently giving away the coupons to top 7.5% of its 3G mobile subscriber user base who are likely to experience poor coverage in their homes or offices. There is a slight catch though. The customers have to accept an agreement stating that they would need to use AT&T’s wireless services for the next 12 months. Should they decide to cancel the service within 12 months, customers have the option to return the MicroCell unit to AT&T. If they wish to keep the device then they are subject to an equipment fee of $199.99. The amount to be paid declines at the rate of $16.67 per month.
Back in September 2009, AT&T had started rolling out the MicroCell nationwide after trials in several states. In July 2010, we also heard reports that AT&T was offering the free 3G MicroCell to their “most valuable customers” as a special gift for their “continued loyalty“.
Though its a great gesture from AT&T to address the issue, the timing of the offering is quite intriguing when you consider that Verizon will be offering Apple’s iPhone in the next few weeks. We wonder if its an attempt to stop iPhone customers from switching to Verizon.
What do you think? If you are one of those “lucky” AT&T subscribers to receive the coupon then please let us know in the comments section below.