AT&T On Track for Femtocell Deployment By End of 2009

Unstrung reports that AT&T is on track for deployment of its 3G MicroCell femtocell technology by the end of 2009. Femtocell technology connects to a user's existing broadband Internet service and provides enhanced 3G voice and data coverage within a 5000 square foot range.

According to AT&T's executive director for radio access network delivery, Gordon Mansfield, who was speaking at the Femtocells World Summit in London today, about 200 users are testing the femto service in targeted customer trials.

In the coming weeks, he added, "we will expand that into a marketing trial of the AT&T-branded 3G Microcell, which will be open to customers through our AT&T stores in a handful of cities.

"We're on track for a full national launch by the end of 2009."

A carrier settings update for the iPhone released in late February contained hints of MicroCell compatibility, and AT&T promised last month that customer trials of the MicroCell technology were one of its priorities for 2009. Confirmation of plans for a full public launch of the service in 2009, however, will be welcome news for iPhone users suffering from poor reception in their homes.

MicroCell pricing remains unknown at this time, although similar offerings from other carriers require either an upfront purchase of $249.99 (Verizon Network Extender) or an upfront purchase of $99.99 with additional monthly coverage and calling charges (Sprint AIRAVE).