• 3G MicroCell Test Launched in North Carolina

    Image via intomobile.com

    Many of us are waking up to the news this morning that AT&T's new 3G MicroCell has finally (somewhat) emerged from beneath its veil of secrecy.

    More details are becoming available today following Apple Insider's announcement last night that the 3G MicroCell has been test launched in the Charlotte, North Carolina market.

    For now, it appears that the device comes with a $150 price tag and no monthly fees. Some reports, however, suggest that AT&T users wanting unlimited minutes will have to pay $20 a month, but a $100 rebate is then offered with regard to the Microcell tower.

    Citing an AT&T representative in Charlotte, the report said the femtocell device provides 3.2Mbit/sec 3G service, which is on par with AT&T's existing towers in areas of ideal service, but not the maximum 7.2MBit/sec speed supported by the iPhone 3GS. Of course, most users won't be using the device's 3G for data, as they presumably will be using WiFi for that.
    AT&T did not issue a formal statement following yesterday's test launch.

    On Friday, a story from Zacks Investment Research revealed that the 3G Microcell is expected to launch in "the next week" with the full roll out taking place by year's end. Although AT&T's Microcell was rumored to likely first appear in either Atlanta, San Antonio, and Seattle, it appears Charlotte was ultimately selected.
    AT&T's device will support up to four users making simultaneous calls, and up to ten users on 3G standby available for incoming calls and messages. In order to support that bandwidth, the 3G MicroCell needs to be connected to an appropriately fast broadband connection. Typical DSL service provides 1.5Mbit/sec downloads and 0.7Mbit/sec uploads; a voice call consumes around 0.04Mbit/sec upload and download.
    Hoping to inhibit dropped calls and slow data service in poor coverage areas, the device will cover approximately 5,000 square feet in your home or office. AT&T's device can support up to four users making calls at the same time.

    Although we're slow to get the full scoop from North Carolina, it seems AT&T is getting ready for an aggressive push to roll out the 3G MicroCell nationwide very soon.
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