Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Psst... Want a free femtocell?

In my continuing fascination with the Sprint femtocell service Airave, I’ve been following articles and blogs about the service. From the comments on-line, it’s clear the product is a hit. By making it a ‘2G’ product, Sprint has assured compatibility with all the handsets in the field. While there are minor issues, for people with little or no coverage (a far to common occurrence in the US), this is the wireless equivalent of ‘pennies from heaven’.

The one complain seems to be the pricing. Not much of a surprise there. A one time fee of $99.00 and then $4.95 a month to get five bars of coverage in your home seems a bit steep for something one expects from their mobile provider.

But if you don’t want to pay for it, perhaps there’s another way:

In this article from the San Francisco Chronicle, Sprint representatives said that on a case-by-case basis, some customers in problem areas with bad reception might be eligible for a free or discounted Airave or waived monthly fees.

Several of the bloggers who are ‘raving about Airave’ indicate they received the unit at no charge after complaining to Sprint customer service.

I have blogged about this as a face-off between two ‘home zone’ service offers, the other being T-Mobile’s “Unlimited Mobile Calling” (aka HotSpot@Home). I viewed Sprint’s push as a competitive response to T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi-based offer.

But perhaps Sprint has a more pressing need for the femtocell. An analysis of Q2 08 operating performance for the ‘big four’ mobile operators in the US showed negative trends for Sprint in nearly every category. Especially troubling is the 4% decline in the total subscriber base.

One way to stop subscribers from leaving, especially those with coverage issues, is to give them a femtocell.

1 comment:

text-to-tv said...

I love this concept!! We could use this within our office and office it to our clients. Has anyone found a GPL or opensource or free method of tapping into this?