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Sprint Launches Femtocell Trial In Denver And Indianapolis

Called Airave, the femtocell hardware and associated service will give Sprint subscribers enhanced cellular coverage in their homes or home offices.
Called Airave, the femtocell hardware and associated service will give Sprint subscribers enhanced cellular coverage in their homes or home offices.The technology is similar in function to T-Mobile's HotSpot @Home service, which also provides enhanced coverage in places that have poor coverage or no coverage at all. Unlike HotSpot @Home, which relies on Wi-Fi to provide a connection, the Airave service uses a miniature cell tower called a femtocell. It looks similar to a Wi-Fi router, and also plugs into your broadband Internet connection, but doesn't use Wi-Fi.

This means any Sprint subscriber can use it, and there will be no need to upgrade equipment or change phones. It will provide approximately 5,000 square feet of coverage and works with all Sprint cell phones except for iDEN-based products.

When making calls under the femtocell coverage, calls will not be charged against users' voice plans. Unlimited incoming and outgoing calls and nationwide long distance are included while using a Sprint phone at home.

The Samsung Ubicell costs $50, and the service will be $15 for individuals or $30 for families. For people or small businesses looking to get rid of their fixed-line phone services but who've been hesitant due to coverage issues, this is one product that can help.

The trial is launching in parts of Denver and Indianapolis. It will be rolled out to all of Denver and Indianapolis by the end of the year, and other cities in 2008.