AT&T is finally ready to do something about the horrible reception that so many of us have been experiencing, as they are finally set to make the 3G Microcell available nationwide starting next month. The 3G Microcell is a femtocell unit that connects to your home broadband network. It acts pretty much like a mini cell phone tower, located in your home, and gives you five bars of coverage within 5,000 feet. Since it connects to your broadband network, it uses that to send and receive voice and data. It works with any AT&T 3G phone, and supports up to four voice or data users at one time. Only phones that you specifically allow to use your Microcell can benefit from it, so you don’t have to worry about your neighbors stealing your 3G signal. You can grant access to the device to up to a total of 10 lines.
The 3G Microcell will cost $149.99, but there will be a $100 mail-in rebate. So that is a $50 one-time cost to get a perfect AT&T 3G signal in your home. Yeah, it’s AT&T’s job to make sure all that happens anyway, but realistically, they don’t. That said, we think this is a nice value. No monthly fees to use the device, unless you want to subscribe to an Unlimited Microcell Calling plan, which basically lets you use the Microcell as much as you’d like, without affecting your calling minutes.
Read More | At&T 3G Microcell
I’ve been playing with the Sprint Overdrive 4G mobile hotspot device that the company sent me a few weeks ago, and I’ve gotta say, this thing has come in handy way more often than I thought it would. So much so, in fact, that I find it to be an essential tool and I carry it around in my left jacket pocket everywhere I go at this point, and charge it over USB when I am in the car driving somewhere. I’ll be giving a few examples of how the 4G Overdrive device has come in handy over the next few days, but I wanted to start with this one because I know so many iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS owners out there that cry to the heavens to be saved from the vile clutches of AT&T and their constant network FAIL.
Looks like Google is finally ready to be serious with the Nexus One. As of today, the device is fully compatible with AT&T 3G, as well as Canada’s Rogers Wireless 3G bands. Previously, you could use the Nexus One with those carriers, but you wouldn’t be able to get 3G speeds, so you were relegated to the much slower EDGE network. You can purchase the new model, which is the same as the upcoming Verizon and currently available T-Mobile Nexus One units in every other way, as an unlocked device without a service plan, directly from Google for $529.
Read More | Nexus One product page
Just a quick update as it pertains to downloading iTunes and App Store content on your iPhone. If you are connected via cell connection (meaning, you aren’t connected to Wi-Fi,) you can now download content that’s up to 20MB in size over the air. Previously, the downloads were capped to apps that were 10MB or less, and iTunes content 12MB or less. With the iPad looming on the horizon, it looks like Apple is pre-emptively preparing for apps that are larger in file size that users would want to download to their tablets while connected to 3G. The changes have taken effect so far in in the US, Germany, and Canada.
Read More | 9to5 Mac
Over the weekend, SlingPlayer Mobile 1.2 was released for the iPhone, and it marks a big step for both the application, as well at AT&T and data streaming. If you are unfamiliar, SlingPlayer Mobile allows you to connect to a Slingbox, which in turn lets you watch live and recorded television right on your device. The problem in the past was that AT&T wouldn’t allow all that data on their network, so you’d have to be connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot in order to use it. Well now, with AT&T supposedly working to optimize and improve their network, they have now allowed SlingPlayer Mobile to work using their 3G connection, giving users a real way to watch TV and control their DVRs remotely, wherever they have cell or Wi-Fi connectivity. We’ve tried it out, and it’s great. We definitely recommend giving SlingPlayer Mobile a try.
Read More | SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone
If you’re considering picking up an Apple iPad when they launch a couple of months from now and you plan on taking it on the go, you’ll want to know about the extra fees you’ll incur if you choose to go the with AT&T-provided 3G access plans. First, though, your 3G iPad will cost $130 more than the Wi-Fi-only version. Once you get it, you’ve got two options with AT&T:
- $29.99 per month unlimited data plan
- $14.99 per month for 250MB of monthly data
It’s a good deal for monthly 3G access, especially when you consider the fact that both plans are pre-paid month-to-month plans that don’t require any sort of contract. The other benefit that you get from picking up a 3G iPad model is assisted GPS, which the Wi-Fi-only iPad lacks.
Gotta love those analysts, as they’re always good for stirring the rumor mill - this time it’s BusinessWeek reporting claims that Apple will likely be ending it’s exclusive relationship with AT&T in order to bring the iPhone to all major US carriers. According to Tim Horan, telecommunications analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., T-Mobile USA should have the iPhone available this summer (whatever the follow-up to the iPhone 3GS turns out to be,) with Verizon and Sprint getting the goods this fall. Even Clearwire will be able to get in on the action, as they are expected to get the iPhone sometime in 2011. Of course, AT&T has been the exclusive carrier of the iPhone since it launched in June 2007.
Of course, Apple has the perfect opportunity to announce changes like this if they’d like, as they’ve got what many are predicting to be a colossal Apple event on January 27th, just two days from now. We’ll keep you posted.
Read More | BusinessWeek
My pal Matt Hickey from over at Crave has seemingly connected a few dots as it pertains to the battle between AT&T and Verizon, and this whole Fake Steve Jobs “Operation Chokehold” stunt aimed at taking down the AT&T Wireless data network this Friday afternoon. In case you are unfamiliar, Fake Steve proposed that AT&T customers load up bandwidth-intensive apps on Friday at noon, all at the same time, to saturate the AT&T network to a point of failure as a way of expressing they they are fed up with the horrible performance of the network. Thing is, one of my other pals, John Czwartacki, who just happens to be a contributor to the Verizon Policy Blog and a prolific Verizon personality on Twitter, linked to the movement via a tweet. Some are seeing this as a Verizon official condoning, or possibly even encouraging, the whole “Operation Chokehold” act.
Personally? We think that this is more of a finger pointing statement. It’s John saying “Haha - look at AT&T - their users are so fed up that they want to crush the service that they pay for! Tee hee! Verizon customers wouldn’t do that to us!” What do you think? Was John, and thusly Verizon, out of line here? Either way, we can stomach the rivalry that is happening in the television commercials…but let’s keep the battle outside of our Twitter streams, okay guys?
Edit: John Czwartacki just hit me with an email, pointing out that he certainly doesn’t condone this behavior at all, and even said as much in a few tweets that followed. He was simply linking to industry news, as he normally does. He thinks that if customers are fed up with AT&T, they should vote with their wallets. We agree.
Read More | Crave
This morning AT&T announced that they’ve done a “substantial upgrade” of its 3G coverage in the Seattle area, having deployed additional wireless spectrum using the 850 MHz band. According to AT&T, the upgrade should mean that customers in Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Renton, Auburn, and King County should all have better 3G connectivity, performance, and the signal should be much stronger when indoors as well. The move should also increase overall network capacity, which AT&T is hoping will support subscriber growth.
Since Gear Live HQ is located smack-dab in the middle of the enhanced coverage area, we’ll be giving things a try, and we will let you know if the use of 850 MHz spectrum truly helps the dire situation that is AT&T coverage. Seattle iPhone 3GS and 3G users, give it your best!
Read More | AT&T News Room
Oh man, you’ve got to love how Verizon Wireless has gotten so bold now that they’ve finally got a killer device in the Motorola DROID to brag about. You’ve also got to love how Apple is getting a taste of their own medicine, after running the “I’m a Mac” ads for years now. Verizon is aiming to highlight their phone offerings, as well as their huge 3G network, in their holiday commercials that dump on the iPhone and AT&T. There are three so far, and we must admit, they’re pretty clever. You can watch all three commercials, one of which sees the iPhone banished to the Land of Misfit Toys, after the break.