Sprint EV-DO Femtocells Boost Mobile Coverage
Can you hear me now? Sprint quietly offered free Evolution Data Optimized femtocells for customers lacking adequate wireless signals on their mobile phones.Mobile carrier Sprint Nextell is reaching out with free femtocells to customers who have trouble getting good reception, a spokesman from the company confirmed to the wireless industry publication FierceWireless. A femtocell acts as a small cellular base station, typically designed for use in a home or small business. It connects to the service provider's network via broadband (such as DSL or cable), and current designs typically support two to four active mobile phones in a residential setting; up to 16 active mobile phones can be supported in enterprise settings. "Sprint is offering the Airave Access Point for customers who have specific in-building coverage issues," Sprint spokesman Mark Elliott told FierceWireless. "Each customer situation is reviewed independently to determine whether the customer would qualify and benefit from Airave use. This is an updated Airave model, and does support Sprint 3G [Evolution Data Optimized] data speeds."
Sprint introduced femtocells in the third quarter of 2007 as a limited rollout in Denver and Indianapolis of a home-based femtocell built by Samsung called the Airave, which works with any Sprint handset. In August 2008, the Airave was rolled out nationwide. Other operators in the United States have followed suit, including Verizon's Wireless Network Extender in 2009, which is based on the same design as the Sprint and Samsung system.