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Sprint's Airave Femtocells to Arrive July 15?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 02, 2008

Rumor has it that Sprint Nextel’s Airave femtocell technology will go on sale nationwide this month. Airave, which has been available in a couple of markets since September, is similar to T-Mobile’s Hotspot @Home service, which allows you to make calls from home via your mobile phone. And since the Hotspot service has been available for a year, a lot of experts say that Sprint is offering too little, too late. I disagree.

For starters, both services will only be available to each carrier’s own wireless subscribers. So Airave will target a pool of consumers who could have never bought Hotspot @Home in the first place, unless they switched their wireless service providers.

What’s more, there’s one big difference between what Sprint and T-Mobile offer. To use Hotspot @Home, you have to buy a Wi-Fi enabled handset. But any existing handset will work with Sprint’s Airave. That means that the potential market for Airave is much larger, and the service could pick up speed faster.

Of course, much will depend on Sprint’s pricing. Rumor has it that Airave will cost $25 to $30 a month — quite a bit more than Hotspot @Home, which only costs $10 a month. That said, even this higher price is comparable to what users pay to the likes of Vonage today, so, for consumers wishing to abandon home lines altogether in favor of wireless, Airave may be a good choice.

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Reader Comments

Art King

July 3, 2008 05:59 PM

T-Mobile's service doesn't cost anything unless you sign up for the unlimited service. If you simply want to improve the coverage in your home you can use your existing wifi network and existing minnute plan.


July 9, 2008 12:34 PM

If Sprint charges up to $30 for this service, I'll just get Time Warner's digital phone, or go with Vonage, who has been in this game a bit longer and knows what they're doing.

The point of of Airave would be to add a little extra to the wireless bill for the convenience of home phone use.


July 12, 2008 01:00 PM

You don't have to sign up for the unlimited Airave plan to use Airave at Sprint. If you choose to just purchase the Airave box, you will enjoy inproved coverage but using your existing cellular plan minutes.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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