Iphone 3G Signal Booster.

The company’s MicroCell, a mini-cell tower that resembles a modem, works with a user’s broadband home connection, easing the load on the wireless carrier’s network while providing a better signal within a 5,000-square foot area.

With this program, AT&T is offering customers more choice,” he said. “In this case, it is a good option for customers that previously had no solution for better wireless coverage, no matter how many billions are spent on the macro network.”

Easing the network burden

For AT&T, every (MicroCell) purchased by a customer is coverage and capacity they don’t have to provide, and backhaul they are getting for free.”

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MicroCell will work with iPhones, as well as other cell phones from AT&T. But AT&T is the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the United States, and its popularity is a double-edged sword for the company.

The phone is a huge seller, but with its data-intensive capabilities and programs, it also adds to the load on the company’s network. As it is, some iPhone users complain of network slowness or inability to get reception at all.

First 3G ‘femtocell’
AT&T’s MicroCell — also known generically as a “femtocell” — is one way of relieving some of the burden on the wireless carrier. In the past year or so, femtocells have started being used by other wireless carriers, including Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile.

But none of their devices are capable of handling 3G — or third-generation — wireless service, which can better deal with intensive uses such as Web surfing, e-mailing and watching and sending videos.

Femtocells can be plugged directly into a cable or DSL modem, or a wireless router.

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