We've known that AT&T has been test-marketing
free 3G MicroCells
to subscribers with particularly awful reception in certain parts of the country since the product launched last year, but as of January 23rd, they're codifying the offer and taking it nationwide. Bottom line: the "top 7.5 percent of 3G wireless customers identified as likely to experience poor in-building coverage at home or in small offices" will be receiving some snail mail with a discount code; bring it into an AT&T store and you'll be offered a gratis MicroCell. There's a catch, though -- you need to agree to a one-year contract on the unit (separate from your normal account contract), so if you cancel service within that year, you need to either return the MicroCell or get charged $199.99 minus $16.67 per month that you've had it. Of course, that lines up with the newly-increased MicroCell price
that the carrier is instituting starting this Sunday. Considering that AT&T needs to acknowledge that you're in a terrible reception area to get it, we can't say we'd hope
to be one of the "lucky" 7.5 percent -- but it's a nice benefit nonetheless.