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AT&T poised to roll out 3G MicroCell service


For many iPhone owners in the U.S., the fact that you're tied to AT&T as the wireless carrier has been a serious problem. As an example, until this week, I was lucky if I got 2 bars of signal strength on EDGE at my house and I never had 3G service. Now, for some inexplicable reason, I'm able to get a full 5 bars on 3G on the top floor of my house and about 3 bars on the lower floor.

Unless you're fortunate enough to have a similar miracle take place near your home, you may need to take advantage of AT&T's upcoming 3G MicroCell service. This service literally puts a tiny Internet-attached cell tower in your home or office, blasting out 5 bars of 3G goodness to about a 5,000 square foot area.

The 3G MicroCell comes at a price, of course -- the device is rumored to cost $150 and there will be no monthly charge if you wish to use your existing minutes. You can also add unlimited phone calls through the device for an extra $20 per month, so if you primarily use your iPhone in one location, it might be cheaper to get the minimum service plan for the iPhone and just use the 3G MicroCell unlimited plan for your calls.

AT&T's rollout of the 3G MicroCell service will make the iPhone available to a wider audience of potential users, and may also benefit the overstressed AT&T network by decreasing the number of voice and data calls using the regular cell towers.

At the present time, AT&T is testing the 3G MicroCell service in Charlotte, NC. You can check availability of the service by visiting the AT&T site.

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