Several blogs, including Boy Genius Report (BGR) and Engadget are reporting that Sprint intends to launch their version of femtocell service nationwide sometime this month. Sprint has been trialing femtocell technology in Denver and Indianapolis. Sprint’s femtocell product, Airave, sets up a mini cell tower in a subscriber’s home and utilizes the subscriber’s home broadband service as the transport medium into the core network. Femtocells are seen as a potentially disruptive force on the competitive landscape because in theory, they’ll provide better in home coverage for wireless calls. That better in-home coverage may provide enough ammunition for customers who saw poor in-home coverage as a reason not to cut their home wireline service, to go ahead and cut it now.
Sprint will sell the Airave for $99 and tack on an additional $15/month or $30/month depending on the existing wireless plan (individual vs. family, etc.), providing unlimited calls through the Airave. BGR reports that Sprint femtocell service may only be available to customers who subscribe to an unlimited wireless plan. Unlike similar products from T-Mobile, Sprint’s Airave does not utilize Wi-Fi. Rather it uses the CDMA technology present in all of its handsets, meaning any existing Sprint customer will be able to use an Airave, not just the ones with a Wi-Fi enabled handset.