Sprint unveiled a consumer-targeted femtocell base station for use with all of their CDMA handsets today. Femtocell strategies aim to improve indoor wireless coverage, and may help to accelerate wireless substitution for traditional landlines. The Sprint femtocell product, Airave, is manufactured by Samsung, and routes mobile handset calls through the customer’s home broadband connection. Sprint will sell the Airave for $50 with a monthly price tag of $15/individual or $30/family plan, and has launched the platform in Denver and Indianapolis initially. The monthly fees cover unlimited calling through the femtocell platform.
One hurdle for many consumers aiming to ditch their landline completely in favor of wireless “only” service has been poor wireless coverage within their home. If femtocells prove to be effective, that hurdle is now removed. Ajit Bhatia, director of product management for Sprint commented, “…with unlimited in-home wireless calling, the AIRAVE makes it even more convenient for customers to rely on their Sprint phones at home.” Maybe convenient enough to no longer need a landline.