Verizon is apparently accelerating their femtocell launch strategy. Engadget is reporting a January 25th launch for a Verizon ‘wireless network extender,’ which they report will retail for $250. The femtocell creates an in-home wireless gateway for mobile calling, covering approximately 5,000 square feet. The Verizon femtocell is built by Samsung and supports three simultaneous calls. Rather than the nearest cell tower, wireless traffic within a femtocell equipped home is routed over the subscriber’s home broadband network.
Femtocells are an interesting proposition. One perspective suggests that wireless carriers are charging customers to remove wireless traffic off of their tower infrastructure. Not a bad proposition for them. On the other hand, femtocells could be perceived as adding value to a wireless subscription by providing better in-home coverage and lessening the need and expense of a wireline phone. Customers may look at it as a way to ‘save’ money over the long term. Regardless, it will be somewhat of a tough sell in these economic times. Expenditures of $250 are receiving considerable scrutiny these days. I’m not sure femtocells will demonstrate enough value among mainstream consumers to see significant buy in. At least not yet.