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“AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?


“AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?

We live on the town line of two communicates in Massachusetts and the quality of our mobile phone reception is weak and inconsistent.  Our family is heavy users of iPhone and have been holding on to the ATT contract given that there was no other option.  We have been contemplating switching over the Verizon which has far superior coverage when a friend of mine told me about how ATT solved his problem by offering him at no cost a “AT&T 3G MicroCell™” which I understand connects into our Internet service and allows us to receive improved cell signal performance.

I contacted ATT service to inquire about this and they informed me that the cost is $199 with a mail in rebate of $100 and that only those that were selected were to get the device for free.  I find this position to be incredulous that (a) I have to pay money to have a service that I am already paying for to function and (b) that ATT has decided to selectively offer this to only a portion of their customers.  When I asked the customer representative to explain the policy on offering this device she told that if I have not been offered the device I  was not one that was selected, with no further explanation.

I am interested in learning if other customer have had the same poor treatment that I have had?


Message 1 of 15

Re: “AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?

I did.


I got an email offering me a free micro-cell for my house--which, although in a "coverage area" gets no coverage.


It was a good idea. I like the iPhone and I was, although not thrilled, happy enough with AT&T to have been a customer for 5 years.


About a week and a half ago I called AT&T customer service asking them for help with my connection. I told the woman (who was very nice) I needed some reason--any reason--to stay with them.


If she had offered me a free micro-cell I'd be a customer today. As it was, she cheerfully told me there wasn't anything she could do.


Last Saturday I canceled my AT&T subscription and got a Verizon iPhone. It works in my house.


Today I got the offer for the free micro-cell and thought: "Well done AT&T--what if that customer service rep had been able to give me that on the phone?" I'd be paying you 150/month instead of the <100 I pay Verizon now. And my phone works.


Good job, guys.



Message 2 of 15

Re: “AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?

Hilarious! point exactly

Message 3 of 15

Re: “AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?

Hi Marco,


This is a great post.  I'm only reading it though because I got an offer letter today for one of these micro-cells, and did a google on it.  You really have to wonder how they decide who gets one.  We have pretty good AT&T coverage, and I doubt my wife's iphone usage would differ from most (although she is a demon with Facebook) but still they want to give us one.  I'm not sure what the benefit would be though, maybe a bit better coverage?.   In our case A&T is fine and although we would consider Verizon the number one way AT&T will get us to stay is to offer us an upgrade to the "latest and greatest" iphone before our regular 2 years are up.   (which I understand they do too!)

Message 4 of 15

Re: “AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?

I got the 3G Cell mailing, walked into the AT&T store with it, and in less than 10 minutes I walked out with the 3G Cell in hand.  After getting home, it took less that 15 minutes to get it activated and then hooked up.   I live in very-rural upstate New York, and I was lucky to get 1 or 2 bars at my house.  And it works, it doubled my bars, now i get 4 bars. 

Message 5 of 15

Re: “AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?

Rather than asking who gets a (free) Microcell, you might rather ask who would WANT one given how unreliable they are.

Had yet another bout of "long delay->call failed" again last night.

Since they increased the price, my advice now is that you probably can do better (priceSmiley Tongueerformance wise) with a repeater than the Microcell. It's a shame, but it's clear that AT&T won't ever get it working properly for everyone, and they simply don't care.
Message 6 of 15

Re: “AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?

Have you ever used a cellular repeater nsayer?  I have...before the MicroCell became available.


I tried a couple of them.  Each was around ~$1000.  I did a very good installation including putting the outside antenna on top of my 65 ft. ham radio tower.  The results were worthless.


A neighbor of mine had a professional installation of a cellular repeater done.  Again...worthless.  Now he has a MicroCell and has good coverage in his house.


The MicroCell has been vastly superior to a repeater here, for whatever it's worth.

Message 7 of 15

Re: “AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?

I had good results with a ZBoost XY510 in our house before the Microcell. It was about $300. It didn't give us 5 bars, but it definitely improved coverage indoors for us - not only for us, but our Verizon friends as well.


I went with the Microcell more to get the unlimited calling feature, which happens to mesh with our usage patterns very well. Had I known it would work as poorly as it has for the last year, I would have thought twice.


Message 8 of 15

Re: “AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?

Also consider where you want service.  The microcell is a good alternative if you want coverage in your house, but remember that once you leave the house, you will no longer have any better service.  A microcell will only improve signal for a small area.  If you need more than that, maybe switching carriers is a better option.

Message 9 of 15

Re: “AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?

There are lots of people in that situation - anyone who lives in a stucco house (like us) will have terrible indoor coverage and (potentially) perfectly adequate outdoor coverage. Folks in that situation would be very well served by a Microcell that actually functioned properly. It's such a shame AT&T doesn't sell one.


Message 10 of 15

Re: “AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?

I talked to two customer reps about the poor signal I get at home. Both suggested the getting the 3g microcell for $199. I said why should I pay for something when I should be getting great signal in the first place with what I'm already paying for each month? That's ridiculous. So AT&T wants me to give them more money for the poor service they're already giving me to fix it. How do they expect to keep customers this way. The rep informed me the only way I could get it for free was if I received an email. Sigh....Verizon here I come!

Message 11 of 15

Re: “AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?

I just received a similar response.  I have a new iPhone 4G that does not work at my house.  All my other AT&T phones work, but the 4G does not.  I contacted AT&T to see about the MicroCell and they advised that it would cost $199.99, but I could get a $100 rebate if I signed up for the $19.99 per month unlimited plan.  I have a friend with an Verizon iPhone 4G that works great at my house, but still  have over a year in my contract and AT&T and they advised that it would cost $175 to cancel.  They have me backed against the wall with any option costing me more money, so they are willing to stick me with an iPhone that doesn't work at my house and they want more money to make it work.  No wonder Verizon is the fastest growing network.  I am switching my service to them, if only for the principal!  In the long run, it will save me money.

Message 12 of 15
ACE - Master

Re: “AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?

If you complain long enough (a relative term) and are not verbally abusive with customer support (which admittedly is a hard thing to do) then they may send you that email based on your "history" of poor reception or at the very least, credit you back some of the cost of a MicroCell. That's what I did when they were $150. AT&T credited me $50 (not much but it was something) on my next cell phone bill. As far as the iPhone 4G, there is a known issue between that and Cisco/AT&T.

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot

"Quick Tips: My Microcell Doesn't Work"

I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTMobilityCare

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 13 of 15

Re: AT&T cellular: a cash-cow business

For what it's worth, my new iPhone4S works fine on the uCell - Solid!


What is interesting is this pattern with ATT to nickel and dime customers for substandard services. Remember how we used to pay high monthly charges for land lines before VOIP came to town? How about with Internet when we were stuck on aDSL at 3Mbps then cable offered 30Mbps speed. Little by little everyone switched over to great service at equal or cheaper monthly bills.


Now with cellular service it is the same story all over again. This time people switch over to Verizon. AT&T has the perfect setup to help Verizon rise to No1 position:

- 3rd world cellular coverage

- high overall cost

- questionable customer policies: free uCell vs. $200/unit


To make mater worse this AT&T Cisco uCell is a sick box that acts up more often than it works.


Verizon is a living proof that good cellular coverage is indeed possible. They should offer AT&T customers to split the penalty charges when switching over  and Ma-Bel would be in the lake over night ... oh no because AT&T would have the Govt bail them out under "too big to fail" umbrela.



Message 14 of 15

Re: “AT&T 3G MicroCell™” Who gets it ?

 Who get's it? I don't think ATT gets it! 

- It is only to their advantage to get as many paying customers as possible off their cellular network onto local uCells to shift bandwidth usage to private broadband connections.


More indoors uCells = less tower congestion.


More happy customers = less contract migration


Better working uCell = more happy customers



It is hard for wireless customers to stay put when they can not use the service they are paying for.

It may be that 80% of ATT wireless customers get okay service and the remaining 20% are more than welcome to switch to boutique carriers. This strategy yields higher profits by only serving the bulk of the customer pool. The rest is wastage as it would require more investments for lower returns. Afterall ATT is in business for profits not as a public service.


The part I don't get is why ATT does not issue more free uCells and why they don't fix the uCell firmware when it is clearly to their advantage to retain existing customers? 

That road offers good Return On Investment (ROI) and keeps competition from slicing into market shares.



Message 15 of 15
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