3G FemtoCells to provide iPhone service in AT&T dead zones

AppleInsider reports that AT&T will launch a new device that people can install at home to create a FemtoCell (a very very very small cell) on the AT&T 3G cellular network that can service 10 phones with up to four simultaneous voice or data connections. Exactly what the modern family with four iPhone users needs!

Cellular Network

The idea is that you buy the Femtocell home base station, connect it to your broadband Internet connection or home network, and register all the 3G devices that you will permit to use the Femtocell (so that your neighbor doesn't get a free ride). The device then creates a 5,000 square foot hot-spot for 3G service in your house. Just as with picocells and full scale cellular antennas, a femtocell automatically passes a mobile user's phone connection to the next nearest existing cellular towers as they leave the local signal area provided by the base station. So when you leave your house and get out of the dead zone, you should be picked up by the nearest cell tower automatically.

My guess is that this device will sell like hot cakes in Marblehead and Swampscott, which have historically been experiencing enormous dead zones on the 3G network in the past.

More discussion about this new feature is also on techmeme.com.