Monday, October 5, 2009

Info For Those Considering AT&T's Microcell

I wanted to send this out in case others are considering purchasing AT&T's Microcell.  Before this becomes an "AT&T stinks" thread, let me preface that my particular issue is with my apartment.  It's a proven dead zone for AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon.  Also note that the Microcell only works with AT&T 3G phones.

Yesterday, I purchased the Microcell from the AT&T store in Cary. After taxes, it was about $162. The sales rep also informed me that if I did sign up with the $20/month "unlimited minutes" Microcell plan at the time of purchase, there was a $100 mail in rebate for the Microcell.

After some issues trying to set me up with the rebate deal (a Microcell with 5 months of unlimited minutes?), we found out my account wasn't eligible since it was created in the Washington, DC Metro area. The deal is only good for plans created in these trial markets. This also goes for the ability to purchase the $20/month for unlimited minutes. The sales person did say that they've been told the Microcell was going to be further rolled out in January, and I'd be able to get the $20/month unlimited minutes plan then (sadly, minus the $100 rebate). However, the Microcell itself only has geographical constraints, so it would still work in my apartment.

Once I got home, my set up was pretty easy. The only caveat is that the Microcell needs to be able to get a GPS signal. That meant I couldn't place the Microcell where I really wanted to in my apartment. Once it was powered on and connected, it took about 90 minutes for the Microcell to connect, register with AT&T, get its GPS signal, and be ready to go. When it was online and ready, I received an SMS message saying something to the equivalent of "Thanks! You're Microcell is ready."

I now have full signal in my apartment (as opposed to none). A few test calls and text messages worked fine as well. I haven't tried web access over Microcell, since I use my wi-fi with my iPhone. You can have up to 10 phones that can connect to your Microcell. The numbers have to be added to your online AT&T account management page for others to be able to use it. Right now, it's just my wife's and my cell phone.