NYT: Bringing You a Signal You’re Already Paying For


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Infuriatingly, AT&T’s plans to sell a new device designed to help boost its notoriously spotty cellular network signal.

The size of a couple of decks of cards, these mini-towers act and look like Wi-Fi hot spots at cafés, and redirect cellphone calls from congested cell towers to home Web connections.

So if you have terrible service in your apartment, as many AT&T customers I know do, you will now have the privilege of buying a device that costs over US$100 in order to improve the service that AT&T is not delivering successfully to you.

I’m reminded of the company’s “You Will” ad campaign from a few decades ago, in which they postulated various miraculous innovations in future communications technology, asking if you’ve ever, for example, “opened doors with the sound of your voice?” The promise was that “You will,” and it would be AT&T that would make it happen.

Well, have you ever paid a company to fix a service you already pay for? You will.

  1. Not only do you pay for the device, but AT&T gets to free-ride on your internet connection too. I think they should be paying me.

  2. There is a sweet spot where this device makes sense and isn’t offensive: if you live an area with decent broadband and poor cellular coverage, and want better home service without expecting that AT&T would necessarily provide it. It works well, too, if you make a lot of daytime minute calls and have 2 or more phones on a family plan.

    I have no idea why AT&T doesn’t pick its top 500,000 accounts by dollar volume cross-referenced by call quality (since the firm tracks that), and just offer to send them a MicroCell for free.

  3. The sad thing is I’ll pay it because they have the iPhone. $1 says sending the signal up our craptacular Time Warner internet connection won’t be much better than ATT’s phone system lottery.

  4. I too was reminded of the (Tom Selleck-voiced) “You Will” series of AT&T commercials when I saw on AppleInsider that AT&T is going to launch a line of re-branding spots with the tagline “Rethink Possible.”

    Unless they’re saying reliable wireless service in my building is impossible, so I need to rethink my expectations…

  5. I do agree that it’s pretty outrageous to be asked to spend more money to get the service we all thought we’d be getting. But even more disturbing to me is the idea of mini cell towers in our homes. Wi-fi is already flooding us with dangerous EMFs, I can’t even begin to imagine the health issues we’ll start seeing with this new addition to the toxic EMF overload.


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