A couple of weeks ago, my wife called up Sprint to complain about our phones dropping calls inside of our house. Their solution, is to provide us a free Femtocell device, which they call the Airave.

A femtocell is a small, low-power cellular base station, typically designed for use in a home or small business. It utilizes your broadband connection allowing Sprint to extend service coverage for a limited number of devices.

While I applaud Sprint for taking the initiative to "help" us, I have a fundamental issue with the concept of this device.

I pay Sprint X dollars to provide me a service, namely mobile phone service. Now with this Femtocell device, I am required to foot the bill for the overhead and bandwidth for Sprint to provide the service I already pay them for. WHAT?

The only party in this situation with a net gain is Sprint. They now have offloaded four heavy use Android devices from their network onto another internet connection, without having to pay a dime.

Pros for Sprint

  • Reduced Bandwidth Load on local cell tower
  • (Theoritically) Happier Customers
  • Increased Capability at local cell tower

Pros for Customers

  • Better cellphone reception in the 5000sq ft around the Femtocell

Cons for Customers

  • (Effectively) paying twice for the bandwidth, once to Sprint and once to your broadband provided
  • Adversely affect your other broadband hungry services (e.g. VoiP, NetFlix, Hulu, etc.)
  • Pays for electricity to power their FemtoCell device.
  • Charged taxes on the device (check your before and after bill)

Customers who need or choose to use a FemtoCell device should receive a rebate/discount on their service for "helping" their mobile provider do the job they are being paid to do.  Making up for the shortcomings of the wireless network, should NEVER cost the customer more, directly or indirectly.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to be keeping this device….today it sits in the box.

2 thoughts on “Sprint FemtoCell Airave – My Philosophical Issue

  1. I completely agree……and like you I haven’t unpacked my unit from it’s box!

    Wonder how much bandwidth it consumes?

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