Report: Sprint Nextel poised for 3G femtocell launch

Sprint Nextel is reportedly getting ready to joint AT&T and likely Verizon Wireless in offering a femtocell that delivers 3G data services in addition to voice services.

According to documents filed with the FCC, which were originally uncovered by Engadget, Sprint has called on Airvana to make the latest version of its Airave device. The new femtocell will support EV-DO data connection speeds, and will also include a port for landline VoIP service. Airvana won a master purchase agreement contract with Sprint last July to supply the operator with 3G femtocells.

The current version of Sprint's Airave device, which is made by Samsung, was released in summer of 2008 and supports only CDMA 1x service. A Sprint spokeswoman, Stephanie Vinge-Walsh, declined to comment on the femtocell product. "Sprint is constantly working to bring our customers a strong portfolio of products and services," she told FierceWireless. "This includes a variety of form factors, operating systems, price points, features and appearance."

AT&T unveiled its femtocell product, which it calls a 3G MicroCell, at the CTIA Wireless 2010 conference last month. The 3G MicroCell was developed with Cisco and will be available for $150. Sprint currently charges $100 for its Airave device, plus an "Enhanced Coverage" fee of $5 per month.

Verizon Wireless also has a femtocell that supports CDMA 1x service, called the Network Extender. "We have not announced a 3G femtocell product yet, although we have said in the past that we expect to offer a product like it in the future," Verizon spokesman Tom Pica told FierceWireless.

For more:
- see this FierceWireless article

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