AT&T: Femtocells not ready for deployment yet

AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega reiterated that AT&T has not decided to switch to a tiered, usage-based data pricing model, but he did say that one of the solutions it will use to help offload data traffic--femtocells--are not quite ready for prime time.

De la Vega said in a recent interview with BusinessWeek that he should have been clearer about the carrier's intentions regarding data pricing when he spoke at an investors conference earlier this month. However, he is trying to be clear this time around. "There are things people say I said that I didn't say," he said. "We have not made any decision to implement tiered pricing."

The AT&T chief reiterated his desire to offload the carrier's cellular traffic to WiFi hotspots and femtocells. However, on the question of femtocells specifically, de la Vega conceded that AT&T was not yet ready for a full-scale deployment or to put a commercial price on the offering. He said femtocells are not yet simple enough for consumers to install and use. If subscribers have to call customer support, that could erase the financial advantage the femtocells bring, he said.

AT&T began a limited femtocell test in September, but noted at the time the prices could be altered as part of a possible wider deployment.

For more:
- see this BusinessWeek article

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