Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Samsung are targeting consumers and small businesses with a new 4G femtocell.
The companies this week unveiled the 4G LTE Network Extender, which uses Samsung's small-cell technology to enable Verizon customers to make HD calls and access data within 7,500 square feet on as many as seven devices. The gadget, which went on sale today for $250, is a complement to the femtocell the two companies launched in January for the enterprise market.
"Whether at home or at the office, more people are demanding high-quality, uninterrupted mobile communications – which includes streaming content and high-bandwidth mobile applications for accessing content on the go," said Magnus Ojert, a Samsung vice president, in a press release.
Femtocells have traditionally been targeted at the residential market as a way for regular wireless customers to improve the cellular coverage inside their homes. Such devices typically plug into a wired Internet connection to create a bubble of cellular coverage in a home.
CommScope said last month that Sprint (NYSE: S) had committed to "an extensive deployment" of its S1000 femtocell, which supports both LTE and Wi-Fi. The move highlighted femtocells' expansion beyond the traditional residential market into the enterprise.
Carriers have pushed femtocells for years, marketing them as an effective way to expand coverage and boost signal strength. The consumer market has largely failed to live up to expectations, though, largely because customers have been unwilling to pay extra for a piece of hardware in addition to their monthly service fees.
Operators in some cases have offered femtocells at a discount – or even free – to retain subscribers. Whether Verizon can entice consumers and small businesses to pay an additional $250 to enhance their coverage is far from clear.
- read this press release
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