Telecom Timeout

Jan 21 2009   10:04PM GMT

Reports: Verizon Wireless launching femtocells later this month

WPeterson William Peterson Profile: WPeterson

Reports have begun surfacing that Verizon will launch a femtocell service later this month, with units retailing for roughly between $200 and $250.

As Engadget reports:

The little black box will puke out a cloud of CDMA covering up to 5,000 square feet of domicile with support for up to three simultaneous calls — enough for you, the hubby / missus, and little Joey / Susie to all be yapping away at the same time. Like Sprint’s solution, the Wireless Network Extender uses GPS to verify that you’re not creating little tiny Verizon networks in Laos, Kenya, or Uruguay and plugs into the internet source of your choice via Ethernet.

But Ars Technica reports that Gizmodo, Engadget, and others may have misunderstood the GPS unit’s purpose:

Gizmodo and its commenters appear to have mistaken the purpose of including a GPS in both this model coming out from Verizon and Sprint’s Airave. The CDMA network protocol that both cellular carriers use requires a GPS signal for each base station as part of network timing.

It’s unclear how critical GPS reception is to the femtocell, given that a poor cellular signal and poor GPS reception would seem to go hand in hand. But the included 23-foot “external GPS antenna and antenna cable” might provide some clue.

Either way, not a whole lot of details were forthcoming about the plan, but Verizon is playing catchup with Sprint, whose own femtocell project was launched last year.

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