West Hill House B&B

In Praise of iPhone – and AT&T’s Microcell

February 24th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

So yes, we know West Hill House is close to last in the world to buy a smartphone, but now that we have an iPhone we do need to talk about it!



As followers of this blog know I (Peter) am a Mac consultant and I have been following the iPhone with interest ever since its first incarnation. So I thought I knew all about it. But let me share that having one is quite different from just knowing about one. The elegance and richness of the user interface has to be used to be fully appreciated.

And the apps! Facebook is a totally different – and better – experience than on a computer. Email becomes so easy. Another app that has totally impressed me is Google News – a beautifully formatted news headline service that can be customized in terms of content like the more familiar my.yahoo service. And I also found a great Alarm Clock app that has completely replaced my clock radio. I could go on.

AT&T Microcell

AT&T Microcell

What the rest of the world may not have as much knowledge or experience of is the AT&T Microcell introduced last April. This is a box about the size of an external hard drive that plugs into your LAN and gives you your own cell-site in your house. So now you have close to perfect coverage in your home. You need to buy the box, but there is no monthly fee to have one. You configure it to allow up to 10 phones you designate to use it (yours and those of family members for example), and each phone uses the minutes from its own account plan when you make the calls. But wait, there’s more!

The REALLY neat thing about the Microcell is the optional monthly package that lets you make UNLIMITED calls from your own cell-site (and from anyone else’s Microcell that you are registered on). Suddenly you can use your iPhone (or any other 3G phone in fact) as your home phone without worrying about the minutes you are using. The monthly fee is less than a land-line phone, and LD is all included. Wow! And if you sign up for this monthly package when you buy the Microcell you get a huge rebate on the unit itself – I believe this is a time limited offer however. Amazing!

One thought on “In Praise of iPhone – and AT&T’s Microcell

  1. Dave Price

    Hey Peter — Thanks for letting me know about this device. I decided to buy one and yesterday I received a letter from AT&T Wireless offering me a FREE Microcell! All I had to do was take the letter to the local AT&T Wireless store. I thought there was a gotcha but the guy at the store said AT&T knows which iPhone customers have poor 3G reception in their homes and they don’t want to risk losing them to Verizon, so thus the free Microcell. Nice!

    Perhaps other AT&;T Wireless customers who have poor reception in their homes who have not received a letter can call customer service and complain and ask for a free Microcell.

    Thanks again for the tip,

    Dave Price
    Dunstable, MA

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