AT&T coughing up free MicroCells to MVCs?

Looks like some of AT&T's "most valuable customers" are receiving a letter offering them a free MicroCell. The box, which sits in your home or office and re-routes your cell phone -- including iPhone -- over your broadband network can often work miracles in low signal areas... for a price.

What's less clear than the reception boost, however, is just who's being offered the feebie.

Though his calls do frequently drop at home, Jason says he wasn't terribly vocal about the issue and only pays around $180 per month for his family plan -- the only thing that might possibly qualify him, in his opinion, is that his contract was set to expire.

Leanna paid for a MicroCell recently, and while it does seem to power through even the iPhone 4 antenna issues, she's not happy she was excluded from the MVC list. AT&T, expect a call from a tiny, agro blogger any time now...

Anyone else get offered a free MicroCell? Anyone else contacting AT&T about it?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

AT&T coughing up free MicroCells to MVCs?


Looking forward to Checking my mail. I live in a marginal (very rural) area. I've been vocal with ATT and I sell cellular boosters. Wonder if I'll be a MVC? I wobbler if they'll offer any discount on the monthly fees long with the free box?

There's no monthly fee for the MicroCell. They may try to sign you up with one, but that's probably for unlimited MicroCell calls. I've removed that feature right online after customer service read a blurb stating something to the effect that a package associated with the MicroCell need not be selected in order for the MicroCell to function.

Why would you want one of these? only if you have poor cell reception in your home? otherwise, ATT SHOULD comp these, You are essentially using YOUR broad band to offload ATT cell traffic... make sure your broad band provider doesn't throttle your bandwidth if you get one of these.. seems to me, ATT should pay someone to put this in their location. Like sending power back up into the utility system, for those who use, wind or solar power...

I didn't not get a letter in the mail but after reading the article on the web yesterday I called AT&T and started complaining about low to no bars and drop calls. After benign transferred three times I finally spoke to
someone that had a clue. So here's the deal, CS does not have the authority to give Micro Cells for free. The only place to get them is at a retail store. So the CS contacted my local AT&T store (corporate only) and spoke to there manager and got it done. But the problem is that they are out of stock until Wdenesday, I guess they have been giving a lot away for free.

I recently purchased an iPhone for for my mom. She lives in the Bay Area. She had a horrible experience with dropped calls in the town she lives in. She couldn't use the phone in her home.
We took the phone back after she went back to Verizon and thats where they offered us a free MicroCell. I said if it portable and can also work in her car we might consider it. But of course it didn't. The bottom line is that in their fine print they don't guarantee any service anywhere and that might be true for all carriers. So the next time I write my check to pay the bill, cause I'm on AT&T, I'll say 'Funds maybe available' Also they charged me a 10% restocking fee for returning the iphone, a phone which they sold me that didn't even work! Way to go AT&T! I'll be filing a BBB claim with you.
And the BBB does work!!!

This would help me at home for sure but my problem is wherever I go I have reception problems. I love the iPhone and no I'm not an Apple fanboy but I need a portable microcell that boosts my signal wherever I go. AT&T is simply not up for the challenge. A microcell is not the answer, other iPhone carriers would be the fix for those like me.

I tried calling AT&T about this as I've complained for years about the poor quality. The CSR checked with her supervisor and said NO CAN DO. Not happy....

I received a offer in the mail for $49. The letter looks exactly the same except that mine says $49 instead of free. I don't need it because I get great coverage at home.

I was offered a free microcell for my son's dorm room at ASU in March to help with horrible service, but after the initial few contacts from ATT and lots of promises, we never saw it, and I'm guessing we never will. I'm sure I was offered it because I was so noisy on social media. Now I'm upgrading to 4G, and it would be nice to have, but I'm not counting on anything.

i have wonderful reception at home. which is weird,cuz i live in the boonies in nw ark. but does this work on other cell networks? my g friend uses verizon and she gets crappy service out here....its funny....i have a map for that.

@ lovepenguin. It's not AT&T that has the restocking fee it's apple. And you should of known in the beginning when you signed up for the contract that when returning an iPhone you must pay a restocking fee. I believe most smartphones are this way? Either way get over it you should of known when you bought the phone.

I got my letter and picked up my MicroCell this weekend. Not sure why I got it, I pay about $180/mo too. I have spotty coverage at home, but never really made a big deal because I just use my landline at home. Now I've got full coverage in my three story townhome (surrounded by tall trees) and can likely drop the landline!

I was offered one but I really have no need for it. I would need to buy a hub/router since im out of port still gonna cost me. Anyways I have good service at home.

Got my letter today!! Heard multiple reasons why the biggest was tenure with AT&T. I've been a AT&T customer since 96 it's only been the last 3 that I have lived in a low coverage area. I hope this helps!!

You can call a corporate store to find out if you have an offer for a discounted microcell or free one I called and they got me down for a 49.99 one

What the hell. I have a family plan with 4 iPhones and 2 of them are eligible for upgrade. A microcell sure would be nice in my home since I live in an area that only gets EDGE.

I suspect that its the loyalty that does it. Got the free one after being an AT&T customer from the beginning. It is clever, as they are losing loads to Verizon in my area.

Got my letter! Can't wait to go pick it up after work today! Thank God for poor reception in Iowa.

I have been going around and around with ATT since October 2009 about lack of service with IPhone even though my worn out Treo 680 still gets good transmission and reception. Because my Treo is on its last leg (at least 6 years old) I have now been through 5 IPhones since Oct 2009. I have not been offered the micro cell even when I asked for it. The salesmen and salesladies say it won't work but will sell me one for $150 just so my iPhone will work at all where my Treo works fine with the "same service". What can I do besides go to verizon who has. The Crackberry that has to be dialed with fingernails? I have none because am a mechanic. The IPhone "device" is far superior to the others except for one thing. It is really the "I didn't know I was supposed to be a phone, too."

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