In just 2 years AT&T now has 350,000 Microcells on their network compared to 256,000 cell phone towers. Sprint has 250,000 femtocells on their network as well. Microcells are growing a lot faster than cell phone towers despite the poor reviews from customers. Many AT&T customers experience the Microcell dropping calls which is distributed by Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) & designed by IP Access. Microcells sell for $150-$200, however, many people are learning how to complain to AT&T and get a free Microcell.
It is also going to be interesting to see how the T-Mobile customers will be affected by the merger and the change in culture towards femtocells. T-Mobile does not believe in the femtocell concept and has stuck with WiFi calling which works great. T-Mobile has always maintained the position that they will have their customers use WiFi to make phone calls onto the network when cellular reception is non-existent.
AT&T has 256,000 traditional cell phone towers which AT&T claims to have and says is growing to 500,000 but I don't believe them. This would only happen if they would acquire T-Mobile and thus would be many overlapping sites. AT&T would likely divest many of these towers in the process. So why all the hype about 4G infrastructure when connectivity is getting fragmented onto WiFi? Why are carriers hyping 4G when G still stinks and that WiFi is not secure and therefore you should always connect through their network? The costs of a Microcell vs Cell Phone Tower makes you think that there could be other alternative forms of unlicensed communication in the future through WiFi for free.