A bit off topic, but worth mentioning nonetheless; Sprint has started shipping its Airave signal booster across the US, delivering on its promises to help users that have little to non-existent cell coverage in their homes.
The Airave, about the size of a Wi-Fi router, creates a small cell network within a space such as a home and provides greatly improved indoor cellular network coverage. It connects to the Sprint network via users’ broadband Internet connection, and will give a user full Sprint connectivity even if there’s no coverage in the area what so ever.
By connecting to Sprint’s services by way of a broadband connection, it’s essentially creating a VOIP-based LAN line in your home similar to T-Mobile’s @Home. Users connect their cell numbers to their Airave, and calls are transfered back and forth depending on where you’re at. If you place a call at home and then venture outside, the call will automatically be transfered to Sprint’s traditional cell network, and vice versa.
It will cost you $99, which is $50 more than promised when it was introduced in Denver and Indy last year. You’ll also have to pay $4.99 per month for extending your coverage but still using your plan minutes, $10 per month if you’re looking to make unlimited calls (through the Airave) with a single Sprint phone or $20 per month for unlimited calling for multiple lines.
Another interesting note is the fact that the Airave includes a GPS chip for Sprint to make sure you’re not overseas before using it. It makes sure you’re in the US before it will even connect your calls, so your thoughts of taking it to Europe and enjoying free VOIP calls from your US Sprint number wont happen.