If AT&T gets a bad rap for having poor signal quality in any city, it’s San Francisco. Part of this is due to the sudden influx of iPhones in the Silicon Valley that began in 2007, putting an almighty strain on the network; of the roughly 800,000 or so people living in San Francisco, we’re estimating that around 10 million of them (or 1,150%) are carrying iPhones. Throw in ridiculous topography and monstrous buildings, and it starts to get tough to properly blanket the entire area in radio waves.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that San Francisco is one of the first cities to be getting AT&T’s cell-tower-in-a-box, the 3G MicroCell. AT&T just hit us up to let us know that we should start seeing the little router-sized, broadband-powered signal boosters on the shelves in their San Francisco stores beginning today.
If you’re in a dead zone or if the ridiculously sized buildings around your home are causing your calls to fail on the regular, you might want to consider picking one of these up. It’ll set you back $150 bucks up front, but there’s no monthly fee — that is, unless you want unlimited minutes whenever you’re connected to your MicroCell. That’ll set you back $20 bucks a month.
We just got our hands on one of these things this evening, and we’ll be heading up to the city later this week to give it a spin. Check back for a hands on report some time this week.