Space Ramblings

Sprint Nextel Helps Usher in the Death of the Landline

It’s such a small thing but so so devastating because it really marks the coming death of the landline phone.

Underdog mobile operator Sprint Nextel Corp. quietly rolled out an emerging technology on Monday to give customers a strong cellular signal and flat-rate calling at home.

In parts of Denver and Indianapolis, Sprint started selling a femtocell, a small cellular base station that provides service specifically to a customer’s home. The Sprint Airave, made by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., costs US$49.99 and is designed for people to install in their own homes by plugging it into a broadband Internet connection. Then they can pay a flat monthly rate — $15 for an individual and $30 for a family — for unlimited local and nationwide long-distance calls while at home.

The Airave works with any Sprint handset, and when the subscriber leaves home, a call will automatically shift over to the outside cellular network.

They might be designed to deal with bad cell signals at home but the reality is this allows customers to use a cell phone at home without having to rely on a handset by using a wireless internet connection. Combine this with Google’s Open Access ambitions and companies determined to open up cell phones and sooner or later you wind up with easy to use products that allow you to tap into a wireless connection using your router and disposing of the landline phone entirely. After all why drag around your bulky landline phone or it wireless handset. Most people are used to being connected through their cell phones anyway.

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