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AT&T is set to expand its free 3G MicroCell offer nationwide to the top 7.5 percent of customers likely to receive poor service at home or in small offices, Engadget has learned.
The offer could potentially be targeted at iPhone users in a bid to keep them from jumping over to Verizon.
The carrier wasn’t specific about which areas of the country are likely to receive poor service, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of the free MicroCells went out to customers in metropolitan areas like New York and San Francisco, where AT&T’s service has been notoriously terrible for iPhone users.
Of course, there’s a bit of a catch. You’ll have to verbally agree to continue using AT&T’s service for another 12 months. If for some reason you cancel your AT&T service, you’ll have to return the MicroCell to the store you got it from, or pay a $199.99 fee (with $16.67 taken off for every month you’ve had it).
While it sounds like AT&T may finally be wising up and listening to customer complaints, the free MicroCell offer may be too little too late for subscribers who’ve already decided to jump ship — be it for the Verizon iPhone, or a slick new Android phone. It also seems strange that it’s raising the price of the MicroCell from $149 to $199 — meaning customers who aren’t selected for a free MicroCell will have to pay even more to fix AT&T’s service deficiencies.