What Should Sprint Customer With No Service Do? Ask For An Airave Femtocell

A femtocell sounds like it should be the name of the battery that powers a Fembot, but it is not. To grossly oversimplify, it’s a type of tiny cell phone tower that harnesses your broadband Internet connection and serves only your house. Our readers tell us that it might be reader Jay’s last hope to be able to talk on the phone in his own home.

We visited with Jay yesterday, as you may recall. He was worn down and frustrated after months of not being able to use his Sprint phone at home because the signal has suddenly and mysteriously gone out. Perhaps they’re upgrading the networks. Perhaps a tower has gone down. Sprint assures him that they’re on it and will fix the problem any minute now…and then they don’t.

We asked for advice from readers who have been in the same boat, and readers delivered. Their solution: ask Sprint for one of their femtocells, which is called an Airave. Reader Alex explains:

Sprint charges folks who just want an Airave for “better” service (3 bars ain’t enough?) but will comp the device to those who have faulty service access. We weren’t charged a dime for ours even though we had only been Sprint customers for 1 year prior to moving.

…[N]o one at Sprint actually offered us this option, though – I’m tech-minded and had heard of the devices previously. The CSR I spoke with about our poor service had no suggestions until I asked about the Airave – he put me through to a different department who got me set up and had the device overnighted to me.

Pass the word onto Jay! Hopefully this is something he can qualify for in his area. My dad has a major medical disability so the month we lived without cell service was terrifying – I feel his pain.

From Sprint’s point of view, this makes sense: it’s easier for them to send a gadget than to lose longtime customers forever over what may be a short-term service disruption while they upgrade the network. Or whatever. A half-dozen other readers wrote in to agree and share their Airave stories, and the common thread was this: you have to ask for it. If you don’t know to ask for the device, you’re unlikely to get one.