Verizon Wireless is updating its Network Extender femtocell, adding 3G EV-DO connectivity to a platform that previously only offered 1X voice. Apart from the new device, also from Samsung, VZW isn’t changing up the service much. It allows customers to make and receive calls and use their data services just as they would on macro-network. The traffic just goes through their home broadband connection rather than a cell site.
Whether adding data to the femtocell at this point will make that big a difference depends on whom you ask.
Verizon’s growing portfolio of smartphones almost all have embedded Wi-Fi, which most homes with DSL, cable modem or fiber connection likely have. Maybe the impact won’t be felt among Droid users but VZW still has millions of feature phone users on its network, and most of those devices don’t have Wi-Fi. Feature phone users seem to have gotten lost in the smartphone mayhem.
Recently VZW has started paying more attention to this large and still important segment, overhauling its BREW store.