Personal Cell Tower
Many cell-phone owners don’t want to pay for landlines but are unhappy with spotty cell reception indoors. Enter the Airave, a wireless base station for the home, which transmits over normal cell-phone frequencies and offers about 5,000 square feet of coverage. The device plugs into a broadband modem and sends calls over the Internet, but recipients can use any wired or wireless phone network. Sprint has pilot programs in three U.S. cities and plans to launch the service nationally this year.
Product: Airave base station
Cost: $0 to $50 in pilot programs; unlimited calls are $15 a month for individuals, $30 a month for families (in addition to basic calling plan)
Companies: Sprint and Samsung