I got the letter from AT&T last week telling me that I was eligible for a free Microcell. So I read the fine print, went on line, called a couple of different reps and low and behold, it really is free. There were two catches, I had to agree to return the box if I decided to stop using it in less than twelve months from time of receipt (very reasonable) and I would be using minutes on my plan for calls that went through the M-cell. I called about this as well and it was explained that because I have the unlimited mobile to any mobile plan and A-List I only use minutes for calls to land lines not on my A-List. It turns out that if you buy the M-Cell yourself and you are not in my situation you don't have to pay extra for the unlimited plan, unless you really don't want to use any of your mobile minutes. Its your cell phone, you use plan minutes when you call.
Anyway, I went to the local AT&T store (And boy aren't they kissing butts now that they have finally realized that they have to really compete with Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile on more than brand name) and picked up my M-Cell. Simple process, they activated it for me in the store, set up the numbers that were authorized, showed me how to add numbers if I wanted to and I was on my way.
I went home, read the quick start pamphlet and hooked it up to my good old Linksys router in just a few minutes. There is supposed to be a 90 minute window while the hardware and network establish a link and get down to business. However, I was up and running in about 15 - 20 minutes. For the first time since I moved into my house I got 5 full bars continuously. I received a call and I would have thought I was on my land line the call was so clear and loud.
Sorry that you had a bad experience with your gear but I seem to have had the exact opposite experience.