CAUTION Rural Peeps, Cell Spot WILL eat ALL high speed data

  • 6 November 2020
  • 8 replies
  • 284 views

Badge

I live in a virtual dead zone.  1 bar of coverage and use Satellite for my high speed internet.  We worked with T-Mobile to get better coverage.  Ended up with a cell spot (which FYI plugs directly into your modem.)  I have a high speed data cap through my satellite provider.  We were in internet bliss for 3-4 days, worked great until everything ground to a screeching halt.  NO internet whatsoever through our phone data..what happened? WELL I will tell you what happened.  The cell spot used our high speed data supplied by our internet company until it was completely maxed.  After that- the cellspot was useless.

  Even after telling the rep about our situation- the data cap, Satellite and the works, the cell spot was recommended.  Well people- it USES your data despite what t-mobile will tell you.  PLEASE stop telling people it does not consume data supplied by your other device.  If something hooks into your modem- it is USING it. 


8 replies

Userlevel 4
Badge +5

I don’t know who told you that a CellSpot would be a good idea but they were badly misinformed. Yes, the LTE CellSpot uses your broadband data connection and if that connection is limited or metered, you can quite easily max out your quota. It would actually have been more efficient to use WiFi Calling but that also uses your broadband (satellite) quota.

How far are you from the nearest T-Mobile tower? Do you get service outside?

Badge

Yeah- I feel like an idiot because I’m not sure why it didn’t register with me either!  It was a T-Mobile rep that recommended it, I specifically asked about the data cap and was told it was going to be fine.  
  I’m not sure about the T-Mobile tower proximity- but we get max two bars of coverage outside of the house @ certain spots...when the wind is blowing juuuuust right.  We are prob going to have to switch providers- which sucks, we’ve been with T-Mobile for 12-15 years now.  But their rural coverage is just crap.  (We never had issues until moving to this small community) 

  We tried a booster- but I don’t think our dpi signal is strong enough...we are at a -119-115 in the house.  Not really sure what to do besides save some money and switch providers (and likely get the same crappy service...but at least we will save some money) 

Userlevel 4
Badge +5

Right. T-Mobile has been making strides in their rural coverage but they still have a ways to go to catch AT&T or Verizon. In general, I’d say it’s not the best choice for anyone who has to rely on satellite for Internet. I’m asking myself how someone could have told you that the LTE CellSpot wouldn’t use your broadband data. All I can suggest is that  they were confused because T-Mobile has a high-speed deprioritization limit and they might have thought that was what you were asking about.

You can look on CellMapper.net to get a better idea of where the nearest tower is located and what bands it has.

Some questions about switching carriers: 1) what phones do you currently use? 2) are they paid off and unlocked? 3) What carriers do your neighbors use?

Badge

Yeah, I’m not sure how it got to that point! We will prob need to go with Verizon, we were able to get a jet pack from them and it works like crazy - three kids doing school work all day long without a problem. 
  I am looking into getting an external cell antenna to boost my dbi.  Is there anything that doesn’t hook into my satellite modem?  I think if I can boost the extremely weak signal inside the house enough the booster that we have from T-Mobile might be able to pick it up.  
  I would have to install it myself- so I don’t think anything that I have to drill a hole into my roof would be a good choice.  I saw some cheap, magnetic ones that might do the trick for the time being.  But I’m not sure how installing one translates into increased cell signal.  What does it hook into?  It can’t hook into my modem or else I fear we will be in the same situation as the hotspot.

  I think since I have been at this for a couple months I know the basics of the antenna thing- but I am missing a big piece...what does it hook into?  Or does it just magically funnel signal into your home? 
  We have Samsung galaxy phones and newish iPhones, XR & 11- all paid off.  

Userlevel 4
Badge +5

There are boosters but my experience installing them myself has not been positive. It’s technical enough that it takes a bit of experience, perhaps expertise. T-Mobile used to provide a signal booster that was about as simple as anything available. You set one box in a window where you had good reception and the second box went in the center of the house. If all the lights went green, you were good. I don’t think they provide these any more. .

Userlevel 2
Badge +4

T-Mobile CS has been good about sending out these ‘Mini Tower’ devices, but short on knowledge about them.  Eg.  T-Mobile is sending me one that they claim will connect to T-Mobile over satellite.  Of course, they don’t claim that I have to provide the satellite modem / link, or know anything about it.  It’ll be interesting once it arrives.

Userlevel 4
Badge +5

Someone’s been smoking something. T-Mobile has nothing that connects via satellite, except perhaps some of their more remote towers. They have, in the past, provided three types of user coverage devices:

  1. A WiFi router made by ASUS (TM-AC1900) for improved WiFi Calling. This is no longer provided but there are still some around.
  2. A signal booster that consists of two boxes. One goes in a window where you have a decent T-Mobile signal and the other goes in the center of the house. Box 1 picks up T-Mobile’s signal and relays it to box #2. This works only if you have a good signal at one spot in your house.
  3. The LTE CellSpot, which you previously used and which ate up all your satellite data.

Some of these have GPS receivers build in but that’s only to assure that they are using the appropriate cellular frequencies for the area and aren’t being used outside of T-Mobile’s licensed area.

Userlevel 2
Badge +4

Yeah..  I’ve had the 2 box system in the past… it wasn’t needed where I was, and wouldn’t work where I needed it (i.e. ‘No Service’ outdoors was .. and still is the problem).

I suspect they’re sending a cellspot.  Won’t help much, as there’s no service outdoors in Park Hill, Happy Hill and West Village.  Pretty much need either a clear LOS to San Simeon, Hearst Castle (B66 only) or 2150 Main St. Cambria (roof top B66 site).

The map is fairly accurate here.

 

Reply