Questions about the new T-Mobile CellSpot

    I just signed up with T-Mobile last week, and found that I can't get a good signal at my house.


    Does anybody know what makes the new T-Mobile CellSpot different from a standard 802.11ac WiFi router? Does it have a SIM card to register it on the T-Mobile network?


    I have a BYOD Android device (OnePlus One) that supports WiFi calling, but it is not T-Mobile WiFi's flavor of WiFi internet calling. It is an integrated SIP-style WiFi calling function of my phone.


    Or, will T-Mobile be creating an Android application that I can use with my phone.


    I really would like to stay with T-Mobile, but I need to get a usable signal at my home. I'm looking for something that would work ...

      All replies

      • smplyunprdctble

        Re: Questions about the new T-Mobile CellSpot

        So, you're asking about something that was announced like three hours ago.

          -- that suggests it's just a regular router and you'll need to have a phone with WiFi Calling capabilities.  and, by WiFi Calling, they mean T-Mobile's.


        If it really is a router that connects via WiFi, I wonder what makes this better than just a regular wireless router.

          • This may have been announced only a few hours ago, but many people including myself want/need this.   This isn't the built-in wifi calling that is available on many phones, but a picocell to add traditional cellphone coverage.  WiFi calling isn't available for the iPhone for instance so having this provides coverage and I want it.


            So, exactly how can we get it?

              • smplyunprdctble

                Re: Questions about the new T-Mobile CellSpot

                See -- the link above -- it has mixed information -- there's question whether it's a picocell or whether it's a wifi adapter.  T-Mobile is saying it's WiFi according to the tmonews link above:

                Update #2 – From T-Mobile’s facebook page (as shared below in the comments): “I am very sorry but the phone will need to have WiFi calling capabilities to use this service and the phone has to have the ability to connect to a WiFi network to utilize WiFi calling.”

                Wi-Fi CellSpot™ Router setup even says "Wifi calling"

                • smplyunprdctble "So, you're asking about something that was announced like three hours ago."


                  You bet! I want answers NOW, dammit!


                  Unfortunately, this is crucial as to whether I stay with T-Mobile for another few weeks, or leave in the next few days. I already called Customer Support for a signal booster, but they aren't available anymore. (Gee ... I wonder why? )


                  I am hoping that someone knows definitively if the CellSpot is just a regular 802.11ac router, or something better. The fact that TMob is requiring at least one phone in the household that supports (their) WiFi UMA calling is troubling.


                  If the CellSpot is actually a femptocell device, that would be awesome, though!


                  mcgett "So, exactly how can we get it?"


                  My understanding is that they are rolling out on September 17th - One week from today.

                    • smplyunprdctble

                      Re: Questions about the new T-Mobile CellSpot

                      I'm going to first agree with the whole cell vs wifi thing.  In order for it to be useful for most people, it needs to be a cell tower, not wifi.  Otherwise, why not use your regular wireless router?  (Except for the fact most people don't have 5gHz routers, which is what this appears to have for WiFi calling)


                      The same date, T-Mobile is offering a special JUMP window to upgrade to a device with WiFi calling.  They're advertising that all smartphones sold will have WiFi calling capabilities (which makes me wonder about the Nexus 5 because it's Google owned... then again, they DID just change all the Nexus 5 documents for a specific Nexus 5 model, so maybe there's something that's still being super secret to us).  With all devices having WiFi calling capabilities, that should virtually make whether or not it's WiFi or cellular a moot point (except the handoff issue)


                      I'm looking forward to more information on it.  I almost wonder if I can get one to put in the office at work to boost my signal (I get 0-1 bars at work).  If it's something that doesn't have to connect to a network to work (I'm not hooking anything up to work's network), it would be awesome.  If it's a WiFi device, I'm like "why bother".


                      I'm also curious as to the distribution channels for it -- is it only through Customer Care, is it through physical location?


                      I'm sure in the next couple of days there will be more information on tmonews.  I'm hoping T-Force will be in here at some point to give us some real answers.

                  • czarembo

                    If one has a wifi capable smartphone this is a much better deal for T-Mobile and for the customer.  It gives T-Mobile some breathing room while they upgrade their 2g towers over the next year.  The T-Mobile router gives priority to the wi-fi T-Mobile phones and they throw in the latest standard of 802.11 namely 802.11ac, which provides the customer with a more powerful directional signal.  The base station locates the 802.11ac device and both aim their signal at the other, providing more bandwidth.  So if your new computer has 802.11a1 it gets a speed and bandwidth bump thrown in.  Pretty much a win-win for the company and the customer.

                  • smplyunprdctble

                    Re: Questions about the new T-Mobile CellSpot

                    So, I've learned a couple things since overnight.


                    There's two different CellSpot devices. 

                    One is a router that is WiFi only and is most likely configured to give priority to WiFi Calling.  That would be the only reason I can think of that it would be offered over your ordinary DLink, Netgear, TrendNet, or whoever router.  I'd guess it'd be similar to the way @Home routers prioritized their calls in the past, or even the Sunrocket Gizmo back when.  Geeky people could probably configure their ordinary routers to do the same.  It doesn't appear to be the UMA technology that the Blackberry devices had that would transition smoothly from Cell to WiFi (since it's just using the WiFi Calling on the phone).


                    The other is a 4G Signal Booster.  This is similar to the existing Signal Booster out there.  This does produce a 4G signal, but requires a 4G input signal (one of those things you need at least one bar of service to get).  Since it's a signal booster, as long as you don't drop to a location without a signal, you should be good.  This is probably the preferred option for BYOD devices that can get a 4G (or 3G or HSPA+) signal.  It doesn't say anything about the 2G signal, so I don't know if it will boost the signal for dumbphones (they're generally on the 2G spectrum)



                    My guess is the router is the best option for someone who lives outside T-Mobile coverage and has a phone with WiFi Calling.  Sure, you could roam if you live in an area with a roaming agreement (although, I'd question why you had T-Mobile if they weren't in your area.. I mean, you get so little data!), but T-Mobile has this rule about excessive roaming.  I'm guessing this can help keep you out of that excessive roaming situation.


                    And, I'd guess the 4G Signal Booster is what they'd offer for folks who live in an area that is the edge of signal and don't have WiFi Calling.  Or, live in a place that the building kills their signal (these people are generally stuck to the windows like olden days).  There's no official word as to whether this has been opened up to apartments and workplaces (the older devices are not eligible unless it's for a single-family detached home for whatever reason).  I know apartments and workplaces are a large need for these devices (no matter how much I insist one doesn't NEED 4G at work since they shouldn't be playing on their phone and a 2G cell signal should be enough, I also get irked that my 4G goes in and out on my device at work and I'm too lazy to remember to turn my phone to 2G only).



                    There's still no word on how to get one of these things.  I'm guessing you can get one or the other.  It will be interesting to know if you can get multiple (there's people on a family plan with kids off to college where one of these devices would be useful at school and another useful at home)



                    Either way, I'm excited about these announcements.  Although, I'm still curious about the comment they made about all smartphones will support WiFi Calling...  that whole Nexus situation... I guess we'll find more next week about that.

                      • I'm excited, too.


                        I really like the direction T-Mobile is going - We may never see cheap wireless plans again in the US (compared to the rest of the world), but T-Mobile is trying to add value and better meet the customer's needs. I would really like to support them.


                        I just hope that we can stay with T-Mobile. If the newer 4G Signal Booster becomes available quickly, we may have a chance.

                      • Really disappointed in this. They gave a huge impression that this would boost cellular signal, not just be an optimized router for VoIP. And the whole WiFi calling is moot now that Hangouts allows free calls which is great for my Moto G.


                        Neither of these were carrier pain points for me either especially with the solution to buy a new phone. Release an app for phones not sold through T-Mobile.


                        But I will be taking advantage of getting this router its a great piece of hardware for just $25 now. My home WiFi sucks so this will help a lot but will have no impact on my T-Mobile experience.

                        • After Doingg Some Research The Router Is Compared To A High End Asus Router  So It Is Good And Also Since It Is  Non Tmobile Wifi Phone One The Other Thing Mention Was The Reception Extender Where You Have Good Singal In Ylur House

                          • tmo_phillip

                            Re: Questions about the new T-Mobile CellSpot

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