CellSpot brings a T-Mobile tower into your home

T-Mobile CEO John Legere
T-Mobile CEO John Legere (Image credit: Android Central)

T-Mobile today announced the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot. The announcement came at T-Mobile's Un-carrier 7 event in San Francisco. The theme of the event was Wifi and this new accessory from T-Mobile will put a "cell tower" directly into your living room.

The T-Mobile Personal CellSpot will be available to customers with just a $25 deposit. Those who are prepaid customers can instead grab the CellSpot for just $99 without a deposit. There will be no additional cost, nor hassle. Users simple just need to plug it in and use it. The CellSpot will act as a T-Mobile tower in your house, improving coverage thanks to Wifi tech.

Only you will be able to use the CellSpot for calls and texts, so rest assured it won't be opened up for every T-Mobile customer that happens to be nearby. It's worth noting that it also works as a regular router for all Wifi-enabled devices in your home.

Anyone out there interesting in improving their T-Mobile coverage with the CellSpot?

Sam Sabri
  • Definitely interested. I walk 3 blocks in either direction of my house and get full LTE. In my house, I barely get hspa. Posted via Android Central App
  • Same here. Even with AT&T, reception in my house isn't good, though. I think my walls are made of depleted uranium or something.
  • I spoke with someone once when I worked at AT&T who wanted to know why reception was so bad in their home. It turns out that they had a METAL roof!
  • Makes sense to me. Saves you the trouble of having to wear your tinfoil hat when you're indoors.
  • Sprint has had the AirRave for years.. Posted via my $10 a month Unlimited talk & text FreedomPop Galaxy S III
  • Metal roofs are very common in areas with high potential for hail and high wind speeds (like where I live). It sucks for cell reception, but is a lifesaver when a storm comes through.
  • Sprint tried this same thing for years. IT'S CALLED AN AIRRAVE... !!! Posted via my $10 a month Unlimited talk & text FreedomPop Galaxy S III
  • http://www.cnet.com/products/sprint-airave/ Looks like it was much more expensive, much more difficult to set up, and there was a month fee. So yes, sprint did it before, very badly lol. Now let's see if T-Mobile can make it not suck.
  • Haha so true Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have the airave.. And it was free.. I never paid one cent monthly either. Not sure how that's bad...? Posted via Android Central App
  • Going by the info in the CNET review, called a local sprint store and was told the following You have to call and go through a qualification evaluation, which if you pass you may be given one for free, otherwise you may choose to buy it for listed price in the CNET review. Still a pretty big hastle vs the much better "walk into a store and give $25 deposit". Also from looking online I found this from back in 2011, unsure how it may have changed. https://community.sprint.com/baw/mobile/mobile-access.jspa#jive-discussi... So it can/could vary depending on what you wanted. Finally it seems the air rave only supports 3g (CDMA evdo at that, yuck), fortunately given that you'll use it at that home and will have WiFi that should be OK. T-Mobile seems to be offering something quite similar but with a much simplified process, I think that's definitely better than sprints current setup even in a beat care scenario, and much better in the worst case that you get rejected and have to buy it at the full price quoted in the review.
  • Also for what it's worth when I called I was almost told flatly that they do not deal with them directly and I would have to call a separate number to do the application process. Now, I don't know how the process is for T-Mobile (I need to head down to my local store and get one as my signal in house isn't so great, munches battery having such crappy signal), but if its as simple as just walking in and asking or one I'd say that gives them the edge there, too. I'll update the post when I go by there (Fortunately the rep who answered said she knew some basic info about it that she could tell me)
  • Check this out at http://cellphonesignalbooster.us/ I would recommend following 3 units depending on your usage weboost 471104 - would cover up to 10,000 sq.feet area
    weBoost 470103 - would cover up to 5000 sq.feet area
    weBoost 470101 - small room or desktop area
  • asus ac66 router or ac68 router?
  • Looking at the image of the T-Mobile branded unit on the Engadget story, and comparing to the images on Newegg: The 3 antenna unit, with the exact same lights/layout on the front = ASUS RT-AC68U Not too shabby! 600+1300Mbps
    USB 3.0 That's all supposing my stealthy research is correct (certainly not 100% sure at this point). I have 3-4 bars of coverage at my house (and good LTE data speeds). So, I have no need for it at all. But, that's a really nice upgrade in my WIFI router for only $99 (assuming my detective work is correct).
  • For $25.00??? i will try it
  • Refundable deposit!!!!
  • On another note, I wonder if others can use my cell tower at home and if it goes thru my router, can I monitor them? Posted via Android Central App
  • This was asked during the Q&A and they said NO, others cannot use the cell tower because it's your router and they would need your password to connect to it.
  • The way that the AT&T MicroCell (same type of device) works is that YOU have to authorize each phone the first time via a web site, and YOU can remove them at any time. Also, it is company specific (so the AT&T device only allowed AT&T phone to use it, so the T-Mobile device will probably work the same way).
  • I had the Microcell for about 2 weeks when it first came out. But it never worked that well. Do you still have one and is it any good? Coverage is still a bit spotty in my home due to mountains, etc.
  • I have an AT&T Microcell and after some initial issues with setup (and crazy port forwarding/IP Fragmentation requirements) it's been trouble free. I get a perfect signal in my home.
  • Nope, this is a Personal CellSpot for just you.
  • Wait.. don't they have wifi calling? why would anyone need this?
  • Yeah this makes me scratch my head also. If you are going to offer wifi calls and texts, why bother sending everyone a router to improve LTE? I guess this would help out the rare person who is paying for home broadband but refuses to buy a wifi router, but other than that what advantage does this give the consumer who already has wifi in his/her house? If you have wifi and free wifi calling and texts, why worry about LTE in your house?
  • Not every phone has wifi calling. My Nexus 5, for example, does not have the app available for it.
  • If you bring a phone that is not sold through T-Mobile then this would be key :) Like a BlackBerry Z30
  • Maybe if you don't have a wifi calling/texting capable device this option would be good. For example I have a family member who uses an AT&T branded iPhone 4.
  • How would a T Mobile tower help a AT&T phone? Posted via Android Central App
  • Well it has a t-mo sim card, but it isn't able to use wifi calling or texting. Some areas of my home have t-mo signal dead spots. So this could come in handy if don't upgrade that phone to new t-mo phone.
  • he's saying it's used on T-Mobile, I'm assuming. AT&T Galaxy S III
  • Unless the AT&T phone is Network unlocked...it won't.
  • Yes, definitely unlocked. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to use it.
  • I think it uses your home broadband to create a T-Mobile 3G signal for any T-Mobile customer.
  • it's not a femtocell
  • My bad - I thought they said in the Q & A that it created a 3G signal. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I thought this thing was a basic router that they messed with to make sure calls get priority. It's not a cell-fi or anything like that. It uses your internet, not their cell towers. It's marketing saying you have a cell tower in your home. It's just a basic router for what I understand.
  • Not all of their phones support wifi calling.
  • Not everyone has a wifi calling capable phone? I use an unlocked Moto X, so wifi calling isn't available for me.
  • Because my oneplus doesn't support their wifi calling. Posted via Android Central App
  • This is a game changer. YES, I know they already had WiFi calling but to use it you had to be using a T-Mobile branded phone so people like me with nexus phones or other unlocked phones were out of luck. Now I never have to see carrier bloat ever again! sign me up! Posted via the Android Central App
  • ^ Exactly! Hopefully they don't limit connectivity to this CellSpot to only T-Mobile branded phones with the Wifi Calling app.
  • This won't work with unlocked phones. I'm not 100% on that right now, but that's the way it is looking.
  • Looks like the just confirmed it: wifi calling not functional w unlocked phones.
  • Not functional with unlocked T-Mobile phones?
    My Note 3 is unlocked (I paid for it in full) and I use WiFi to make calls all the time!
  • I think they mean unbranded unlocked phones (like the Moto X or Nexus 5), not a T-Mobile branded phone that has since been unlocked.
  • Dieter Bohn just asked that, and yep it won't work on unlocked/nexus phones.
  • This device is a Wifi-to-3G converter. Meaning it is meant for phones who don't have wifi-calling and is on tmobile. If you have wifi-calling on your t-mobile device, why would you need this device? You can just use your home wifi-lan. It will help folks like me who have unlocked phones but are on t-mobile. Great way to go. Only caveat is that your neighbor will see more bars now ;-)
  • I don't think this is a femtocell. It's just a router with tweaked QOS
  • Nevermind, I asked on google+ and T-Mobile confirmed that it wont work on unbranded / unlocked phones like the nexus 4 or 5. On the bright side... there is a mobile handshake so if you start a call while in your house on the mini tower and leave the house the call will be handed to a tmo tower and wont be dropped. When I was on sprint, they gave me an airrave (basically the same thing tmo just announced) but the calls would drop when i left the house and would not hand-off to sprint cell towers.
  • it would be nice to take with you if you knew wherever you were going didn't have good coverage...but what does deposit mean???
  • It's a down payment type of thing. It's a refundable amount when something is met. Most of the time if you rent something they charge you a deposit and will refund you that money if you return the item in the same condition. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Here is a thought Take the money you are spending on these and improve the network to the point where you do not have to do this stuff. Okthanxbbye Posted via Android Central App
  • Exactly. Is this T-Mobile or Samsung with all the gimmicks?
  • They're investing in the network .. but in the mean time doing this as well. Nothing wrong with offering something for free while they work on the network. It can't happen overnight :).
  • Say that in a Sprint thread once... Posted via Android Central App
  • People are just sore with Sprint just like some are sore with the old T-Mobile. Both are going to take time to fix their networks to be like the big guys. Sprint does the same thing if you have bad enough coverage honestly so it isn't like T-Mobile is doing something SUPER crazy .. Except that it is a hotspot and an awesome router (I have the actual real router in my house and it is amazing). I still have a Sprint Airave in my house for my roommate -- I just have it through my Dad's account for free. They expect it back if he leaves though... which is understandable.
  • See below, I do agree Posted via Android Central App
  • Lmao....the old T-Mobile
  • Yeah they used to be way worse.. They've improved alot... It's a fact. No reason to be fanboy blind to facts. Just like Sprint has improved in many areas.. Just not all yet... Takes them all time to build out.
  • I honestly have not seen any improvement with T-Mo in 4 years. Sprint I have (really covered my area in the last 2). It is one of the things that piss me off about them. I just don't see the movement outside of John's mouth
  • I honestly have not seen any improvement with T-Mo in 4 years. With Sprint I have (really covered my area in the last 2). It is one of the things that piss me off about them. I just don't see the movement outside of John's mouth
  • Likewise for me with Sprint in my area though. Sure phones show LTE here but the highest speeds I see are 5-8 Mbps in my area.
  • That's just your area, which is not an accurate litmus test for the entire US Posted via the Android Central App
  • And? That's the same for people who say T-Mobile is horrible in their area... It doesn't represent everywhere. So thanks for agreeing with me :).
  • With Sprint WiFi calling can you send MMS?
  • @NoNexus, to be fair...EVERY cell carrier offers a device like this!
    Not ONE of them has "the best" coverage everywhere!
    If someone from ANY of them tells you otherwise, they are in sales mode and are pitching you.
    I was in an AT&T department that had the freedom to admit when we could not get service for a customer (Technical Support Commitment Team / Case Team), and that was fairly rare. But they ALL have weak signal areas!
  • Yep they do BUT T-Mobile is acting like it is some special perk and people, like this thread, are lapping it up like a needy puppy Posted via Android Central App
  • Then don't use them. Obviously you don't like them and from what it sounds like they don't have good service where you live. Not everyone lives there so it could be completely different for them. Posted via the Android Central App
  • So basically Tmobile version of an airrave.... Posted via Android Central App
  • No. They already had the Cel-Fi signal booster. This works like that, but is also a router. One that's better than most people have in their homes.
  • I NEED BETTER DATA SIGNAL. ...not voice Posted via Android Central App
  • If you already have wifi in your house why do you need better data speeds in your house? Posted via Android Central App
  • Ever try sending an MMS via Hangouts over WiFi? It doesn't work. That's why I would like better data at home. In an LTE market it takes me 5 seconds to send a picture. At home it often takes several attempts and several minutes since I only have Edge network. To be clear, I'm not sure this product would alleviate that specific issue. I'm just using it as one example that WiFi is not always the cure-all it's made out to be. Posted via Android Central App
  • I send MMS over Hangouts all the time. Works just fine.
  • I hope it does both Posted via Android Central App
  • Does it have to be a Broadband connection? I know... I know... The commercial said broadband. But would high speed satellite connection do the job? In my rural community there is no broadband.
  • Yes it should. A call doesn't use much bandwidth at all.
  • The problem would be latency. Satellite Internet has traditionally come with high latency.
  • So it is revolutionary that their building penetration is so poor that you need one of these? Microcells have been around forever from all 4 carriers and are often given out for free, I dont get it.
  • So turn my WiFi into some more WiFi?
  • Yo dawg, I heard you like Wi-Fi. So, we made a Wi-Fi device that uses your Wi-Fi so you can turn your LTE into some more Wi-Fi. Did i do it right?
  • Lol-- I thought the same thing Posted via Android Central App
  • When will the device be available? I barely have 1 signal bar at home with my Nexus 5...when I got outside my apartment then I have all 5 bars full.
    I don't think Wi-Fi calling is required to use this device...it probably connects to the wifi in everyone's apartment and get the signal boosting there.
  • September 17th. You need a phone that supports wifi calling to get it for $25 or $99 if you don't.
  • It's not going to work (traditional voice calls) on the Nexus 5. The nexus phones do not have T-Mobile's proprietary WIFI calling feature coded. But you could use the new hangouts voice-calling feature that came out a couple days ago (hint hint hint). Then you can make voice calls via WIFI. You need to be a post-paid customer to get the router for free (the $25 is just a deposit, not a price). If you are a pre-paid customer, you can purchase the router for $99. I am trying to figure out exactly what model Asus router that they are offering. If it is Asus' top of the line model, $99 dollars is a seriously good bargain, whether or not you use T-Mobile's proprietary WIFI calling feature. And since it doesn't matter because you can use Hangouts to make phone calls over WIFI anyway... it might be worth it to pick a good deal on nice router (still trying to find which model it is).
  • ok so If I get terrible service this will help boost the terrible service or enhance it in some way? would I need to connect it to wifi?
  • Hi StayFly-this is your wifi. This unit is wifi router that connects to your modem/internet source.
  • I don't want to use my home wifi. ... I need more DATA t mobile signal... THIS IS NO GOOD FOR ME... Posted via Android Central App
  • I already have their Cel-Fi tower. What's the difference? Posted via Android Central App
  • Makes no sense to me, you need wifi to run the tower. If you already have wifi in your house why do you need better cell service. And yes I have seen not all phones have wifi calling. But come on how many people really have stuck bad service that you can't make a phone call in your own house? I think this would be for faster data not phone calls. So once again if you have wifi you don't need faster data. If you do have T Mobile and it's so bad in your house you can't make a phone call then you don't need a home cell tower you need a new provider. Posted via Android Central App
  • It's a better router than most people have. Normally sells for over $200. Why not get it?
  • I have replaced my router 2x in a year. Both times nearly $100 I'll gladly take any extras people don't want :P
  • "T-Mobile is planning an LTE signal booster and an ASUS Cellspot router" Pics... http://www.pocketables.com/2014/09/t-mobile-planning-lte-signal-booster-... Posted via Android Central App
  • Must get this! Awesomeness! njo¡! acApp
  • I'm confused. Does this extend the signal from an outside tower into homes that get poor building penetration or does it just use wifi in your home? If it needs a wifi connection then what's the purpose?
    My grandparents house gets good service outside but no service what so ever inside. They do not have Internet access. Will this help them? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Never mind. I see that you have to have Internet. So this is worthless unless you have an unlocked phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Internet access is necessary for this to connect to. This is just a wifi router with extra T Mobile firmware to prioritize for calls. It still needs cable modem or other modem to connect to it.
  • I wouldn't walk one block to get T-Mobile. I don't like Legere, and i don't like the way he does business.
  • Yeah...shaking up the industry. What it is he thinking? Such a douche.
  • You're absolutely right. He is a douche!!!
  • Do you mind sharing exactly what it is about the way he does business that you don't like?
  • 1- His "on stage" antics.
    2-His language.
    3-His "go for the jugular" way of making a point.
    This man looks and acts more like motivational speaker, than a corporate executive.
    These opinions are strictly my own, but i've seen him in person, and that's the way he comes across to me. Nobody's asking you to agree with me.
  • Yeah, he does come across as snake oil salesman. He does have business degrees and I am sure the guy is smart. He does come off as smartass and he probably thinks that what people want to see. He was at ATT for 20 years and worked under Hesse ex Sprint CEO when Hesse was at ATT. Hard to trust any of these guys.
  • I wouldn't buy a used car from him. HaHaHa
  • It isn't so much about what he is doing but how. I don't care because I only get the good side, but other could be put off by his antics Posted via Android Central App
  • He's an unprofessional jerk.
  • No, he is just realistic.
  • Not really
  • You're allowed to share your opinion... I personally like a CEO that can just be real :). Posted via my T-Mobile Note 3 using the AC App.
  • PT Barnum was a real person as well, but he was also a master showman. John L kinda gives me the same feeling....he comes across as phoney and just throwing a show.
  • PT Barnum was a real person as well, but he was also a master showman. John L kinda gives me the same feeling....he comes across as phoney and just throwing a show.
  • AT&T calls their device a MicroCell, and yes they are just customized Routers (they talk to the cell network via your internet connection and generate a signal for your phone to pick up inside your home or business).
  • Thankfully I don't have a signal issue in my apartment Posted via...The One
  • It's still a really good router especially for free. http://www.amazon.com/RT-AC68U-Wireless-AC1900-Dual-Band-Gigabit-Router/... $199.26 on Amazon.
  • I wonder if this is TMo's version of the AT&T Micro-cell. I've had one for years in my place since for some weird reason I only get 1 or 2 bars with a tower barely a mile away.. But this is voice only I believe.
  • Does it count against your data plan or is it separate? Posted via Android Central App
  • Separate uses your home internet connection. At 23 kbps for voice calls.
  • So @Sam Sabri there is quite a bit of confusion here about whether or not this works for unlocked phones or not. Some are saying that is what it is for. Others are saying, "It is confirmed not to work with unlocked phones." Can you address this?
  • Funny, all of a sudden T-Mobile has sub par speeds. Thought they were the best ever. People coming out of the woodwork with slow data speeds. Posted via Android Central App
  • 50 Mbps here.. Not complaining :). Posted via my T-Mobile Note 3 using the AC App.
  • I wonder how this differs from the booster they offer or offered. I have it, but it doesn't work too well with the LTE phones. It worked great with the 3G phones though...
  • What about for data? Posted via Android Central App
  • Lol, you use Wifi for data.
  • Why would you need a cellspot in your home when T-Mobile offers WiFi calling? And guess what? It's FREE!
  • If you complain enough on the phone, T-mobile will give you a unit similar to this for free. We got one in my house a few months ago only two weeks after calling about poor signal quality. From what I've hear around, most carriers do this is your signal is verifiably bad.
  • Since I have a Nexus 5 with no Wi-Fi calling, I might try this to see if my signal really gets stronger in my apartment. I also have a Google Voice number so I can use it to make and receive Wi-Fi calls with the the new Hangouts app.
  • that's interesting. I get pretty good reception at home but $25 isn't bad to ensure you are 100% in every corner.
  • If you actually have a good network, you don't need to do this. Posted via my Mate 2 :)
  • Tell AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon that as well. ALL of them have signal boosters... My co-worker on AT&T just got a new house and has to use an AT&T MicroCell at home or he has no service... Just saying :).
  • Try to correct the article and mention that it does not improve (or create) actual cell coverage such as HSPA, LTE, etc. It is just a WiFi router that is optimized for T-Mobile customers who use WiFi calling and texting. If a customer is not connected to as a WiFi connection, it does nothing for them. For example, If you have a Nexus device, GPE device, or even a T-Mobile device that has a aosp based ROM, then you don't have T-Mobile's WiFi calling/texting capability. Meaning that this router would o you no good (other than a cheap wifi ac router for your home lol) Check out @TMobileHelp's Tweet: https://twitter.com/TMobileHelp/status/509844649759223808
  • Neat idea but if you need this then I'd say just get a new carrier then.
  • When you have 3 people watching u tube, music and try to download.. the home wifi gets terrible.... not everyone can afford high speed internet. I NEED T MOBILE TO PROVIDE WHAT I PAID FOR.... HIGH SPEED DATA.... Posted via Android Central App
  • In the house Posted via Android Central App
  • I don't understand what T-Mobile gets out of this. I get a awesome AC router that enhances my cell service but it doesn't help others. For $25 anyone with a non AC router would be stupid not to get this.
  • But is this just for talking and texting via 3G, like it is with other carriers, not actually a cell tower for 4G. With Wi-Fi calling you wouldn't really need this would you?
  • YES! YES! YES! I want..NO I need this! Moving from Texas to Iowa and Tmobile has no towers here! But I have stuck it out with T-Mobile for a year and a half of wifi calling only and next to no service. How do I get this?!
  • I don't see any instructions for how to purchase this. Is there any contact information or something?