T-Mobile's 4G LTE CellSpot is a mini-tower for your home

T-Mobile wants to make sure its customers will have 4G LTE coverage wherever they are, including in their homes. The carrier will soon offer the new 4G LTE CellSpot, which is basically a mini-tower that gives customers up to 3,000 square feet of 4G LTE coverage.

T-Mobile says the device, which is 8.5-inches wide, 8.5-inches tall and is 1.3-inches thick, works by connecting it to a home's Internet access. It adds:

The 4G LTE CellSpot delivers the complete T-Mobile LTE network experience, including the Un-carrier's latest network advancements—like VoLTE, HD voice for crystal clear calls, advanced messaging, video calling and more. In fact, it's the world's first device of its kind that is 3G, 4G and VoLTE-capable, and any T-Mobile customer can connect to it automatically just like any other cell tower – no passwords or log-ins required.

The T-Mobile 4G LTE CellSpot is available for any T-Mobile Simple Choice customer for as long as they are a subscriber. They do have to pay a $25 deposit that's refundable after they leave the carrier, and there is also a fee if they don't return the equipment. It will be available on November 4.

Source: T-Mobile (opens in new tab)

John Callaham
  • Man i wish we had T-Mo in the UK again. Three is the closest we have, but they still arent anywhere near as Crazy as T-Mo US is
  • This only helps Tmobile. Turn on WiFi Calling and use the Internet you already pay for to do the same thing. Don't be dumb. Because I choose to use a GSIII over the Note 5, I own a Note 4.
  • It just bumps their signal. That's it. My entire neighborhood was built about 12 years ago and somehow when we're in our homes the signal dies if you are downstairs in each of our homes. Go upstairs and it improves by 2 bars-it's like they lined the two floors with copper or something. It's beyond ridiculous and extremely annoying! I've been wanting something like this from Verizon-they have something kinda similar but it's a couple hundred $$ and isn't exactly this. Good old T-Mobile to introduce an inexpensive fix(like all their plans to bring the price down on the other carriers) come on Verizon way to have someone else show you how to do it-like usual! Posted via the Android Central App
  • my job blocks wifi calling. i get wifi but it blocks the wifi calling port. VPN no longer works either. Hopefully this works and i dont have to step outside every hour to check for messages
  • Ok, maybe I'm missing something here... T-Mo wants me to use my home network to increase their signal strength and coverage? And allow other people who may be within 3000 square feet to hop on to the network and slow down my home Internet? And I get to pay a $25 deposit for the privilege to do so? Don't they already have calling over wifi? Are these other features not available on wifi? Again maybe I'm missing something? Posted via the Android Central App
  • No, you set up specific numbers that will work with it. It's not open to public. Posted via the Android Central App
  • " and any T-Mobile customer can connect to it automatically just like any other cell tower – no passwords or log-ins required." Funny that statement there alludes to the fact that any Joe-Schmo Tmo Customer can connect
  • That is correct now that i see that. In this case i would not use it in my house. I'm happy with my asus router from tmobile that does the same thing.
  • It doesn't do the same thing, that is just a regular wireless router for WiFi calling, this actually outputs 3G/LTE for any T-Mobile phone to connect to.
  • That how I read it too. Sounds like anyone within the area can slow down my Internet.
  • really?? you think EVERYONE in customer service has access? I'm positive there's only a specific IT department that has access. The firewall on your router should block any attempts to access. You'll probably never experience a situation where they try to access anyway, one call to customer service about a problem and they will tell you to take it and get a new one.
  • But you are still using your own separate data connection. If your home internet ends up with a data cap(and it will) then where is the rebate from T-Mobile? These are nice for continuous coverage, but I'd rather have a strong signal. When I was on T-Mobile exclusively, signal at my boyfriends house was junk, I got the old version, it helped, but it only had a weak signal to go work with. When I switched to Fi, my signal both at home and at his house have gotten much better. All because Sprint has a better footprint at his house, and for whatever reason now I don't need to be in a specific area of my house to make a phone call. And if the signal is bad either place, the call goes out over WiFi. (I will say that T-Mobile gave me the repeater for free, no deposit. I did have to return it though ) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Can't wait for my Nexus 6P to get here so I can sign up for Fi!!!!
  • I have had the 4G LTE Cell Spot since last Monday (Nov 8) and it's absolutely opened to the public, up to 16 Tmobile users regardless of who they are, and there is no way to change the settings or limit the numbers hitting the device. I was on with Tmobile IT and they told me there is no way to specify numbers. Worst of all it burns through your home or office internet bandwidth because it has to be plugged into your router or switch. Also, your 4G LTE is now limited by the speed of your internet. So if you are already getting 4G LTE speeds equal to or better than your home or office internet then there is no advantage to this new CellSpot, in which case Wifi calling is probably a better solution if you have shady signal spots in your home or office so just get the Wifi CellSpot instead. In the 48 hours that I had mine hooked up, the strangers that latched onto my 4G LTE Cell Spot, (which was continually as I could see the 4G LTE Led flashing non stop), burned through about 20 GB of bandwidh. I have decent high-speed here, about 120mbps down and about 12mbps up so I assume lot's of movies and music was watched and listened to over that 48 hour period , just not by me :) The 4G LTE CellSpot is a great idea but only if you don't have any unwanted users within a 3000 square foot radius of the device. Mine is packed back up and I am just waiting for the return box and label so I can send it back. I still have my other Cell Spot / router which I will keep.
  • So it's exactly like people thought. Unless you can specify what people get on it then your bandwidth will be annihilated. I'll stick to my router and wifi calling.
  • I do agree with you. Unfortunately my experience is different I live outside the calling area so I'm practically the only person with T-Mobile. I do agree though even though there are no others on my cell spot I still wish that there a way to control login or security
  • Does the cell spot require a sim card? Is there an extra monthly service charge for it?
  • It does not require a SIM card but you must be within T-Mobile partner or home spectrum Network there is no additional charge or might be a $20 deposit for those with poor credit other than that there is no monthly fee or other fee
  • This is not what documentation states nor has it proven to be correct in my case. As a Tech if you know something more please share how and where you got this information
  • I agree Qbert. I don't see the point. I don't really need 4G LTE when I am at my home with WiFi. Even without T Mobiles wifi calling. I may not get that MMS at home but I will eventually. No big deal.
  • this can have a farther range than wifi, in case you have signal issues outside of your house as well and work on a large property, its also seemless with its transition between towers, where as wifi calling drops the call once you leave the wifi connection.
  • This does not have greater range than WiFi, and call handoff only works in one direction, I believe from the unit to T-Mobile and not the other way around.
  • You are correct about the tower's passing the call it cannot pass but only one way but I have to disagree with you the range of the cell spot is much much further than my 5 gigahertz or 2.4 gigahertz network I get great signal in my house when I use the cell spot I was able to get full 4G signal LTE in a one block radius
  • Yes you are right we don't need LTE at home when I have gigabit. However, I just purchased a new home, and calling is spotty. I was concerned with being able to call emergency number and WiFi doesn't work on my none T-mobile branded phones. i switched to cricket and lost my $20 unlimited data plan. if they had this back then i would've stayed.
  • It's private and while Wi-Fi calling will work, it's often preferable to have a carrier signal.
    A phone that can't get a signal will keep searching for one and drain the battery pretty quickly, which is why I tend to turn on airplane mode if I'm somewhere were I don't have a signal and I'll be their for awhile. Plus it's just less hassle, a lot of people including me don't leave Wi-Fi on all of the time, if your home is one of your few dead spots this can fix the problem for you very quickly and with less hassle and better battery performance than making sure Wi-Fi is on at home. I have 4 to 5 bars in my home, but if I didn't I'd want one of these instead of the WiFi routers
  • Much better than Verizon who makes you pay $249 for the privilege of having a 3G network extender that you can not control completely. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Verizon has a good footprint though, this is a bandaid for a shoddy service. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Ugh Posted via the Android Central App
  • I know, it's sad when a company can so easily dupe consumers with gimmicks and flashy shows. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The Verizon box is also a bandaid for a shoddy service. When I was on VZW, I lived in a hole in their coverage (big hill between me and the tower that was supposed to cover me), despite their maps and service people repeatedly telling me that I had excellent service. They wanted me to pay $100 up front and $30/mo for a box like this.
  • My entire neighborhood is a Verizon dead zone. I get very strong T-Mobile signal and very fast T-Mobile data speeds. I laugh when I read all these people telling how great Verizon service is, All Carriers have dead zones including Verizon. I know so many people who have terrible Verizon service and just accept it. Laughable, T-Mobile in my area is fantastic. Suburb of Boston. Thank You T-Mobile.
  • I'm tempted to switch back to Verizon from T-Mobile.I just got this device and although it works it uses my home internet and I can't control who accesses it. It wouldn't have cost them to allow device control to it by providing a simple GUI but they didn't because they want to boost their infrastructure and have us pay for it. Warning to any company considering purchasing T-Mobile make sure their coverage isn't all personal cell spots and real towers
  • I would feel a lot better if they allowed us to control access
  • Is there a sim card with the cell spot? Does it cost for service if there is a sim card?
  • They opened it to consumers too, but it's primarily directed at businesses. Businesses generally don't have usage caps and have higher bandwidth, making them the perfect customers for these.
  • AND any mobile data usage while connected to this device while using your internet also counts against your data cap...
  • Put the tinfoil hat down pal. The neighborhood is not going to park in front of your house to use your internet.
  • Lol, you must not know people very well then. Lol
  • You are WAYY over analyzing this, the range is 3000SQFT not 3000FT a BIG difference. So going by your scenario you have 10+ people standing within 10ft of your home with T-Mobile service, leeching off your booster. Secondly the impact on internet speed from a phone call is very, very minimal. It may be different if they are streaming Netflix but again we are talking about 5+ people standing within 5-10ft of your home, just not realistic. The $25 is a REFUNDABLE deposit meaning when you turn in the equipment you get it back. Also calling over WiFi only works on T-Mobile phones. My kids use unlocked AT&T phones on T-Mobile so this works great because AT&T does not offer WiFi caling, the same for the International versions of some Samsung phones, in that scenario. Also the reason why they offer this option is because most people complain about signal strength but when the cell companies try to build a tower in their neighborhood the first thing they say is I don't want that ugly thing in my neighborhood or City laws prohibit where they can put these cell towers, this is a viable workaround that can make a customer happy.
  • I just want to say thank you for your input truly! My range of the new adapter happens to be approximately one city block at least it's the only t-mobile signal up here and I stayed connected through a phone call as I walked around my entire block so it's awesome great signal strength. I can see a positive use for both the Wi-Fi router and the 4G LTE cell spot I don't understand why other people can't see that they both can be useful, you get it. So thank you for that
  • I'm in Houston, our providers don't have bandwidth caps Comcast, AT&T, Verizon
  • We got it because not all T-Mobile features work on Wi-Fi or outside the T Mobile network I live outside the tmobile network therefore this device works fabulous for me yes we do have Wi-Fi calling but we also have other devices that do not have Wi-Fi calling so this is a wonderful product. And yes having both does make it kind of redundant. But the cell spot gives you excellent coverage and much much further range then Wi-Fi does on ither bandwidth. while still being able to use the Wi-Fi hotspot router to connect to your home network and accessing your personal files and servers. So I guess what I'm saying is if you took the time to get a Wi-Fi hotspot router it will increase your Wi-Fi range excellently. If you have the 4G LTE cell spot it improves call quality and almost quadruples the distance. With my new home cell spot I now get 4G LTE signal literally in an entire one block radius, how can you beat that. They're both great products and they both work either way. I think tmobile giving its customers the power to choose where we want the networks to be is their purpose that is why I like t-mobile they like to think outside the box. Who else would have better coverage ideas than the customers themselves so T Mobile said let's go to the customers the power to put cell sites where they want instead of where the company wants. The CEO of t-mobile did post an entire article about this product I think it's worth reading if you haven't yet. Also I have found almost 100 other documents which is quite a few on this piece of equipment. I did find it was a lot easier to get the information myself then it was to get the information from the tech department at T Mobile. So again I say guys either way they're both a good choice.
  • I've had one of their signal booster devices for the last year or so, and it works really well in my house (which is practically impenetrable to everything but AT&T). This seems like a more practical, easily-hidden solution, though, so I'll swap what I have now for one of these as soon as it's available.
  • Luckily for me I have a tower right behind my house so I get 95 mbps down so no need for wifi Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is good tech for those of us with mxpe.. Now I will have strong coverage in my house .. Hate missing calls Posted via the Android Central App
  • I get good coverage at home so I won't be needing this but I just wanted to say how glad I am that T-Mobile won't charge customers for this personal cell spot. Sprint does this too, although I don't think they made me pay a deposit. When I had Verizon, I could barely get a signal anywhere in my apartment. I asked Verizon for one of these boxes they charged me about $325! Shortly after that, I switched to T-Mobile and I've never looked back. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'd rather they just offered better coverage, so I didn't have to let them use MY network to have LTE inside.
  • Is there really a benefit for this over the Wi-Fi router? At least they're not charging $250 for their version of a network extender unlike SOME carriers. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The Wi-Fi router is just a great ASUS AC router. There's nothing special about it. It's for people who have old routers and want a solid one for Wi-Fi calling. This device is to allow you to have a boosted LTE mobile signal throughout your house if that's not currently available. Apples and oranges.
  • If you're using a GSM unlocked phone (like me) this is perfect. I live in a TMO deadzone and I got sent one of the older models of this thing. I can now get text messages and make calls with no issues in my house. I also was sneaky and brought it with me while on vacation to a cabin in the Smokey Mountains. My cabin had zero TMO reception and the cell signal repeater allowed me to have phone calls and text messages with no issues whatsoever. If you don't have a signal at your house, this isn't a problem at all.
  • This makes no sense if you ask lol Posted via Nexus 6
  • OK, I'm asking. How does it make no sense? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just doesn't seem practical when most T-Mobile phones now days have WiFi calling available. I guess it's marketed towards people that have poor signal inside their home and don't have a WiFi calling enabled phone. Posted via Nexus 6
  • So it does make sense smart guy... Posted via the Android Central App
  • my next door has one. I guess technically, I also use his network...for free... and got my tmobile free AC router. so double win!
  • Squatter When we die, we go bye-bye. - Sal Vulcano
  • Good job T-Mobile. I'll look I to adding one. Posted via LG G4
  • Does this use your phone data when connected? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yup, and is treated just like you are on the real LTE network. I had the AT&T version a couple years ago when I was in a bad area.
  • I don't know how many times I keep trying to say but that's okay if you don't understand know the personal 4G LTE cell spot does not count towards your airtime or data usage I know this to be true because I live outside T-Mobile calling area with my new tower I am now able to use certain text messaging and other data features that only worked on the T Mobile network. So without any other T mobile towers around all I have is mine since I installed it days ago and have been using it on all of my Android tablets I have already checked the tablet shows absolutely no data usage. To confirm this I called T-Mobile who also confirmed my total data usage. Lets get informed people. how can tmobile charge you for data that you already pay for through another internet company. No I do not know if it's different with AT&T Verizon or anyone else but this is how it is with T-Mobile
  • You may be really lucky! T-Mobile pretty clearly states on the support page that the LTE CellSpot data usage counts against your 4G plan: https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-21332#question9 "4G LTE CellSpot customers use their existing service plan with T-Mobile, meaning data used over the 4G LTE CellSpot counts against your data plan. To access data without it counting against your plan, use Wi-Fi."
  • Thank you for your input I will definitely check it out more.
  • You know I have read over these documents a million times and somehow I have managed to overlook that. Thank you for bringing that document to my attention.
  • There is no value for phone calls. Phone calls are not made on 4g signals. unless it's volte. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I had something like this when the new house I had built was in a bad coverage spot for AT&T. I had to still use my calling minutes back then even when I was on this thing. It was a joke. It worked well, but was just a win win situation for them and not me. I was so glad when the tower went up and I got full coverage again.
  • So who pays for the data usage? Does tmo bill it to your account as if it went through their towers vs the subscribers paid-for-internet?
  • So would you go with this or the ASUS wifi router they send out?
  • They are for two completely separate applications. I have the ASUS router. It's great. I didn't even have to pay a deposit for some reason.
  • I have it also...my issue was with calls in my house..wifi calling sounds very odd for some reason.
  • Thankfully, I have strong 4G LTE throughout my home. I just tested it a few days ago. 48 mps up and 8 mbps up. When I moved to the house eight years ago I had 2G for the first couple years.
  • My sister definitely needs to get one of these for her house. Absolutely terrible Tmo reception at her place, especially on the second floor and in the basement. The signal booster worked somewhat, but it has extremely limited range when it comes to multiple floors. I like how this new booster doesn't require the use of wi-fi calling, allowing non-Tmo phones (i.e. nexus, etc.) to benefit.
  • 3000 square feet...so a 31 ft radius circle? Unless you can put it exactly in the middle of your house, there's a chance it can't even cover the whole thing. Plus side, you don't have to worry about neighbors getting on it, unless you're in small apartments or townhouses.
  • Maybe if you live in a mansion.
  • Relying on selling a signal booster to customers to improve their signal shows the company can't develop a network. I think Legere has good and bad qualities. The good. He's a motivated person that does listen and has changed the revolution of how cellular providers offer products and services. Plus he good at selling BS to people. The bad, he delivers all on hype and bs. Unless you live in a major metro area your phone then becomes a brick outside of that area. Even in some of the major area they claim to cover their signal is horrible. Posted via The Next Big Thing. My Samsung Galaxy Note 5!
  • Verizon does the same thing. Your assessment is moot.
  • Please do some research. All companies do this for people who have bad coverage indoors. Verizon does it also and so does att. Concrete walls and metal roofs block all signals no matter what. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well... They sent me a text saying I was qualified for a free 4g LTE signal booster as week. Came in the next day free shipping .. No deposit here... Works ok..... 4 bars... Decent size family home. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No thanks... Prefer the non internet dependant LTE celfi spot, or the WiFi router one that is locked down via password. Posted via the Nexus 6 on Cloud White..
  • Why hold them accountable for their laughable footprint when you can use your wifi to do their job?! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Verizon does the same thing except they actually charge you. By the way, I get almost 50 mbps in my house. Great coverage.
  • Is it possible to take this with me and use it at different locations? I have great coverage at home but not so great elsewhere where there is no wifi and where I would love to be able to plug it in to improve my signal when needed. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I was thinking the same thing, I'd love to take this to the University where I work (wifi calling wont work with their network) and be able to travel to use it in hotels, etc. I wonder if this would work internationally?
  • From the FAQ link posted below: Can I move my 4G LTE CellSpot and use it in another location? You can use it in a location within our operating areas and where we have an established relationship with local public safety answering points to support 911 services. Be sure to update your 911 address with us. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I can see this being a great option for certain businesses and universities. I often have trouble getting T-Mobile's WiFi calling to work on networks that use those splash pages to log in, i.e. at cafés and universities. For at home use, other than not dropping calls when you leave your house and transition from WiFi to Cellular, I'm not sure how this is any better than WiFi calling, especially since it A) Allows other people to use your home internet's bandwidth, and B) counts against your mobile data usage when you're actually using your home internet anyways... Plus, for me at home, my home broadband is a lot slower and less reliable than the LTE signal I get with Tmobile.
  • I called Tmo CS to order one. $25 deposit on my CC. Should arrive in about a week. Here is the FAQ, for those of you that have questions or concerns. https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-21332
  • Thank you for supplying additional information
  • I already have something like this from T-Mobile. It's a range extender I think. Is this something different? Does it actually create an LTE signal where there isn't one?
  • Yes no wifi need you do need Internet to connect plus there is a gps hook up to put near your window long wire it's really cool and works great
  • I really don't understand your answer.
  • I think this is an awesome device. It will give you both 3G and 4G LTE signal in your home for free. Does it use your internet to connect to T-Mobile network? Yes, but don't over think this. The neighborhood isn't going to camp out in front of your house to use your signal. Could it potentially provide some signal to your immediate neighbor, sure, if they are close enough. But that means 2 things, 1 - that they are T-Mobile customers, and 2 - they don't want to get their own Cell Spot. Take the tinfoil hats of people and stop thinking the world is out to get you.
  • This might be for the 1%. I am only interested because my parents live in hodunk nowhereville and they have Verizon with a booster that barely gets a half a bar if they're lucky. They can't have cable internet so they are stuck with satellite - with HORRIBLE massive charges to go over data limits (I paid $60 a month for my own personal use if their internet and I barely did anything. Avoided youtube videos and shit as much as possible. Scheduled all my windows updates for after midnight when it was free). I doubt wifi calling would work or not cost them a fortune. They run a business so in order to get a hold of them reliably they have to have a regular phone line, which of course still has long distance charges and they pay an exorbitant amount for the old tech privilege. This would be a God-send if it solved their problem.
  • Seriously.. Whats with all the paranoia? Unless you live in an apartment 3000 sq ft of coverage isn't anything other than your home. The signal outside your home is going to be FAR stronger than the signal in your home. So people outside are on the towers.
    As to the notion that this is somehow "cheating" for a poor or weak network.. Uh.. These are no different really than the IP BTS's that T-Mobile.. and EVERY OTHER CARRIER installs inside of businesses and buildings.
    I have similar items in multiple high rises covering numerous floors in Chicago. And you'll find them in the ceilings, along with WiFi repeaters and the like anywhere and everywhere they haven't fully deployed a DAS..
    This is a tool for the end user to improve their experience.
    The fact is.. No carrier guarantees in building coverage. There are simply too many factors that are impossible to control. And.. this is free. Get one.. Or don't. I don't expect T-Mobile or any other carrier to provide coverage in my basement. I'm happy for any help they will offer, especially free, to assist me.
  • Thank you for your comments
  • Wow all three products made by T-Mobile are really good products find one that works for you if it doesn't work for you stop complaining don't come here to complain. It's horrible when I come to T-Mobile forums to get help and support but all people do is argue and complain there is a positive side to most things if you don't like the way T-Mobile is doing things switch your carrier instead of complaining on here. Please remember people come on here to find answers from other people like them when they can't get the answers from T-Mobile Central.
  • Any one know the model# of the new T-Mobile cell booster or tower,please Posted via the Android Central App
  • I got mine. Free. Didn't have to pay one red cent for a deposit! Just spoke wit tech support. gave a lame story and a few days later, it was in my hands!