This is the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot

In a world where smartphones are much more than devices we use to make phone calls with, T-Mobile has created a device that will help keep you connected to the internet and make phone calls even when your cellular network might be out of range. Enter the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot, introduced at T-Mobile's Un-Carrier 7 event in September.

The CellSpot may look like a standard Asus gigabit router but with the combined power of T-Mobile and Asus, this dual band TM-AC1900 router is transformed to make crystal clear VoIP (Voice Over IP) phone calls on T-Mobile's network.

T-Mobile CellSpot

So what makes the T-Mobile CellSpot so special? The whole idea of T-Mobile giving its customers custom routers is to promote calling over WiFi instead of adding more traffic to the always growing cellular network. The one benefit of the CellSpot over other routers when considering WiFi calling is that T-Mobile has tweaked the Asus software so that your phone call from a T-Mobile device will be prioritized over any other traffic. On a normal router, your WiFi phone call quality will rise and fall based on the number of devices connected to your router and the traffic they're producing — but this is no longer an issue with the CellSpot.

Inside the box we are greeted with the Asus TM-AC1900 router — very much not unlike the ASUS routers many of us have been using anyway — a power supply, ethernet cable, manual, and a pamphlet instructing us on how to set up the CellSpot. The only modifications to the CellSpot hardware compared to a standard Asus TM-AC1900 router are several T-Mobile logos on the box and on the front of the router itself.

T-Mobile CellSpot Ports

Once you have connected your new CellSpot router to its power supply and your home internet modem, all you have to do is log into the router and setup your WiFi settings. This includes setting your SSID (the name of your home WiFi) and your network password. To do this, find the CellSpot's default SSID and password located on the back of the router and connect to it from any wirelessly capable device.

To get to the router's settings you then visit http://cellspot.router and if you are connected to the router correctly, you will sent to the router's setup tutorial. In the tutorial you will have the chance to change the router's login username and password, network names, network passwords, and network encryption type. This can also be quickly modified again later if you choose to change anything.

T-Mobile CellSpot Network Setup

Since installing the T-Mobile CellSpot in my own home, I have been able to make VoIP calls that sound great on both my end and on the recipient's end. Additionally, since this is a fully functioning dual band gigabit router, it is also important to note that both the 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi channels had strong and powerful signals that easily covered my entire home. At no point since I started using the CellSpot has my connection ever become slow or faulty while being used with any of my connected devices.

T-Mobile CellSpot Fully Functional

To get your hands on your very own T-Mobile CellSpot all you need to do is go into your local T-Mobile store or call their customer support line and request one. Of course to be eligible to receive the router you must be a T-Mobile customer. If you are a Simple Choice customer you will have to provide a $25 deposit that will be returned to you if you decide you no longer want the router. As a prepaid customer, the CellSpot will cost you $99.

In either case it's a great deal, as the router itself retails for over $200 and you can dramatically improve your call quality when at home for a fraction of that cost.

  • Too bad they wouldn't sell me another one! (One for $25, and they wouldn't sell me another one for $99) Called customer support and gave me mumbo gumbo and transferred me around.
  • If you go in-store, you can purchase it for $99 with no run-around like the phone reps give.
  • Might just do it. I could care less about the "cellspot" but I'll take an asus ac router for $99 considering its sister is on amazon for $200
  • thats EXACTLY why i got one for my house. My old router sucked. This thing is awesome. Havent turned on wifi calling on any phone though. lol
  • I went to 4 different T-Mobile stores. Not a single one would sell the router unless you were a post-paid T-Mobile customer. If you are prepaid, you have to call customer sales. Two of the stores tried ringing it up as a prepaid and the system would not work. Calling customer sales the lady said everyone is pre-approved to buy up to 3 of them. She didn't even ask for my T-Mobile Prepaid number.
  • The stores CAN do it and are supposed to. The router is listed as an accessory in the T-Mo system. They just get no commission by selling it to you. Shame how crooked store reps in certain stores have become
  • That is incorrect. It's for post paid customers. Why would T-mo hand out a 200 dollar router to someone who probably won't bring it back. Pre-paid customers have no name, address or anything tied to their account. So let me sign up for a 30 dollar pre paid account, get this 200 dollar router, then leave?
  • @V6Hawk, we are talking about purchasing it outright for $99. Noone said that Pre-paid could get it free or for $25 deposit.
  • Still, its not listed as an accessory. That's a tool for our customers to use. We wouldn't deplete our stock of them in store especially if you aren't a t mobile customer. Posted via Android Central App
  • If you truly are a T-Mobile employee, you are not a smart one. The AC-1900 router IS an accessory in the T-Mobile POS system (search for ASKEY). And yes, prepaid customers ARE allowed to purchase the router outright for $99. If you are not aware of that, you should check with your Sales Lead.
  • So I'm not smart for selling this router to non t mobile customers? When I, my store, and my market don't get paid for it and in my area, the coverage is not great. I'm supposed to waste this tool on random people? My STL would be pissed if I sold this to someone who walked off the street. When we have loyal customers who need one of these? Posted via Android Central App
  • So a branded, prepaid customer is considered non-T-mobile in your market? I am sure your senior TL would say otherwise.
  • No, but I thought you were implying just because it has an accessory SKU that we're supposed to sell them like accessories. Branded pre paid T Mobile customers of course we will help. I haven't come across a pre paid customer asking for the personal cell spot. Posted via Android Central App
  • No, absolutely not did I mean or condone non T-Mo customers purchasing it. I am actually glad it was taken off of the website because I have read how many non-customers were purchasing it. But prepaid customers are allowed to purchase the router for $99, via telesales or in-store.
  • Funny thing....I am a postpaid customer. I just wanted to own it outright. The system wouldn't allow it.... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why does everyone keep calling it a $200 router? It is not. It is a $99 router that is sold by T-Mobile sales. They let you lease it for free if you are a post-paid customer. But if you are prepaid, they will let you buy it for the full retail price of $99. It is not the Asus 68U. However, handy people can turn it into that router. But for most that don't know how to do that, it will always be a T-Mobile $99 router (made by Asus for T-Mobile). BTW, I am a $30 prepaid account. I use Google Hangouts for free calling using my 5G of LTE data.
  • Oh boy oh boy. Why don't people educate themselves before they speak? - It IS a $200 router. It IS the ASUS RT-AC68U, with T-Mobile branding and custom software. My Dell Ultrabook runs OSX. That doesnt make it a Macbook. It is still a Dell Ultrabook. Call it what you want to make you feel better. Inside and out, it is the ASUS RT-AC68U.
  • No it is a crippled version of that router. You wouldn't pay $200 for the T-Mobile version with less features, would you? So unless you flash the firmware before it gets locked down, it is just a $99 router. Granted a very good $99 router but still a $99 router and NOT the Asus 68U which has some very advanced capabilities that the T-Mobile version does not have. Using your example, Apple could make a version of the Macbook that ONLY runs Windows and not MacOSX. But no one would pay the same price for it with just Windows on it. They want MacOSX. That's what gives MacBooks the premium. It's the combination of grade A hardware AND grade A software that makes them more expensive. And BTW, if you don't flash it, the router gets locked down the minute you connect it to the internet. So after that happens, you have to go through a lot of steps to make it into the AC68U. In other words, if you don't flash it right away it will always be the TM1900 made by Asus but never the AC68U made by Asus.
  • Open up your router. Look at the circuit board. its actually printed on the circuit board RTAC68. No mention of TM1900 on the circuit board. It's late, I am tired, so I give up. We all get trophies for participating.
  • Even when you flash the stock 68U firmware, the device still refers to itself as the TM1900. That could be changed using a hex editor. But you risk bricking the device in the process. The car manufacturers do this same thing. They use the same components for different levels of the cars (and sometimes even different brands, ie: Honda and Acura). For example the Navigation system may be disabled even though the gps hardware is part of the base car. You can usually unlock the GPS and upgrade the car. This is no different. Intel used to do this with some of their processors. They would lock out and throttle down the cores. It is simply cheaper to make one part and then disable parts of it to sell a cheaper version of it. If memory serves, you could even later pay Intel to unlock and "upgrade" the cpu that was already in your computer for like $50 or so.
  • What do they cripple?
  • Funny, I tried to do that in store, and the system prevented them from selling it to me outright, even though I'm postpaid. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have one of these routers, and it is great. It is a ASUS RT-AC68U router with a custom firmware to give T-Mo wifi calling priority over your wifi network. I was able to snag one of these during the preorder, zero deposit and free overnight shipping, which is great for a $200 router. Even if you buy it outright from T-Mo at $99 its a great deal.
  • hey where did you get that custom T-mobile firmware? I'd love to use it as long as it don't turn my router back into the T-mo router with out AiCloud!
  • Question, do you need to use a TMOUS specific device to take advantage of this? I have an HTC One (M7) and have kept the stock software on there so I can use WiFi calling with my existing infrastructure; however, I would love to get rid of stock and use a pure Google build. I've been reluctant to switch because I have marginal LTE coverage in my house and without the WiFi calling my phone is flakey for voice calls.
  • Wifi calling is built into the T-mo rom, so in order to use the feature, you need to have the stock rom
  • You'll have to buy a Nexus device to do WiFi calling on a "pure Google build." You still won't be able to flash your own ROM but the OS will be stock Android with T-Mobile WiFi calling added. A plus is that the new Nexus 6 will support class 12 spectrum (700Mhz). T-Mobile is rolling out class 12 spectrum which should allow for better reception at longer distances, better reception without line of sight, and better building and tree cover penetration. The thing is that your phone has to support it and only the Galaxy Note 4 and the soon to be released Nexus 6 (Nov 12) currently support it on T-Mobile.
  • There are a few more T-mo phones that support band 12 LTE. Sony Z3 and ZTE zmax. I think the Galaxy avant also supports band 12 but there is conflicting information out there on whether it does or doesn't.
  • Does it work with the vanilla Nexus 5? Or, does it have to be the T-Mobile version of the Nexus 5?
  • Does not work with any nexus 5 because it currently does not support WiFi calling. But I was having cell issues in my house (missed calls, text messages not received etc) so I called T-Mobile and asked for a microcell and they overnighted it. I have been using it for a couple of months now and I have had zero reception issues in my house it is awesome. There is no cost for the device the only caveat is you need to get one bar of service somewhere on your property. I luckily had one LTE bar in my garage and now I receive full LTE bars in my house. Posted via God
  • What? The Cellspot has nothing to do with your cellular signal.It only affects Wi-Fi. It's a Wi-Fi router that's is optimized for any cellphone that can make Wi-Fi calls period. It does not boost a cell signal in your home Posted via the Android Central App
  • He said he got a Microcell (not a cellspot), ya dingus.
  • Thank you that is correct
  • They asked me the same question about the router. I think it is something required in order to get the router. Posted via the Android Central App
  • My guess is neither. They're identical devices.
  • Neither. Only T-Mobile devices that have the WiFi calling software built in. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google is baking WiFi calling into L but it wasn't ready for the initial release. It should be added via a patch in early 2015. All phones that support WiFi calling should receive it with Android L. The Nexus 5 is on the update list for Android L.
  • Currently over wifi calling I'm not able to merge calls...hopefully you're able to conference calls with this router. (Using 5s & Verizon Router)
  • I'm just not seeing the point of this. Maybe it's just me. Posted via Android Central App on the Moto X
  • No, I'm thinking the same. I wouldn't sign with a provider if service want already available in my house. Having said that, T-Mobile works just fine for me in my house Posted via the Android Central App
  • Playing devils advocate; you wouldn't cut your bill in half if they offered great service everywhere you go except your house and offered you a basically free, awesome router and a useful wifi calling feature? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Being a TM customer for 7 years I migrated my family to AT&T when they were offering 30GB for the price of 15GB. I'll get better coverage and the plan was $5 cheaper than the comparable TM family plan, which is 5GB less than what AT&T offered. I'll also get an additional 11% corporate discount for the AT&T plan over the TM plan. We hated to leave but the AT&T offer was too good to refuse.
  • AT&T customer service rep here. It lies. All lies. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's mainly for people who want to use wifi calling but have poor signal in home. Or you could just use it as an awesome router that normally retails for 200?
  • Basement.
  • Houses in FL are made of concrete blocks and steel. It doesn't matter who your provider is, the signal sucks inside your house.
  • I wouldn't complain. You get a $200 router for $99 or less. That's awesome no matter what its purpose is. Posted via Android Central App
  • Try this on for size. No matter WHERE you are, you can access the network. When you are places like sports events when networks are overcapacity, if you have TMo and there's wifi to be used, you can access the network just fine. It also offloads traffic from the towers, which is why TMo never has capacity issues. There's a reason they're adding the most new customers...
  • U will need a long extension cord Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's just a really good router provided for free or a lot more affordable than normal for customers who might not have their own wifi or have wifi that doesn't reach all corners of their house very well etc. Allowing people to have a more reliable wifi calling experience.
  • Maybe T-Mo should spend money on upgrading their network instead of having their customers shell out $99 for a device that'll do what their cellular network should do.
  • Fwiw the device is free with a $25 refundable deposit if you're a postpaid customer (which most are). Posted via the Android Central App
  • Touche.
  • Maybe if you'd be a little more truthful in your comments...
  • They are trying. The problem is most of their spectrum is on the higher end and isn't good for building penetration. This is why they are petitioning the FCC to put limits on the amount of low band spectrum (the stuff that is better at building penetration) that Verizon and AT&T can buy at the next auction. They need more 700mhz spectrum to be able to compete, so in the mean time, they are offering other "think out of the box" solutions like this "Personal Cell-Spot."
  • "The problem is most of their spectrum is on the higher end and isn't good for building penetration." That explains why I didn't get 4G in my basement. I'm glad I went back to Verizon.
  • That is exactly the problem. Here is to hoping they can get more 700mhz spectrum, but now that the auction has been pushed to 2016, this may take a while.
  • T-Mobile owns and is deploying class 12 spectrum (700Mhz) right now and should be complete next year. The problem is that you need a phone that supports it which is only the Galaxy Note 4 and Nexus 6 for now. Part of the problem is that Verizon and AT&T have been buying up all the lower spectrum, aren't allowing any of the smaller carriers to get a hold of enough spectrum to compete, and are constantly petitioning the FCC to do away with auction rules that would give carriers an equal chance at the choice spectrum. Extremely noncompetitive.
  • T-Mobile only has 700mhz holdings in very few markets though, nowhere near nationwide. Plus, you are correct in that it is band 12, which very few phones at the moment support. Though, many phones contain chipsets that support other radio bands that can be enabled by firmware updates, so it is possible we could see one or two more phones pop up with band 12 capability with software updates. The problem will still be that their band 12 holdings don't cover 80% of their network.
  • Very few? Almost 200 pops covered by their 700mhz, not exactly "very few". Posted via the Android Central App
  • Do a little research. The point of offering this router is to fill in gaps while they upgrade their network. Plus both att and Verizon offer something similar. Their are houses that no signal gets through no matter how many paychecks they take from you (Verizon) Posted via the Android Central App
  • The difference is that AT&T and Verizon will charge you in order to extent their coverage while T-Mobile will not.
  • This should not be called a cellspot since it doesn't give you any extended cell service. It makes it confusing Posted via God
  • Really...then what does it do Posted via the Android Central App
  • its a wifi router not a data extender
  • no thanks. i don't want to have to add another contraption in my life just so i can use my smartphone. i'll stick with AT&T GoPhone + Nexus 5.
  • When Verizon and att have issues with coverage in some houses (metal roof, concrete walls, basement). It's great that you have signal indoors, some don't. In that case you don't need it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • He doesn't need it because he used his brain. T-mo's coverage is bad in MANY areas. Coverage should be of utmost concern when choosing a carrier. T-mo just comes up short for So Many. Verizon and AT&T don't have nearly as many coverage issues. Even in NJ. That is a joke and so are these types of devices. Doesn't make up for their real shortcoming.
  • @Droid - To be fair .. Just because he has T-Mobile doens't mean he doesn't have a brain .... There are people on AT&T and Verizon who have their network extenders in their house as well to get signal. AT&T and Verizon are known for having better coverage but they know they don't reach 100% either .. So they have the same extenders. My buddy who has AT&T has an extender in his house right now otherwise he wouldn't have coverage at home.
  • Contraption? I beat you refer to microphones as machines. AT&T customers. Gotta love em. Posted via the Android Central App
  • If you already have a router then you don't need another "contraption" (What, are you 80?) to use WiFi calling. It'll work with any router and do it seamlessly.
  • Wish it was available in the UK.... The_ape on an N9005
  • In the uk. The 3 network have an app, that lets you answer calls using a wifi hotspot; at home, in the underground.. It works ok.. And I don't have to buy another router :) Posted via Android Central App
  • Benefits of the router setup is it would work with all 5 devices on EE I have in the house..... The_ape on an N9005
  • You can get a box from ee and add the numbers you want to it? I can with 3 anyway Posted via the Android Central App
  • You DON'T have to buy a new router to use WiFi calling in the US, any old router will do and you don't need some app to do it because it's built into the OS. You won't even be able to tell if you're making a cellular or WiFi call unless you check. The pluses for this router are that it's a high end router, you can lease it for FREE (with refundable $25 deposit), and it prioritizes cellphone calls right out of the box.
  • I got one just because I wanted the router. It's very good Posted via Android Central App
  • It's great if you need a router upgrade but the same should be able to be achieved with modifying QoS settings. It would have been beneficial for me since AT&T bought out the regional carrier I was roaming on. 12 hours or so a day I had awesome LTE coverage so this would have covered me for the rest of the day if it weren't for my sucky slow ISP Posted via the Android Central App
  • This only for making calls right? does nothing for data right? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well, it's also a wireless router so you could consider it part of your unlimited wifi data package! Posted via the Android Central App
  • And for most people, it is. Most people in the US (I'd confidently say >75%) live in one of its many major metropolitan areas and very rarely leave those areas for any appreciable amount of time. T Mobile covers those people with phenomenal data pricing, coverage and call quality without difficulties not also affecting other carriers. This device is pitched to the lay public as an extender into that pesky basement where no one gets calls or maybe out to that cottage you spend 1 week a year at and would hardly be worth doubling your cell phone bill in order to get coverage from verizon.
    I don't think there is any thought that they will be converting the people who live in areas with no coverage to come over because of wifi calling. I don't think T Mobile will make much of a push to increase their coverage into rural areas because it's a huge expenditure for almost no reason. If they are able to get a huge part of ~75% of the country to switch to their service by offering a good deal and upgrading the service in the areas people actually use them, who needs to expand coverage beyond major areas? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Please amend your statement about T-Mobile may have coverage over 75% of people to has coverage over 75% of people as long as they're outdoors. I live in the suburbs of Los Angeles. T-Mobile works great in the car and outside, even in my house (luckily), but go into any concrete or steel building like a grocery store, warehouse store, mall, gym, office complex and you're in a dead zone. They'll never be more than a second rate carrier until they get some low frequency spectrum that can penetrate walls. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Even Verizon and att have issues inside concrete buildings. If T-Mobile doesn't work for you then it just doesn't work for you. It works for some and when it does it's great. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I carry both a T-Mobile phone and a Verizon phone. You're wrong about Verizon having trouble penetrating buildings. It is extremely rare for my VZW phone to lose its LTE connection anywhere I go, it even gets a signal in the elevators in the center of my office building. T-Mobile can't even push a signal into my office, which is an exterior corner of the building with large windows. I can get a weak T-Mobile signal right by the window. This is typical around here. The only network worse than Pink is yellow (Sprint). Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just depends on area and towers. I used to have Verizon and would lose signal inside certain buildings all the time. Posted via Android Central App
  • @Distorted Loop We're finishing up a T-Mobile test drive. We're currently on Verizon but are switching because we can't afford to pay for our phones up-front in order to keep out unlimited plan. We're actually going in to T-Mobile tomorrow to turn the test drive phone in and sign up. Verizon has never had great in building coverage and often drops once you move 20+ feet into a building (And elevators? Forget about it.). We took a long trip down back roads and used it during commutes and overall our test drive was a wash. Unfortunately the test drive takes place on an iPhone 5s which isn't known for the best cell reception and iOS blocks Sensorly from mapping networks so we couldn't make a full side to side comparison of signal strength. I instead had to watch both phones on trips. I don't understand why T-Mobile cripples their test drive by using an iPhone.
    ~In city they'll both drop out in the same places and they average out to be the same speed.
    ~In the countryside T-Mobile has better coverage but is often 2g only while Verizon has spotty LTE. This should be solved by next year though once T-Mobile finishes their 4g rollout.
  • My workplace has no Verizon signal nor T-Mobile (but we have a DAS that supports Sprint and At&t). It really depends on tower location. Posted via the Android Central App
  • @Distorted Loop Please amend your statement that "They'll never be more than a second rate carrier until they get some low frequency spectrum that can penetrate walls." They have class 12 spectrum (700Mhz) from a spectrum swap with Verizon that they're deploying now. Deployment should be complet