T-MobileCustomers who lack indoor cellular coverage are the target market for a new offering from T-Mobile called 4G LTE CellSpot, which T-Mobile in a press release yesterday described as a “mini-tower” that extends LTE coverage indoors. A T-Mobile spokesperson told Telecompetitor that T-Mobile worked with Alcatel-Lucent to develop the device, which will be available for free with a $25 refundable deposit.

To use the offering, customers must be on a T-Mobile Simple Choice plan. They also need a broadband data connection.

“Customers only need to plug it in . . . and then let the device provision on the network,” the T-Mobile spokesman wrote in an email. “Once T-Mobile customers move within range of the 4G LTE CellSpot, their compatible 3G/ 4G/ 4G LTE device will automatically detect the signal broadcasted by the 4G LTE CellSpot.”

The 4G LTE CellSpot can cover an area measuring approximately 3,000 square feet, T-Mobile said. The company claims that the 4G LTE CellSpot is the “first-ever 4G LTE mini-tower available from a U.S. wireless provider.”

Before the 4G LTE CellSpot
T-Mobile launched a similar offer last year on a device that was essentially a Wi-Fi router designed to prioritize voice over Wi-Fi traffic and which also targeted people without indoor cellular coverage. But with that offering, customers had to use a cellphone that supported VoWi-Fi in order to place calls. The LTE CellSpot has the advantage of working with 3G, 4G and LTE handsets. Both products also support texting.

Despite its limitations, T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi product – known as the Wi-Fi CellSpot Router – has sold more than a million units, according to the company. Whether the LTE CellSpot will be more popular remains to be seen, however, as unlike the Wi-Fi CellSpot Router, it can’t take the place of a traditional Wi-Fi router in the home – and people most likely will still want a Wi-Fi router. Of course many people may already have Wi-Fi.

In keeping with its Un-carrier image, T-Mobile couldn’t resist taking a jab at other wireless providers in its press release, noting that competitors “make their customers pay hundreds of dollars and jump through hoops just to get their outdated 3G-based femtocell solutions.”

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3 thoughts on “T-Mobile Free 4G LTE CellSpot Targets Areas Lacking Indoor Coverage

  1. and the use of bandwidth with no compensation by wireless carriers continues…something is fundementally flawed with this scenario, when a wireless carrier like tmobile can piggyback on the broadband into the home for their service and not pay anything. this is free backhaul?

  2. Maybe the ISPs of the world need to develop a device to offload their data traffic to 4G LTE networks and say "We're just trying to help our customers." We'd immediately have lawsuits filed against the ISPs and other backlash. Not a level playing field at all.

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