T-Mobile providing Nextivity signal boosters to keep indoor customers satisfied

After taking a  brief hiatus, T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) is again offering Nextivity's Cel-Fi signal boosters to customers who demand better cell phone coverage in their homes and is even providing the devices for free to qualifying customers, according to reports.

Nextivity Cel-Fi

Nextivity is selling the Cel-Fi direct to consumers for $575.

The news was first reported by iMore, which explained that T-Mobile had previously offered the devices to certain postpaid customers but stopped in 2013 as it focused on modernizing its 1900 MHz GSM and AWS 1.7/2.1 GHZ HSPA+ network and rolling out LTE service in the AWS band. During that time, Nextivity also reworked the Cel-Fi to accommodate additional frequencies, including those needed by T-Mobile.

The Cel-Fi is made up of a window unit that picks up the cellular signal and a coverage unit that is placed inside the home, expanding coverage to about 13,000 square feet.

Nextivity's web site shows that it is selling the Cel-Fi direct to consumers for $575. However, T-Mobile will reportedly provide a Cel-Fi for free to certain customers who have only one bar of 3G or LTE service in their home.

TmoNews provided inside information regarding T-Mobile's signal booster distribution policy. Among other things, after assessing a customer's indoor coverage problem, a carrier representative is supposed to identify whether Wi-Fi is an option to provide a better in-home coverage. "Currently T-Mobile doesn't have enough inventory to offer proactively. Do not proactively offer signal booster," according to operator documentation obtained by TmoNews.

Documentation shows that T-Mobile has eased its requirements for customers to receive a signal booster, for example, lowering the monthly rate plan they must be on to $50 from an unspecified, but higher amount, which was previously required.

An FAQ list for T-Mobile employees cited a situation in which a new T-Mobile customer took advantage of the operator's early termination fee credit, trading in more than one AT&T Mobility AT&T (NYSE: T) phone at a T-Mobile store. The customer subsequently complained that their residential coverage was worse with T-Mobile, but T-Mobile no longer had the customers' AT&T handsets and, thus, could not return them to the customer.

The recommended solution, according to the FAQ, was to provide the customer with a signal booster using in-store inventory. "This is a perfect situation where the solution needs to be resolved immediately," noted the FAQ.

T-Mobile's documentation also noted that deployment of a signal booster delivers "300+ points in-home network performance improvement," resulting in customer coverage satisfaction and loyalty that has more than doubled since it began offering signal boosters.

Some of T-Mobile's coverage issues should be alleviated once the carrier begins deploying service later this year in certain markets using the lower-band 700 MHz spectrum it acquired in April from Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ).

For more:
- see this TmoNews article
- see this iMore article  
- see this Nextivity web page

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