T-Mobile launches LTE personal 'CellSpot' to generate network coverage

T-Mobile US (NASDAQ:TMUS) launched a new personal small cell that offers LTE coverage, building on a move it made last year to provide a personal "CellSpot" that would enable customers to make Wi-Fi calls indoors where they had poor coverage. The new CellSpot supports T-Mobile's UMTS, LTE and Voice over LTE networks, as well as other technologies.

T-Mobile describes CellSpot as an "LTE mini tower."

The rollout is one of T-Mobile's "Uncarrier Amped" launches that builds on a previous "uncarrier" move. T-Mobile first launched the Wi-Fi router CellSpot in September 2014.

The launch follows T-Mobile's expanded LTE coverage, as the carrier now says it covers 300 million POPs with LTE. T-Mobile says it has also deployed its 700 MHz A Block spectrum to 175 million POPs. However, the femtocell product does indicate that T-Mobile thinks it needs to do a better job of getting coverage inside customers' homes and businesses.

In a statement, T-Mobile described the new CellSpot as an "LTE mini-tower -- with low power settings for indoor use," and claims it can provide an average of 3,000 square feet of coverage for homes, small businesses or other areas.

The LTE CellSpot is available free of charge to "Simple Choice" postpaid customers, who need to make a $25 refundable deposit that they can get upon returning the device. T-Mobile spokeswoman Rachel Cooper said the new CellSpot is made by Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU). The older, Wi-Fi router CellSpot is made by Asus and T-Mobile said that more than 1 million customers have acquired one of those.

According to T-Mobile, the LTE CellSpot supports VoLTE, HD Voice and T-Mobile's video calling and advanced messaging services. T-Mobile said customers simply need to plug in the slim device to a power source a wired Internet connection and it will be ready to go. Customers can continue to use their high-speed Internet connection while using the LTE CellSpot, and Cooper said that use of a router will not compromise the ability to make or receive calls on customers' wireless handsets.

"All you need is power and Internet connection wherever T-Mobile has spectrum, and these days that's nearly every mile of the U.S.," T-Mobile CEO John Legere said. "The CellSpot works with any devices out there on T-Mobile's network. You don't even need a cellular signal for it to work. So it gives you coverage where cellular only can't reach."

"With the carriers, they'll make you pay 200 bucks from AT&T just for outdated technology that only supports part of their network or only works with some phones," Legere said. "You see, the carriers are so arrogant they think they know best where you need coverage and what technologies you should use. This is why the uncarrier is totally different. We put the power in your hands, because who's going to know better where you need coverage than you?"

For more:
- see this TMoNews article

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Correction, Nov. 2, 2015: This article incorrectly had the wrong image identified as the LTE CellSpot.