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Review: T-Mobile’s $25 Personal CellSpot is a no-brainer for Magenta customers and handover Wifi calling may even win some converts

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Review: T-Mobile’s $25 Personal CellSpot is a no-brainer for Magenta customers and handover Wifi calling may even win some converts

In all the hoopla over the brand new iPhone S/Plus, T-Mobile within the US and EE within the UK obtained themselves a reasonably large unique (for now). T-Mobile has been providing Wifi calling for years however it’s just lately come to the iPhone – and with the iPhone S and S Plus, will get even higher with cell/wifi handover. (T-Mobile partnered with Gogo to allow texting and voicemails on collaborating airline journeys as properly).

Wifi calling, for some, could also be the kind of function that makes or breaks a service relationship. With it, you can also make calls anyplace there's a wifi sign. That means basements, nation houses and even overseas nations are all now open to creating and receiving calls out of your service telephone quantity…

This isn’t simply any name high quality both. This is HD voice (if the opposite get together additionally has it) and it sounds nearly as good as any name you’ve ever made in your cellular system. Calls into Google Voice and Skype additionally sound fairly superb.

The iPhone S and S Plus and the newest Android telephones now have new radios that permit a handoff between Wifi and Cell towers in order that in case you are coming house from work and occur to enter your basement, your name gained’t drop. The radios on the iPhone H/s/c gained’t hand off, you’ll have to redial. For a household like mine, that is the kind of function that may permit us to chop the copper POTS line as soon as and for all. Not solely was our basement off limits to seemingly each service, however so was the again aspect of my home which included my workplace.


T-Mobile despatched me their ‘free’ (learn: $25 deposit that you simply’ll by no means need again) Personal CellSpot Router (you possibly can buy without T-Mobile account for $99) which truly is simply an ASUS AC1900 Router with some T-Mobile stickers and an virtually invisible T-Mobile branded firmware. You should be a T-Mobile buyer to get one in every of these and admittedly at a retail price of $200, it's a fairly compelling supply (learn: no-brainer).  To be clear, you don’t want this router to make Wifi calls and even do Wifi handoffs: Wifi calling works over any previous wifi connection. But T-Mobile needs you to have the most effective router on the market and it's arduous to seek out extra gushing reviews than you do from this one.


The specs on the AC1900 router from ASUS:

  • Up to 1900 Mbps, 802.11AC(1300Mbps over 5G) + 802.11N(600Mbps over P.4G). Broadcom TurboQAM™ know-how will increase wi-fi-I knowledge price to600 Mbps for 33% quicker efficiency
  • 1 x Gigabit WAN port, A x Gigabit LAN ports, 1 x x USB help Printer/HDD/(3G/4G dongle) sharing.
  • AiRadar with Beam forming know-how to make sure most WiFi protection. Dual-core processor for quick and responsive efficiency with Wi-Fi, Ethernet and USB units.
  • AiCloud to deliver you multimedia sharing from outdoors community and Smartphone
  • Enhanced ASUSWRT interface for Easy 3steps setup via Tablet, Smartphone and PC

I didn’t have time to benchmark every little thing concerning the router, nevertheless it in case you’ve ever configured a non-Airport wi-fi router, it's fairly straightforward to arrange. The net interface:

T-Mobile stated they’ve carried out some wonderful-tuning on the router to assist with QoS (to ensure telephone name packets get the very best precedence). This signifies that in case your router is saturated with Netflix/Gaming/YouTube/Torrent/and so on visitors, your calls will nonetheless sound nearly as good as all the time. From the online interface, the configuration appeared normal (under) and I marvel whether or not it screws up T-Mobile’s behind the scenes QoS stuff when you fiddle with this.

9to5-image 2014-09-17 at 6.57.46 AM

I didn’t attempt. Some of you may be involved that T-Mobile might use your connection to hook up your neighbors with service. T-Mobile informed me that at present, there isn't any plan to take action. You need to let individuals in your Wifi to do that by giving them your password. If T-Mobile did one thing like this sooner or later and also you didn’t prefer it, you would throw your router in a field and ship it again to get your $25, however I genuinely don’t assume it's a concern.

One draw back of Wifi calling is that it counts towards your telephone’s plan minutes identical to AT&T/Verizon/Sprint cost you minutes for utilizing a house Femtocell. On the surface, this appears douchey since you are utilizing your ISP in any case however T-Mobile does should route the decision and deal with voicemail (and you're getting a “free” router you ingrate). Most T-Mobile clients could have limitless minutes so I don’t consider this can be a huge concern.

So I didn’t truly attempt Wifi handover on an iPhone S or S Plus as a result of mine is someplace between right here and China. But T-Mobile was good sufficient to ship alongside a LG Flex (jeez, that factor is large) which has the identical sort of handoff radios because the iPhone S/S Plus have. I can affirm that on the T-Mobile iPhone 5s, wifi calling works properly. T-Mobile says that each smartphone they promote could have Wifi compatibility.

I can report that the radios work as marketed. I was capable of make a name from down the road and stroll into my home (the place the telephone picked up the Wifi of the ASUS router) and proceed the decision as I misplaced T-Mobile service in our downstairs toilet. It all works fairly seamlessly and you may just about “set it and overlook it.” Except you don’t even actually need to set it.

The ASUS router is insane in its attain. I reside on about A acres and presently have A routers overlaying the property (Apple Airport, DLink, Linksys and Verizon Actiontec). The ASUS one way or the other covers all however the corners of the A acres.

IMG_2103 IMG_2105

I’ll replace this submit as soon as I get my iPhone S with some screenshots of how that works.


If you're a T-Mobile buyer, go forward and drop the refundable $25 on this router. It is value it. It is probably going stronger than your present router and can prolong your sign not only for Wifi calling but in addition for different units in your home. It may even be mixed with an Airport (although I’m unsure the additional hop is well worth the sign power enchancment). The ASUS AC1900 is a prime-of-the-line wi-fi router that players and different excessive finish wi-fi customers typically pay $200 for even when they aren’t utilizing the Wifi calling.

As far as T-Mobile’s Wifi calling function, it's a type of “recreation changers,” and as cliché because it sounds, yet one more instance of John Legere’s T-Mobile cornering the market on service innovation. Sprint and AT&T have already promised Wifi calling sooner or later however as we all know, carriers typically take their time when enabling options. AT&T as an example disgracefully took years to implement Apple’s inbuilt Wifi hotspot and even disabled Facetime for a lot of clients whereas it “found out” the constructed-in IP know-how.

I’m not oblivious to the truth that T-Mobile’s community isn’t as widespread as Verizon or AT&T. It clearly isn’t. But by opening up their community to Wifi calling early and certainly pioneering the apply and certainly forcing the opposite carriers to take action, T-Mobile has in some ways evened the protection enjoying area and, extra importantly, executed proper by their clients.

Press launch follows:

T-Mobile Launches Un-service Un-leashes Wi-Fi Worldwide

Enables each T-Mobile buyer and smartphone to name and textual content over any Wi-Fi connection
for seamless protection the place no service community reaches – even at 30,000 ft

Unveils T-Mobile Personal CellSpot for private protection wherever clients select

San Francisco, California – September 10, 2014 – Get prepared for an entire new means to consider cellular protection. T-Mobile (NYSE: TMUS) right now rewrote the principles of wi-fi once more with Un-service “Wi-Fi Un-leashed,” breaking a number of main bulletins that collectively ship protection the place no mobile community has gone earlier than.

With each main smartphone maker adopting it, Wi-Fi calling and texting has reached a tipping level, and T-Mobile is getting one hundred% behind it as solely the Un-service can – to ship unprecedented protection to its clients to locations the place no mobile community can attain.

With Wi-Fi Un-leashed, T-Mobile introduced that it’s lighting up Wi-Fi calling and texting for each Simple Choice buyer on each new smartphone it sells. Now one hundred% of latest smartphones in T-Mobile shops might be Wi-Fi calling and texting succesful, and one hundred% of T-Mobile clients will have the ability to get a Wi-Fi calling and texting succesful smartphone in the event that they don’t have already got one. To make it simpler for patrons to reap the benefits of these new capabilities, T-Mobile is opening an unique enrollment window in JUMP!, the Un-service’s revolutionary improve program, so clients can instantly improve to a brand new Wi-Fi calling prepared smartphone.

“Wi-Fi Un-leashed is a recreation changer.  This is like including tens of millions of towers to our community in a single day,” stated John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “The distinction between us and the normal carriers is that they’ll do the whole lot they will to make more cash off you. We’ll do every thing we will to unravel your issues, and right now, that’s about uniting Wi-Fi with our knowledge robust community for unprecedented protection.”

In distinction to the carriers, who lock clients inside walled-off, proprietary networks to monetize them, T-Mobile has taken a sometimes disruptive Un-service strategy with “Wi-Fi Un-leashed” by tapping each obtainable know-how to ship protection in locations unreachable by any mobile community – and by making it extremely easy.  There’s no app to put in or separate IDs to recollect.  Just use your telephone.

In addition to enabling T-Mobile clients to make use of any public or personal Wi-Fi connection they will entry like a T-Mobile tower for calling and texting, the Un-service has rolled out subsequent-era Wi-Fi calling and texting on its community.  This new know-how is designed to ship excessive-high quality HD voice, quick name setup occasions, fewer dropped calls and seamless voice protection between T-Mobile’s nationwide Voice over LTE (VoLTE) community and Wi-Fi with suitable smartphones.

With Wi-Fi Un-leashed, all T-Mobile clients can even make free Wi-Fi calls to the USA from anyplaceoutdoors the nation – all utilizing their present T-Mobile quantity with no app to put in and no further IDs or numbers to handle – wherever they've Wi-Fi.

Full-Bars Personal Coverage Wherever You Choose
In a basic Un-service transfer, T-Mobile launched one other radically easy concept−give clients the facility and freedom to personalize their protection wherever they select. The Un-service unveiled the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot, a brand new gadget that permits everybody to place the capabilities of a private T-Mobile tower of their home.

With fifty seven% of American wi-fi customers saying they typically drop calls in and round their house, the Personal CellSpot delivers a full-bars T-Mobile expertise − in your basement workshop, small enterprise or anyplace else you might have broadband – utilizing state-of-the-artwork Wi-Fi know-how. What’s extra, it will probably utterly substitute your present Wi-Fi router or function proper alongside it.  And, the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot comes with distinctive patent-pending know-how that prioritizes voice requires crystal clear HD voice.

Starting September 17th, each Simple Choice buyer with a broadband connection and a Wi-Fi-calling prepared smartphone can get a T-Mobile Personal CellSpot utterly freed from cost with a $25 refundable deposit. The solely factor left to do is determine the place you need your private full-bars T-Mobile expertise.

“For years, the large telephone firm utilities have advised you the place you'll be able to and may’t have protection. And wherever their networks can’t attain, you’re SOL,” stated Legere. “With T-Mobile Personal CellSpot, we’re placing an finish to that previous mind-set. Now, you possibly can determine wherever you need your personal T-Mobile tower− supplying you with superb full-bars expertise the place no service community has reached earlier than.”

Coverage at 30,000 Feet
In a intently associated transfer, T-Mobile prolonged “Wi-Fi Un-leashed” to the skies by means of an unique, new partnership with Gogo, the world’s main in-flight connectivity service.  Through the partnership, T-Mobile clients will be capable of ship and obtain limitless textual content and movie messages, and even get visible voicemail, on any Gogo-outfitted flight on D.J.-based mostly airways – that’s greater than seventy five% of home flights carrying near 300 million individuals final yr.

And once more this new service is completely free to all clients of the Un-service. Starting September 17, simply allow Gogo in-flight texting as soon as, then you possibly can message nearly anybody from anyplace you’ve received Gogo.  See for steps to allow Gogo in-flight texting and an inventory of suitable smartphones.

Filed underneath: Reviews, Tech Industry, Tips and Tricks Tagged: Android, Asus, Gigabit Ethernet, iPhone, Quality of service, T-Mobile, Universal Serial Bus, Wi-Fi

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