T-Mobile is about to start giving customers a personal 4G LTE antenna they can keep in their house to fill gaps in coverage.
The company says the CellSpot can offer the “full T-Mobile network experience” to 16 devices within about 3,000 square feet. The device, which is about the size of a notebook, will be free after a $25 refundable deposit. For it to work, you’ll need a power outlet and broadband Internet connection — but no wireless signal whatsoever.
“Yes, every wireless network has some limits; some corner or cabin or basement that doesn’t delivery great coverage,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a video announcing the news. “At T-Mobile, we try to tap into every available technology to give you the best coverage experience possible.”
T-Mobile’s coverage relative to its much larger competitors has been a persistent problem for years — but one the company has been working to fix. T-Mobile says it’s expanding its 4G network at a record pace and it now reaches 300 million people in the U.S. AT&T and Verizon, meanwhile, hit that milestone over a year ago.
T-Mobile first introduced CellSpots in September 2014. It was basically a broadband router that let you make voice calls over WiFi. Now, the company says new 4G LTE CellSpot takes that to the next level by offering a completely normal cell signal in places where one is usually unavailable. Once the CellSpot is plugged in, phones will automatically connect just like they would to any other cell tower.
“Where the T-Mobile Wi-Fi CellSpot’s like a T-Mobile tower, this new 4G LTE CellSpot is a T-Mobile mini-tower—and it’s a huge feat of engineering,” Legere said in a press release.