T-Mobile Personal Cellspot specs: Dual-band, 1900 Mbps wireless AC router

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About 5 days ago we leaked information about an upcoming ASUS-made Personal Cellspot. Like I said at the time, the device turns your home broadband connection in to a 5-bar signal in your home (sort of). You can read up on what we speculated then. What we didn’t know was that it was going to be a major part of the Uncarrier 7.0.

Update #1 – There’s absolutely nothing in the user manual or quick start guide to suggest that this is a Microcell/femtocell, or that it houses any ability to produce HSPA or LTE signal. I’m still trying to get clarity on this. The “like a T-Mobile tower in your home, or anywhere you choose. Use it to max out your personal coverage, even beyond the reach of any cellular network” marketing spiel would suggest that it does, but it could be misleading. Let’s be clear: All that we know for sure is that it’s been developed by T-Mobile and optimized for Wi-Fi calling and fast data. So it knows how to ensure you get good call quality and keep data at a steady speed simultaneously. I’ll update when I hear more.

Update #2 – From T-Mobile’s facebook page (as shared below in the comments): “I am very sorry but the phone will need to have WiFi calling capabilities to use this service and the phone has to have the ability to connect to a WiFi network to utilize WiFi calling.”

asuscellspot

Customers on postpaid plans, and with good credit, will be able to pick one up for free with a $25 refundable deposit. If you’re on prepaid, or low credit, you can purchase one for $99. Or if you want additional ones on top of your free one, you can also get one for $99.

The quick start guide we’ve been sent highlights a few key specs, for those interested:

  • Brand: ASUS
  • Model: TM-AC1900 dual-band router
  • 3×3 wireless-ac
  • 1900 Mbps
  • 1x USB 2.0 port
  • 1x USB 3.0 port
  • 2 channels – 2.4GHz and 5GHz
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • 4x LAN ports
  • Works with most USB HDDs/Flash disks up to 2TB and supports read-write access for FAT16, FAT32, EXT2, EXT3 and NTFS

Important to note, you will need to plug it in to your existing ADSL/cable modem for it to work. It doesn’t have a built-in modem. To set it up you can use either the PC/Mac setup or use your mobile device through your browser.

In the box you’ll get:

  • TM-AC1900 router
  • Network cable (RJ-45)
  • Wi-Fi Antenna
  • AC adapter
  • Start Guide

As well as its Wi-Fi performance, it’ll also offer up full signal in your home. The support page has now gone live on T-Mobile’s website, but as of yet doesn’t have a high resolution image of the router. Also, you can download the full user manual here.

 

 

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  • Michael Tran

    Can you just use this as an network extender? I was just going to plug an ethernet into it and extend it to another part of the house.

    • Like any router, you should be able to turn off DHCP so another router running DHCP can act as a “master”. Just make sure you plug into the one of the LAN ports, not the WAN port on the T-Mobile router.

      I’d also recommend using the same wireless network name for all of your routers and leave it up to your devices to pick the best network to connect to.

      • Michael Tran

        Thanks for the information. Very helpful!

        • BillSmitty

          Why couldn’t they have included a SIM card spot? Ughh. So Jeff, I will now have 3 routers if I get this CellSpot thingy…Comcast, TMO@home router and now CellSpot. Is this an issue? Can I name all three the same wireless network name? Not completely tech dumb, but this is getting confusing…

        • BillSmitty

          …And I will probably need the CellSpot, service in the casa is terrible. Wifey wants to move to Verizon because of it and almost can’t blame her…my new work cell is Verizon and works like a charm.

      • Michael Tran

        Thanks for the information. Very helpful!

    • Dustin

      I’d imagine you could run it as a stand alone Access Point, but you would not get the QoS benefit, as that has to happen at your router for any real effect….the router’s firmware would have to allow you to switch it to AP mode…probably be easier to use your existing router as the extender, and this as your main router.

  • Michael Tran

    Can you just use this as an network extender? I was just going to plug an ethernet into it and extend it to another part of the house.

  • Huzaifa

    Any word on iPhone 6 pricing on T-mobile?

    • josh_yth
    • jonathan3579

      The same as unlocked most likely.

      • Huzaifa

        Yeah i Know! but will it be $0 down or $100 down?

        • Cam Bunton

          They’re not saying yet..

    • jonathan3579

      The same as unlocked most likely.

    • Goat

      I believe this information will be revealed later on in the week :)

      • Huzaifa

        I mean its already wednesday! you should be able to order it in less than 36 hours and no pricing yet.

        • Aooga

          For what? It’s $0 down with good credit and 649+tax / 24 months.

        • Huzaifa

          Okay thanks!

  • UMA_Fan

    Very cool that this is microcell as well.

    Hopefully they will work with shopping malls and businesses and get these deployed out there

    • Baxter DeBerry

      no confirmation as to if it is a microcell or just a modified router with changed QOS

  • UMA_Fan

    Very cool that this is microcell as well.

    Hopefully they will work with shopping malls and businesses and get these deployed out there

  • UMA_Fan

    What happens to the cell service extender part when you take this overseas?

  • ColorMeConfused

    So this is simply a T-mobile branded wifi router, and that I will need a wifi-calling enabled device, right? Or will it actually provide me 5 bars of cell coverage (as seen by my phone), and then route my call over the network on the router?

    • Cam Bunton

      It’s a router, but also your own personal cell tower. Gives you great Wi-Fi and cellular in your home.

      • randomnerd_number38

        I think you’re mistaken here Cam, I see nothing in the support document that indicates cell coverage, it purely a wifi router optimized for wifi calling

        • Cam Bunton

          Yeah.. I’m starting to think you’re right. Let me check up on this..

        • honestabe

          It’s weird, I could have sworn that the promo videos with the guy in the basement had a little graphic of cellular bars

  • Brian

    Here’s the fcc info on it
    http://fccid.net/document.php?id=2344476

  • Alex Zapata

    1900 gigabits? Are you sure. We’ve got 10Gb fiber at my office for local traffic, but that’s it. I think that’s a typo because 1900Mb/s is more reasonable on 802.11ac unless.

    • Cam Bunton

      Clearly says “1900 gigabit router”

      • Alex Zapata

        I think they’ve got a typo on their hands. Because if they’re getting 1900 gigabits on that thing I’m genuinely impressed.

        • Aooga

          Yeah it’s 1900 Mb/s. That’s AC speed.

        • Cam Bunton

          Yeah. Commas save lives. It’s a 1900Mbps, gigabit router.

        • Alex Zapata

          That’s what I figured. Shame on TMO!

        • eneka

          I’m pretty sure this is based off of the RT-AC68U/R which is a gigabit router. 1900 refers to Mb/s The name is “Wireless-AC1900[SPACE] gigabit router

  • Alex Zapata

    1900 gigabits? Are you sure. We’ve got 10Gb fiber at my office for local traffic, but that’s it. I think that’s a typo because 1900Mb/s is more reasonable on 802.11ac unless.

  • B-Mobile

    Silly question, the video showed a guy in a basement and receiving a call (from mom) over wifi. will i benefit with 4-5 bars of 4GLTE if i’m on cellular in the house, or is this just a wifi signal booster?

    • Bryce

      It’s basically a WiFi router sold through T-Mobile so no, it doesn’t help your cellular connection at all.

      • B-Mobile

        i’ll wait for the press release, but i’m already using the “window sill signal booster” would love if this router can integrate t-mobile signal boosting into this router and not just wifi coverage

        • CalicoKJ

          I’m with you there…unfortunately, it’s just WiFi.

      • UMA_Fan

        This actually boosts cellular reception as well.

        • inquiring_minds

          You sure about that? Got a source?

        • Bryce

          No it doesn’t, it’s a glorified router. All they’re doing is providing you with a router so that you can make WiFi calls indoors. It’s designed specifically for fast data throughput (802.11ac) and it is prioritized for VoIP calling so your calls over WiFi (while on the router) are HD Voice quality. But then again if your connection is good enough. your call will be HD Voice quality.

          I’m not saying it isn’t a good router, it absolutely is. But it’s nothing more than that.

        • Cam Bunton

          From the looks of it, it’s just a router.

  • B-Mobile

    Silly question, the video showed a guy in a basement and receiving a call (from mom) over wifi. will i benefit with 4-5 bars of 4GLTE if i’m on cellular in the house, or is this just a wifi signal booster?

  • AnthonyRyan89

    Lets say i plug in the T-mo router into mine so i have two different signal’s would it work like that my current wireless and the new one also working at the same time?

    • HangmanSwingset

      Yes. I have my own router plugged into my Comcast modem/router combo. And mine is dual band so I have three different access points in my house.

      • AnthonyRyan89

        i have that AT&T Modem/Router and i just want something else to use for my online games. Plus signal sucks for me at my house and my current signal booster was good when i had the nexus 4 but when i got the nexus 5 and kind of sucks.

        • HangmanSwingset

          I’m a PC gamer, and Comcast’s router sucks massively for gaming. I imagine AT$T’s just as garbage.

          My motherboard supports 802.11ac, so I’ve been considering getting a new router as it is. It won’t improve your service speed though.

  • randomnerd_number38

    I don’t think this functions as a microcell, pretty sure it’s only for wifi calling capable phones. Makes wifi calling more reliable, but you still need to have a wifi calling – capable phone. Might wanna update the article.

    • Cam Bunton

      I’m gonna check up. I’m doubting now..

      • dayaram

        waiting on you cam. im also confused.

        thank u.

        • Cam Bunton

          Doesn’t look like there’s any cell capabilities built in. Just some slightly misleading marketing from T-Mo’s perspective.

        • Dr King

          I don’t think it was misleading. If anything Cam, I don’t think you understood the press conference because perhaps you were too busy tweeting or writing the article instead of paying attention. Can’t blame you, this blogging stuff is a rat race. However, saying they were misleading is bordering on you being a liar.

        • CalicoKJ

          I agree with Cam about it being misleading (and I watched the webcast from start to finish). While they didn’t come straight out and say it had cell tower capabilities, they certainly alluded to it with the cell tower + wifi graphics, images in the “commercial”, and some of the discussion. Some of it was hoping that the device had this capability until proven otherwise (guilty). It wasn’t clear anywhere as to exactly what this device did until people started asking question after question.

        • Dr King

          They didn’t say it, you inferred it from pictures… well okay, this tech stuff is a little over the heads of a few people.

          Come on, they didn’t say anything of the sort. The whole press conference was dominated by the words Wifi. Do you also think they made you think T-Mobile put up cell towers in the clouds so gogo service works on femtocells in the planes instead of just providing basic wifi technology? Maybe Cam just read way too much into this routers leak he published a fews days or weeks ago and he’s compensating by trying to allude he was mislead. He mislead himself possibly if that was the case. He assumed too much.

          I saw the press conference too. I teach humanities to kids so its not like I have some advanced background to understand this stuff either.

    • I think that you’re right. The router manual (v. goo{dot}gl/DsBYcb ) doesn’t mention anything about the cellular network. Asus doesn’t even recommend placing it near a window, as signal boosters require. That’s why it’s just $99. It may have special QoS and traffic shaping to make sure that the WiFi call goes through it smoothly, but that seems to be it.

  • chrisclue

    Available starting September 17th?

  • PercyNoMercy

    Will this slow down the connection from the isp by linking another router to it? Also does this extend the cell phone network or just for wifi calling?

    • Baxter DeBerry

      no its like bridging another router, this one is prob faster than the one you already got, and no one knows at this point if it has extra tmobile bands in it or if its just wifi calling only.. the way they said above makes many believe that they are using there own frequency’s as well but no confirmation on that

  • How do I get my free $25 refunded? By returning the device?

    • enoch861

      That’s how deposits work, so I’d assume so.

    • Cam Bunton

      Yep.

  • Redkumar

    hahahahah!! thank you tmobile for making it so much easier for me to leave you after 8 years. your latest announcement of letting you use my internet, that i pay for, to provide my own coverage because you cant…..wow, what was even the point of having this announcement.

    just so you guys know, cricket wireless is offering 100 bucks if you port your tmobile number over, and you get 10gbs of data for 55 a month including data. its using att network so you know you’ll have better speeds when you walk two feet out of major city parts.

    • Baxter DeBerry

      please leave.. seriously.. I will not be taking my business to AT&T after I know what they do with my money.. for what its worth if your that much into leaving than go

      • Redkumar

        How about you calm your tatas and stop putting tmobile on a pedestal. I gave them over 7 years and they are not any better. Prepaid has lapped them. I’m out and the ones who don’t aren’t drinking the kool – aid know what I mean.

    • Adrayven

      Eh? They practically give you an AC router and you complain? eh? You already pay for your internet? why not use it? durrr

      • Aaron Peromsik

        The point is that you can make wifi calls already without paying T-Mobile for service. Google made it easier today with the upgraded Hangouts app, but there are lots of other apps that offer this too.

      • Redkumar

        I don’t know anyone who has gotten Internet and no router. This router non-news from. Tmobile won’t help me out when I leave the house because I already use my home Internet when I’m there. You don’t seem to be able to comprehend why this doesn’t help or is even worth talking about, let alone a “uncarrier” move.

    • Danny Lewis

      The other networks have had these things for years. T-Mo actually has one that they won’t charge you for aside from the $25 fee. I have the 802.11n version of this router and it is top shelf. I will never buy a cheap Wi-fi router ever again. It has been rock solid. If I was still with T-Mo, I would get this in a heart beat!

    • UMA_Fan

      Best of all when you go to a place Cricket doesn’t have coverage they will do nothing for you. Enjoy.

  • J.J.

    I’m still confused. I have Verizon FiOS. So if I completely canceled my service I would have to give my cable modem/router back to Verizon. So would I only need to purchase a run of the mill cable modem and hook that up to T-Mobile cell spot?

    • Baxter DeBerry

      exactly correct, you just need a regular cable modem, but BUT you can however run this with your existing router also..

      • J.J.

        OK great thx. I get great T-Mobile service in all spots in my house so I am only interested in one of these to completely replace my FiOS service.

        • Baxter DeBerry

          this wont give ya mobile data for home usage, you will still need a isp

        • J.J.

          Understood thx folks. Guess I’m out of luck lol.

        • Adrayven

          Wait.. umm… replace? this requires an existing internet service like FiOS or Cable or DSL.. it doesn’t provide internet itself..

          It’s basically a top end router setup to prioritize WiFi calling to ensure quality calls. Side benefit, all other AC systems in your house also get kick butt AC WiFi.. ($200 value router basically)

        • Gary Hernandez

          You will still need internet service.

        • Duh

          It won’t replace your Fios service idiot. It only replaces a router you might be using with Fios service. That’s like thinking oh T-Mobile is giving away a phone device, so now I can cancel my Verizon phone service because a phone doesn’t require service.

        • J.J.

          Wow. Name calling to a person you don’t know on a tech site forum over a honest question. Thx for your reply. Killing them with kindness lol

    • UMA_Fan

      You could just Ethernet out from your Verizon router to the tmobile one. You would have two separate wifi networks though. You could use the tmobile one exclusively for calling.

  • CalicoKJ

    Color me confused as well…on the Asus specs page it talks about “3G/4G data sharing”, but there is nothing on the T-Mo page to indicate anything other than WiFi service, which is disappointing to me.

    • Cam Bunton

      Yeah, I think that means you can plug in a 3G/4G device like a mobile internet dongle, and use the router as a way to connect to the device.

      • CalicoKJ

        I think you’re right unfortunately…
        From T-Mobile’s Facebook page:
        “I am very sorry but the phone will need to have WiFi calling capabilities
        to use this service and the phone has to have the ability to connect to
        a WiFi network to utilize WiFi calling.”
        So unless you get a better answer Cam, I’m thinking it’s just a router. A pretty damn nice router, but I’m no longer sure I will get it since the one I have works great.

    • Tinger12

      I have the ASUS branded product. It has a usb 2 port and a usb 3 port. You can connect a cellular data ‘stick’ and use it as an internet connection over cellular data. You can also set it up as a bridge to your hotspot device to use with other Ethernet devices. Not sure why the Tmobile branded one would be of benefit beyond the cost.

      • maximus1901

        You can use a vzw or att lte USB stick lol

      • CalicoKJ

        Other than prioritizing the WiFi call data, which my NetGear doesn’t do, and being an AC router I’m seeing no benefits. Not going to rush out and get it at launch as what I have works.

    • james

      it is optimized to work with tmobile wifi calling it prioritises calls

  • Joe Hays

    I just called T-Mobile, they had no clue about these yet. Once they did their digging and I got transfered the guy said they are not available yet and to go to their newsroom site to look for updates on when they will be available. The earliest would be October since they will not be released until the 4th quarter.

    • james

      september 17 th just got off phone

  • Outrager

    I was in the market for a gigabit router anyway and getting this for free would be a pretty great way of saving money.

    • maximus1901

      Only if you had certain phones on your plan.

      • Outrager

        I got off a Live Chat with a rep and they said I’m eligible and that it would come out September 17th.

        • maximus1901

          What phone(s) do you have?

        • Outrager

          iPhone 4, 4S, 5S, and Nexus 4.
          I had no idea it was phone dependent.

        • maximus1901

          You using all of them actively on tmobile?

        • Outrager

          Yeah. Just to be clear, you’re not like some private investigator trying to get all my information a little at a time, right?

        • maximus1901

          Trying to figure out which of those phones got you eligible for the router.

        • Outrager

          I’m not sure. In the end the rep could have just been flat wrong and I’m not actually eligible.

        • Duh

          non of those phones have wifi calling capabilities so your fullof$hite

          lol at all the idiots that believe you.

        • Outrager

          Oh yeah, I’m full of shit. It couldn’t have been that I was given the wrong information by the Live Chat rep. Yup. Makes sense that I made it all up.

        • ZxyLady

          From what I understand, you can get this router but they are offering people to “jump” to a WiFi calling capable phone to get the router. So maybe he does qualify IF HE CHANGES PHONES

        • Duh

          Oh, so you were there when he made the call, thanks for clearing that up… I smell a lot of BS on this site today.

          That said, what you concocted sounds legit. What he said still smells like something I might regretfully accidentally step on while at a dairy farm.

        • Outrager

          My original reply is under moderation so let me write another one.
          I didn’t make anything up. I don’t even know why someone would. It could just be that the Live Chat rep got their information wrong.

        • KeepU

          It is the 5s which will get wifi calling with ios 8

  • Guest

    Anyone have any luck getting one? (I imagine they will go quickly at least from the tech savy people calling in). I got told avail around the 17th

  • Guest

    From T-Mobile’s Facebook page:
    “I am very sorry but the phone will need to have WiFi calling capabilities
    to use this service and the phone has to have the ability to connect to
    a WiFi network to utilize WiFi calling.”
    So unless you get a better answer Cam, I’m thinking it’s just a router. A pretty damn nice router, but I’m no longer sure I will get it since the one I have works great.

  • lostinspace

    Someone please help. I don’t understand what this is at all. If you have Internet in your home and r mobile already offers free WiFi calling …than why is the cell spot needed. .I’m so confused. Please keep the jokes about my question to a minimum because I just entered the world after being away for a long time

    • guest

      its not needed. They are offering for the rare souls who don’t already have wi-fi… though this is a good product it might be worth upgrading

      • Evan Lam

        The router is really good and for $99, its a really good deal and is work taking a look at, even if you already have wi-fi. My house currently has a N600 router so this would be a pretty good upgrade. Especially considering that this is cheaper than what I got my current router for lol.

    • Cam Bunton

      T-Mobile would tell you it’s because of the way it’s been optimized to prioritize WI-FI calls.. Proprietary technology and all that..

      • Thomas Vu

        Quality of service. It’ll take packets that are being used for voice and prioritize them over all other traffic. Or as John Legere said it, “Joe Shmo will not hog all the bandwidth looking at porn and will still be okay”

        • J Cav the Great

          Joe Shmo Jr. Will not hog all the bandwidth while looking at porn and Joe Shmoe will be okay….that’s what you meant.

      • ggfb20

        What about the cel-fi did they mention anything about the new one that supports lte?

        • Duh

          No they did brah. Just a lot around wifi and a little bit about this router.

  • BlackJu

    Revolutionizing the cell industry… Introducing WiFi routers! But it is a good price I guess. Maybe mine will die and give me an excuse to upgrade. Gotta love marketing.

  • Tinger12

    So it’s a router with QoS settings to make sure your WiFi calling gets highest priority and the most bandwidth. If it was a true cell point, any phone registered on Tmobile’s network would be able to connect through this. Marking is all it is.

    • Duh

      Yes and no. You realize how many idiots didn’t understand what you wrote? One dude below was minutes away from cancelling his FiOS internet service because he believed (and I’m sure he’s not the only one) that it ran on magic or something. So for the majority of people it eliminates the correct configuration necessary. So its not just marketing.

    • patt

      If you have slow internet number of people wont matter. I don’t currently have tmo but have verizoj fios 75/75 and sometikes my wifi is shitty because of so many wifi aps next to me and walls arouns the house, i just need to put my router higher so i can have better signal.

  • J Cav the Great

    I’m willing to try this..I use WiFi calling at home..but when Im in room upstairs and close my door…quality drops…and also when my whole family is on WiFi.

  • philyew

    I’ve never bothered with wifi calling much in the past so can someone tell me how the current capability using a regular router handles incoming calls? If you have zero cellular signal, but are set up fro wifi calling, can you receive the incoming call?

    If so, then I see little distinction in what TM are offering today – other than that it’s a high quality router for nothing (It’s a pity I bought a top-end router a couple of months ago).

    If not, then the promotion made a big deal about being able to receive in incoming call where it was not previously possible.

    • TheCudder

      I have a Linksys EA6500 and I’ve never had issues with Wi-Fi calling on my HTC One M7. The cellular connection is disabled when a WiFi call takes place and Wi-Fi calling will enable it self when there is no signal available and you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

      • philyew

        The specific question I had was about incoming calls. Can you receive them when you have no cellular signal?

        • iambryan

          Yes you can still receive calls as you normally would on a Cell Signal. I used it all the time before I switched to the One+

        • philyew

          Thanks for the clarification. Unfortunately, it confirms my fears that Uncarrier 7.0 is more of a marketing exercise than anything groundbreaking.

          Of course, a high-end router for free is not to be sneered at, but given that we were able to achieve pretty much the same functionality before, it hardly is as “Uncarrier” as Legere’s hype would suggest.

          On another note, is that the OnePlus One you are now using? How is it? I’ve been wanting to get one, but am frustrated by the lack of direct sales channels.

  • Mike Palomba

    If anyone is looking to sign up for tmobile or has signed up in the last 60 days email me. We can both get free unlimited data for a year. I can just say I refered you and we both get it free for a year

  • Ky

    If you already have wifi at home, 95% of T-mobile phones do by now, this announcement changes nothing. Why do I need this Microcell if I already have “wifi” for the “wifi calling” at this location?

    Still trying to figure out how is this news release worth the “7.0”

    • CalicoKJ

      You don’t, but if your router is old, or you’re having call quality issues with it, this is a really good deal to replace it. It’s not a cheap router, so you’re getting a deal even if you purchase it outright.

    • Matt

      I honestly have no clue, but perhaps some guesses:

      1. QOS will obviously be preconfigured for T-Mobile WiFi calling by default.
      2. Troubleshooting tools or tabs created within the Asus interface to allow T-Mobile support to easily get analytics when troubleshooting “WiFi calling” problems. (Possible that the time their call reps spend troubleshooting costs the company more than routers)
      3. I don’t think this is possible, but perhaps someone more versed in wireless could speak up. Could the Asus routers firmware be modified to allow WiFi calling functionality through without having to authenticate against Wireless security (i.e. WPA2). Or some revision of this.

      #1 and #2 certainly seem most plausible to me. Simply sharing ideas.

      • Ky

        Very interesting idea. If #2 is really what they are doing, they haven’t communicated that very well.

        • Matt

          To be clear I don’t think this is something that T-Mobile can access without the customer. I would envision it being more along the lines of T-Mobile having a standard place to direct the customer to and share some data points. Helps call out things like them blaming WiFi calling when their kids were really saturating the link, latency issues not the fault of t-mob, etc.

          They didn’t really share too many details at all today, and I don’t think we ever get that from these types of events. The details and specifics will come out closer to release date…which could be a month away.

          It would also make sense that the WiFi update today included logic that could be leveraged by the Asus router when utilized.

      • eneka

        If the hardware is the same as the RTAC68, then I’m pretty sure it would be relatively easy to implement it since there are actually cute a few custom firmwares for it. I actually have an RTAC68 and i’m running merlin

    • Roboito

      The TMO router will have the ability to hand off calls to and from VoLTE cell connections. All other Wi-Fi calls right now end when the signal dies. The handoff technology is the thing TMO is pushing with the router in 7.0 (plus greater awareness in wi-fi calling in general), not specifically the presence of wi-fi calling that’s already been around. If you look at the site they put up, there are only a number of phones that support this handoff within their software. Older phones may have wi-fi calling, but not the ability to hand-off with this ASUS router.

      • Duh

        I seriously doubt the handoff capability is unique to the asus router. Its a usesless upgrade if thats the case. Why would I care about handoff while stationary while at home in most use cases. I think you misheard, and I hope your wrong. Handoff only working at home if you have the asus router or whereever you have it seems like lame feature to highlight.

        I think the handoff should be for all wifi calls where you have VoLTE available and youre nearing a “handoff point” or range of any wifi connection.

  • Matt

    I hope is not frowned upon to cite other sources, but Roger Cheng’s article initially makes me think that it is either QOS settings pre-configured within the router or QOS settings baked into a custom firmware from Asus. I doubt Femtocell technology was added.

    “The router is designed to recognize and prioritize T-Mobile calls, ensuring that a relative’s “Warcraft” session isn’t clogging up the bandwidth. The router can work alongside an existing Wi-Fi router in the home too.”

    • iambryan

      I doubt many people are running AC1900 at home. Hell i’m running a linksys E3000 so this router would be a huge upgrade for me.
      I also have the Cel-Fi from t-mobile but I can return it if I decide to pick up one of these. The only issue I have at the moment is i’m running on a One+ so wifi calling as far as I know won’t work on it.

      • Matt

        Yeah absolutely. Most of these phones have AC modems in them so it helps put the best foot forward for the next ~2 years to bridge the gap until they have spectrum to render it moot.

        I could even make the argument that someone with a recent AC router could be better off selling it used and then sending $25 of that to T-Mobile to get the Asus. You’ll get a router configured to prioritize your WiFi calling and also walk away with some $ in your pocket for whatever.

        • iambryan

          that and this is one of the top of the line consumer AC1900 router out right now.
          I ran the Tmo branded Linksys WRT years back and those were solid.
          Can’t wait to pick up couple of these. I tweeted tmo help and they said 25 deposit for qualified customers or $99 buy outright.

  • james

    i t is designed for cell phones it gives your phone lte capabilities

    • Duh

      another idiot spewing nonsense…

      • fentonr

        No kidding…

  • james

    just talked to tech and she said that it priortizes wifi calling over other traffic this is a great router

  • quist

    OK. Talk to me like I’m a 5 year old

    I currently have a Netgear 150. Can I just replace that with this ASUS one? I’m assuming this ASUS one will push out a much stronger signal for all of my devices, yes?

    • Matt

      Yes. It is a no brainer for you. You will get a router capable of AC standard for $25, which is faster for any product you own that works with AC technology. This router would cost you $199 new from Amazon today.

      It is also possible that the Asus router has much better range than your current router, resulting in a stronger signal throughout your home. Smallnetbuilder has this ranked #2 out of all routers for wireless range. It is ranked #3 for total router. See their ranking options here:

      http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/rankers/router/ranking/AC1900?rank=23

    • Duh

      Yes. You can give your other one away to goodwill – don’t just throw it away.

      • quist

        Yeah, I hate chucking stuff that still works.

        I’d try to make a bridge, but wouldn’t have the foggiest idea how to do so, lol

    • monkeybutts

      You can use the netgear as a repeater to make the signal go even further.

      • quist

        Can you point me to a site that might explain it to a simpleton like me?

        • steveb944

          http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/support/router-database

          Good luck. I was able to set one up after a couple hours.

        • nxtiak

          This Asus Ac68 router is very high end, it costs $200beats the crap out of your current router. Signals are great and far reaching.

    • Thomas Su

      Yes.

  • Jay Holm

    I’m having a hard time understanding the excitement with this. How exactly is this different from the wifi calling we already have???

    • Matt

      It isn’t that exciting really. Some good things came out of it for some people, but relative to other Uncannier announcements I think it is pretty meh. Where there is goodness:

      1. People that don’t have a WiFi phone can get one easily if they sign up for Jump. If you already have one then you won’t care about this.

      2. WiFi calling has been improved/updated somehow. I think the minimum we know is it has been updated to allow VoLTE to WiFi Calling transfer without call drops. Anything more is a guess at this point unless I missed a detail.

      3. People with older routers get a great path to upgrade to a $200 router for only $25 deposit. The router will prioritize T-Mobile WiFi calling at a minimum, thus potentially eliminated some wifi calling problems some people experience.

      4. People that fly a lot can text for free and listen to voicemails.

      So there are some new things, but Uncannier worthy? Looks like the Uncarrier movement is starting to plateau.

      • Duh

        Excellent summary. You should work the press conferences for TMO news.

        However, this is uncarrier news and its better than Meh if you really think about it from a prospective or old customer. Let me know any other carrier (that is relevant) that does the above? Its very uncarrier. I left most of my lines for AT&T except for a few devices and the primary reason was because the iphone did not include wifi calling – i’m talking carrier grade wifi calling. At the time indoor coverage was a significant issue. As a little background I joined T-Mobile when I discovered their blackberry plans were good value and had wifi calling. Now all of T-Mobile’s device portfolio includes that functionality (even the irrelevant carrier with a couple wifi calling capable devices [Sprint] cant come anywhere close to that statement) and in the near future T-Mobile is the only one that has this capability with the king of all smarphone the iphone (im being dramatic and partisan here). Its also great when travelling.

        The scope of the announcement perhaps was underwhelming, but the news is great news for many.

        • Matt

          I think there is goodness here, but where I personally get a little “meh” is one specific item today…

          1. The leadership team preaches honesty, but then makes a comment that “every WiFi connection just became a T-Mobile Tower!”

          For starters, this did not *just* happen. Second, every WiFi connection is a coy play on words. By branding it “WiFi connection” they can fall back on “connection assumes you’ve authenticated.” However this isn’t how the masses will interpret this, and a WiFi connection can’t be started without a WiFi password most places WiFi exists. More WiFi connections are secured than not these days so this is a big exaggeration when you recognize how most people will infer it.

        • Duh

          Come on. You have to assume the user has access to wifi. It sounds better than, “every authenticated WiFi connection just became a T-Mobile Tower!”. You’re being too nitpicky here. I’m a little envious and will be moving a couple lines back to T-Mobile at years end and save a few bucks doing so now that I know the iPhone 6 has wifi calling.

          Anyway, I respect your point.

        • Matt

          Sure. I think as long as I’m in my home that is true. I live in the Mountains, though, and when T-Mobile signal certainly can suffer is in mountain towns. Many times I haven’t been able to even make a WiFi call because every business access point is secured. So that leaves me having to wander around hoping to find one, or having to buy some token item so I can get the WiFi password. Situations like this frame my position.

          For the record I “get” why they are branding it this way. It allows them to catch some headlines, expand upon what most iPhone users don’t even understand WiFi calling (Apple didn’t do it justice yesterday), and hopefully fuel further growth in this iOS space as well as existing Android. The more people that join T-Mobile the closer they will get to profitability, and a profitable T-Mobile is probably better for all of us as it gives them even more flexibility.

          I just don’t love it is all. I loved other Uncarrier announcements.

        • Mike Palomba

          If you think of switching back to T-Mobile because now all of their phones, including the iPhone, have wifi calling let me know. I can say I referred you and we both get unlimited data free for a year.

    • fentonr

      Its not really. Its a nice router and might do some prioritization but its basically just a nice router.

  • james

    i have dlink ac 1400 so im excited for 25 bucks bring it on ill take my dlink to work

  • Bryan Pizzuti

    Look like my AC68R

    • Matt

      If I recall correctly “R” in the Asus just means Retail…bought from Best Buy, etc.

    • eneka

      yup, seems to be the exact same thing but with tweaked QoS settings.

  • Guest

    Could I “buy” this and use it as a 2nd router off my current one or will that cause issues since they are different brands but its also 1900mbps.

    • Duh

      How about reading the threads a bit before asking a lazy borderline stupid question?

    • Matt

      Good question. Yes you can, but one thing this article doesn’t call out is that, which I can almost guarantee will be in the instructions, is that you’d want this Asus router connected directly to your modem and then hang your existing router off it. Reasoning is if you do it the other way around all your other devices could skip the QOS settings baked into the Asus router to help prioritize WiFi calling traffic by simply going to your existing router, which is after the Asus router in the chain. You would want everything ultimately routing through the Asus before your dsl/cable modem to take advantage of the QOS configurations for WiFi calling.

      Also keep in consideration that standard challenges with frequency range overlap with two routers in the same house will apply here too.

  • pj4osu

    Do I have to go into a store to pick up this router I couldn’t find it on the website.

    • Duh

      It’s made in China. Try going there. Maybe they know.

      p.s. Do you typically shop for stuff online that isn’t being sold until in the future?

      • pj4osu

        way to be a tool I didn’t see anywhere in this article saying it wasn’t available yet or when it would be available therefore that is why I asked the question

        • Duh

          So your mouse can’t scroll down to the brief comments section? Anyone who answers your question is a tool for doing your lazy ar$e a reading favor.

        • pj4osu

          shut up some of us have a real life and don’t have time to scroll through thousands of comments I went through like 50-100 and didn’t see an answer but I do appreciate you answering my question. Thanks.

    • #12thFan

      Read my post above ….

      • tech4423

        You do know 4th quarter starts in 2 weeks right

        • #12thFan

          yes, I am aware of that. but she also implied that they were not even scheduled to come in until late Oct.

    • #12thFan

      C/S said they would not be available until 4th quarter

    • Me

      You need to wait 3 more days before it goes online.

  • steveb944

    Can’t wait to pick this up!

    • #12thFan

      You’ll be waiting like everyone else. I had C/S on the phone during the announcement, told me that they would not even be available until 4th Qtr! WTH !

      • steveb944

        Dang. Thanks for the info.

  • ianken

    So it’s an Asus AC68U. With a tmobile sticker on it. I guess the net newbs will buy it, and they should. Wi-Fi calling works just fine with a regular AC68 or 66.

    The price is awesome though, if there are no strings attached. Asus makes solid routers.

    Would rather have a micro cell. My router is fine and I rarely rub stock roms.

    • IamTwone

      The price is really great just bought a refurbished AC66U for $120 wish i would of waited.

  • Alex

    Damn what if your current modem has wifi built into it, like the one att, gives u?
    All in one modem/router. This sucks is there any way around it or disable the wifi?

    • CalicoKJ

      Most likely, yes there is a way. I know on my all-in-one (made by Motorola but provided by my cable company), I was able to login and turn off the wireless and routing functions. Some companies (Comcast I know is one) may make you call in. If you need to call in, tell them you want to “bridge” your current device to add a third party router.

  • Don Goyo

    If everyone was able to connect then this announcement will be really worth of an “uncarrier phase”… I think it’s just marketing for the iPhone users.

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    WiFi calling works fine on my wndr3700

    Cel fi rs3 for me

  • PHL

    I’m speculating here, but perhaps this is part of a much grander overall strategy. The first step is to get all of their phones to work with wifi-calling. That means getting many users to upgrade their older handsets, even if they are working perfectly fine on the regular cell towers.

    The next step would be to start giving away millions of these routers to small businesses around the country. Each one could be preconfigured with a fully-open guest network SSID that will only support wifi-calling. Perhaps you could even limit it to T-Mobile wifi-calling. I’d venture to guess that most small businesses have some form of broadband internet, even if they don’t offer public wifi. If not, they probably will before too long.

    What you’ve accomplished, then, is a way to get calling and texting capabilities in millions of remote “wifi-islands” in rural America. T-Mobile could even offer to pay a small amount, $10-20 a month perhaps, towards a business’ ISP cost in exchange for allowing TMO users to access their wifi WITHOUT HAVING TO AUTHENTICATE.

    So imagine, you’re driving down a highway in the middle of nowhere. Up ahead, a small restaurant/gas station/whatever. As soon as you pull into a parking spot, all of a sudden you’ve got the ability to call or text whoever you want. Then perhaps for a small fee (or you walk in and make a purchase) you can get wifi data as well. As a side benefit, TMO offloads a bunch of voice and IP traffic in metropolitan areas so that they can continue to trump up their “Data-Strong” network.

    I can also imagine in the not-too-distant future, 10-20 years from now maybe, where cell towers are virtually obsolete becaue wifi is available almost everywhere. Maybe 20-30 years from now, the interstate highway system will deploy roadside hotspots along every stretch of rural roadway, so that you can always be connected. Imagine battery-backed, solar powered Access Points every few hundred feet that communicate between each other over a virtual backbone.

    Just a thought.

    • dontsh00tmesanta

      I would never share my broadband connection with anyone else. Rs3 for me plzlol

      • PHL

        Not talking about you personally, but I think many businesses would be willing to do so if it drives traffic to their door. Imagine you come to a corner with a Burger King and a Taco Bell. You would prefer to eat at Taco Bell, but Burger King offers WiFi and Taco Bell doesn’t. Where do you go?

        Now extend that scenario to every conceivable mom-and-pop establishment out there. WiFi access could become to be expected, like air-conditioning and clean bathrooms. OK, the clean bathrooms are probably a pipe dream, but you get my point.

        There’s a reason that Starbucks offers free WiFi.

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          I have generally great tmo signal and unlimited I’m ok lol

          Businesses won’t need this for WiFi they can get a router with WiFi on their own

        • PHL

          Of course most of them already can. I’m not talking about McDonalds or K-Mart. I’m talking about the the little old lady that runs the floral shop at the end of the road. The guy that wakes up at 3am 7 days a week to make donuts. The “last gas for 50 miles” gas station. If they are offered a top-flight router for free from TMO, why wouldn’t they accept it. The key point is that the router is a benevolent (hopefully) trojan horse that will allow TMO to offer voice and text service hundreds of miles away from the nearest tower.

          Imagine that TMO enters partnerships with a thousand different mini-ISP’s just like they are doing with Gogo for in-flight texting. That’s where I think they are going with this. If you have a broadband connection, you can effectively become a public TMO cellsite. The key is whether that capability is a business advantage.

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          Still could just get a router lol

        • PHL

          My point is, many small businesses don’t need a wireless router. They just plug their one laptop into the DSL modem that they get from the phone company, and that fully satisfies their business needs. And for 95% of business hours, their DSL line goes unused because the laptop owner is busy actually tending to customers.

          Along comes TMO and provides a free or low-cost top-of-the-line wireless router, and that business now becomes a magnet for mobile phone users. That business can now compete with Starbucks and McDonalds in a very limited way without having to hire an IT guy and a lawyer to set up a public wifi hotspot and deal with the legal risks.

        • archerian

          So the business starts handing out their WiFi credentials to anyone who has a T-mobile phone? Nice! I’d love to see all small businesses do that.

        • PHL

          TCP/IP is a very robust protocol. A router could be configured to only allow specific ports and IP address to be available. It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. It would be very conceivable that TMO/Asus can provide a firmware update somewhere down the line where, by default, TMO voice/sms traffic is allowed, but not http or ftp packets.

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          I see what your saying just remember I said I wouldn’t need it lol

          Do need an rs3

    • PHL

      One other benefit for TMO. I’m pretty certain that these routers need to be returned if/when you cancel your qualifying post-paid plan. If that happens, most people would then need to purchase another router for at least $50 or so. Plus they’d have to install and configure their new router, and many people just don’t have the technical know-how to do so.

      Essentially then, the Cellspot router, like the EIP, becomes a pair of golden handcuffs. There’s no ETF, but there will be some cost and/or pain associated with leaving for another carrier.

      • pd

        You are damn correct.

  • Andrew N Jensen

    So if this is just a wifi router that prioritizes wifi calling it would be really cool if it didn’t require a pass code for wifi calling. Now that way You could constantly benefit from the buying of these routers even if someone won’t hand out their password as it would allow you to route through them as if the we’re truly cell towers.

  • mingkee

    I will get one as part of my home LAN upgrade, and I will buy and configure other routers as access points to ensure there’s no dead spot.

    • PHL

      That’s exactly what I’m planning. I’ve got an old Pre-N router that’s about 6 or 7 years old. I was planning on replacing it anyway. Looks like I can save a hundred bucks by just getting the TMO router.

  • pd

    Not everyone will be eligible to get these devices. It is region based as they don’t have license to sell these in all states. Also within a region it is governed by longitude and latitude.

    • PHL

      Pardon my French, but WTF you talking about? This is basically the same as any wifi router that you would purchase from Best Buy or Amazon.

      • Dude

        I would recommend you stick to French. Your English is way poor. These devices are FCC controlled.

        • PHL

          Of course they are, along with your laptop and every other wireless device sold at Radio Shack and Sears and Target and Walmart.

          What’s your point?

  • Underwhelming Uncarrier!

    Give me a strong signal at home and beyond 30mls around it and then I’ll be impressed.

  • archerian

    Wow this is great news… if it was 2007… T-mobile is hyping WiFi calling which they launched in 2007 and offering a QOS enabled router, which they did in 2008.. check out the WRT54G-TM which was offered around 2009 with the same “capabilities” for WiFi calling … John Legere doesn’t know or think there are T-mobile customers who have been around earlier than 2010 I guess…

    • PHL

      You’re missing the point. This isn’t about offering wifi calling as a feature, this is about PUSHING wifi calling to everyone that currently thinks they don’t need it. It’s going to be part of a fundamental shift in how mobile phones connect to the cloud. The key is the VoLTE and texting is just another cloud protocol. And if VoLTE is just part of the cloud, TMO nullifies the HUGE advantages that ATT and VZW have in cellular infrastructure. Cell towers and spectrum become relatively less important as time goes on.

      • archerian

        Wifi calling is available only when you can connect to a reliable Wifi network .. if you don’t have great coverage at home, chances are you will move to a carrier who does rather than get T-mobile and use your own Wi-Fi to “gain” coverage. While traveling, most users cannot rely on having Wi-Fi calling capabilities in lieu of actual spectral coverage as they cannot be sure of being able to connect to all possible WiFi locations and they cannot even be sure where these connections exist.

        Cell towers and spectrum can never become less important as they will always be the primary means of mobile connectivity. Of course using WiFi can help off load traffic and “extend” coverage but it will never be any significant competition to carriers who have traditional coverage. If that were they case, IP telephony would have taken off far more than it has and no one would really need cellular service. Traditional cellular service offers reliability and mobility that cannot be offered by Wifi yet. I’m not complaining – WiFi wasn’t meant to be a geographically broad technology to being with so using it to gain coverage will be patchwork literally.

        • Dan Hesse

          WTF are you mumbling about? I’m taking 2 lines back to T-Mobile from AT&T precisely because of the wifi capability now available on the new iphone. Your verbal diarrhea is pure BS. Good luck using “spectral” coverage while traveling in Europe and Latin America if you’re on the 2 other relevant carriers. Oh you have roaming you say? Have fun adding $200 extra to your cost of travel for minimal data and voice / sms use while abroad. I think I’ll use that to upgrade both legs of my international flights an if gogo is available during those flights have fun paying for it or good like with that spectral reach of those low tech carriers miles in the air.

          You’re a clueless clown because you’re clearing missing the point. I also love how you perfume BS with nonsense. T-Mobile is hands down the carrier of the future – today – for this last of the famous international playboys…

        • archerian

          You are quite mistaken – in spite of what T-mobile would make you believe, most people would rather have good coverage domestically than international roaming perks. It helps to read.

        • Dan Hesse

          Wrong again, you just don’t get it at all. I used the international aspect in hopes of unblinding you, but your are one dense slow dude.
          T-Mobile just added voice / text coverage incrementally to its spectral assets. That’s a big deal because the possibilities are boundless. You’re stuck in the basement stack of a library at UC Berkeley, where no cellular signal penetrates, no problem, wifi coverage has you covered. You’re on a ship in Great Lakes where there are many cellular dead spots, no problem, you can use the ships wifi signal. You work for Credit Suisse in midtown manhattan where if your office is centrally located so your lucky if can get iffy 1 bar of Verizon coverage, no problem your phone works ALSO over wifi.
          Your stuck and the other 2 relevant carriers are stuck in the 1990s cellular voice and text paradigm. This is about the future. And the technology doesn’t even seem all that difficult to implement, so it’s a little confusing why the other 2 relevant carriers implement it, even if just domestically. It’s real incremental coverage in areas that or only limited by the imagination.

        • archerian

          I have been using UMA for around 7 years, and one of my SIM cards is used by a relative abroad since 2010 – I know how useful it is. My point is this – its not something new T-mobile is bringing out as Uncarrier, and it can only go so far. Enabling WiFi calling on all phones doesnt absolve T-mobile of providing native coverage.

          Good luck getting WiFi calling to connect over a ships WiFi – I don’t know about you, but WiFi on ships I have traveled isn’t cheap or steady for most parts. I have tried connecting to UMA over several networks – it works only when the signal is good and when VPN tunneling is supported. Not all the places you can use WiFi for browsing/facebook will work.

          You are ignorant of the fact that WiFi based coverage extension is actually common for other carriers too. ATT actually has WiFi based signal boosters – you dont even need a WiFi enabled phone – it behaves as a small cell tower. So while you are thinking of moving from ATT to T-Mobile for WiFi calling, you should have checked out what ATT offers for such scenarios.

        • PHL

          WiFi might be costly, but in some scenarios it could be worth every penny.

          This isn’t just about data. Data is generally a luxury. This is about providing CORE communications services in areas that generally aren’t reachable by any cellular signal. And doing it in a way that doesn’t require any technical expertise on the part of the user.

          As of today, that’s the rap against TMO. There are large areas where you can’t even make or receive a phone call, much less surf the internet. If TMO can make voice service available over public wifi, then people are more likely to sign up for service.

          Not everyone, of course. If you live and work in a totally rural area, then TMO is not for you. However, if you have decent coverage at home and work, but just happen to spend a lot of time on rural interstates, then TMO is about to become a much more viable option.

        • archerian

          “If TMO can make voice service available over public wifi, then people are more likely to sign up for service” – you think people would trust to have reliable service on “public” WiFi? It might be ok for some, but it doesnt make for robust service.

          And are you saying WiFi calling enables Tmobile to be more competitive for Voice/SMS service on rural interstates? Which WiFi network runs across rural interstate areas? Most rural gas stations I’ve been to have hardlines, and if they have Wifi service, they typically have VzW or ATT coverage too.

        • Dan Hesse

          Try going to the underground stacks at a major university where no wireless carrier has coverage from their spectral assets. While you’re there read up on technological advancements. You have a lot of reading to do. FYI, people actually spend considerable time at the library. Only time I stopped at a rural gas station was to fill up, grab a beer, and take off.

        • PHL

          These days, I don’t spend much time in the stacks or in rural areas either. But if I were, imagine a situation where just driving past a rural gas station provided sufficient connectivity to deliver and important text message or voicemail, all without any action on my part.

          This is how TMO can fill in the gaps in their coverage without building 30,000 new towers.

        • archerian

          Wow, keep dreaming.. Driving past a rural area and your phone magically connects to the WiFi there, authenticates and sends a message, all while driving by… Nice one…

          Btw, you accidentally forgot to log out of Dan Hesse and login back as PHL when typing the reply “These days, I don’t spend much time in the stacks or in rural areas either”

        • PHL

          I don’t know what your screen is showing you, but I’m not even logging in. I’m posting as a guest, because I rarely post on here. The messaging software simply requires that I pick a name, otherwise I would be posting anonymously.

          You’re going to feel pretty silly when someone else confirms what I just said.

        • PHL

          Off-topic, but the threading on this message board really sucks. It’s virtually impossible to follow a conversation here.

        • Dan Hesse

          I have to agree with you a little big slow dud. But the possibility does not rely on “spectral” assets like your slow a$s seems to think. Sorry PHL here I will disagree. The rural dream is just not practical or economical feasible covering that last 2% seems like a waste… Let the govt take care of that.

        • PHL

          Dan, I agree that TMO alone will not cover that last 2%. However, the shift to wifi-based communications will allow the government to implement ubiquitous internet into rural areas. Think of it as a Rural Electrification Project for the 21st century. At that point, all the mobile carriers will benefit.

          Of course, by that point, there may not be much in the way of “rural” any more.

        • PHL

          By the way, it wasn’t too long ago that rotary dial phones were the standard. I remember being amazed when my family got our first pushbutton phone. A few years later, I was amazed when we got a cordless phone.

          Technology moves on, my friend. What you are witnessing is the early phase of a fundamental shift in communications. At some point, the idea of a “mobile phone” itself will become archaic, as every little piece of electronics we own will somehow be connected to the cloud.

          Today, we have smartwatches and Google glasses that extend the capabilities of our phones. It’s not too far-fetched to imagine that the phone itself will become unnecessary.

        • Dan Hesse

          He was replying to me moronnn

        • PHL

          “Wow, keep dreaming.. Driving past a rural area and your phone magically
          connects to the WiFi there, authenticates and sends a message, all while
          driving by… Nice one…”

          I live in Southern California. There are many places here where there might be 2 or 3 Starbucks stores within a quarter mile of each other. In large downtown areas there might be 2 or 3 Starbucs in the same building. I know people that have to turn off the “Open WiFi” notification feature on their phones because the damn thing goes off every couple of minutes just driving down the freeway.

          It’s very conceivable that authentication and a short burst of communications could take place in the 5 seconds that you’re within range of an open hotspot. That’s all that would be required to deliver a couple of text messages. It’s even conceivable that the ITU might specify some level of wide-open access in some future revision of 802.11xx

          Heck, GM just announced a few days ago that in a couple of years, their new Cadillacs will start rolling out a feature that let’s cars “talk” to each other to negotiate lane changes and velocities without any user intervention. That’s part of the first steps in driverless automobiles (along with the technology that Google is developing”

        • Dan Hesse

          You’re pretty stupid if you think I’m going to carry a femtocell everywhere I lack AT&T or Verizon coverage hoping someone will let me plug into their router… That’s just dumb when carrying a iPhone with native wifi calling is what a normal “ignorant” person would optimally do lol… You are one silly dude.

        • archerian

          Sure, carry an iPhone everywhere you lack T-mobile coverage, hoping someone will let me connect to their WiFi and it be stable/configurable enough for calls.

        • PHL

          The answer is staring you right in the face, but you’re not seeing it.

          Of course, TODAY, it might be inconvenient to find an open Wifi spot. But in a few years, they’re going to be all over the place.

          Who would have thought, 10 years ago, that McDonalds would have free WiFi in all of their restaurants? Back then, I was paying $40 a month for a data pass at Starbucks. These days, only the very cheapest of motels don’t offer some form of free wifi.

          The wave is coming. You can either surf the wave or you can be crushed by it.

        • Dan Hesse

          Sounds more realistic than asking someone, hey can I plug my femtocell for a few minutes on your router? It will certainly be “No” 99% of the time. Whereas with an iPhone 6 I’d imagine I’d be able to log-in 75% of the time. Talk about #winning.

          You’re arguments are weak and the technology you support will be even weaker soon enough.

        • archerian

          The technology I support? What exactly is that according to you view?

        • PHL

          What part of “Cell towers and spectrum become relatively less important AS TIME GOES ON” is unclear to you?

          “Cell towers and spectrum can never become less important as they will always be the primary means of mobile connectivity.”

          I imagine people once said similar things about copper POTS lines and 35mm film, to name just a couple.

        • archerian

          You do know spectrum is basically radio waves, something that will be used regardless of technology and band right? WiFi uses spectrum too. So today and AS TIME GOES ON, mobile/wireless connectivity will need spectrum at the same lever of relevance.

          And VoLTE and Text are not cloud protocols – are you using cloud when you meant the Internet?

        • PHL

          Cellular spectrum and WiFi spectrum are two different things. Of course the cellular frequencies will still play a part, but they are a finite resource. What happens when the number of mobile devices doubles in the next 10 years? What happens when data usage quadruples, or more?

          The solution is to route traffic over other infrastructure that is less constrained. In other words, find a way to move it over the WIRED internet infrastructure that is already in place and is easily scalable. It is the same concept that Verizon experimented with a few years ago by putting LTE microcell sites on homes equipped with Fios internet. Not sure why they pulled the plug on that project.

          By the way, you do realize that cloud and internet are generally considered the same thing, right? You ever wonder where the term came from? Not trying to put you down, it’s just that many people really don’t understand what “cloud” means.

        • archerian

          The cloud and Internet are generally incorrectly considered the same thing.

        • PHL

          Do tell what you think cloud means? I’d love to hear your interpretation.

        • Dan Hesse

          BINGO!!! I’m surprised even the slow ones don’t get.

        • archerian

          Dan Hesse, PHL, PHL registered via Disqus – all the same person trying to fan forum popularity and high five his other persona’s comment. Cheap trick.

        • Dan Hesse aka not PHL

          Nice try jacka$s. I’m not PHL, you’re just shocked there are 2 different people that understand something you don’t – lol you really are an imbecile.

          PS it’s sad you don’t know who I am…

        • archerian

          “I’m not PHL” – posted from a PHL disqus account .. wow.. try logging out and posting, it adds to the effect

        • PHL

          “I’m not PHL” – posted from PHL”

          What the hell are you talking about? Dan and I are not the same person.

          Side note to Dan: You’re not THE Dan Hesse, are you?

        • archerian

          Yes, and while you’re at it, maybe try cross-dressing too :)

        • Dan Hesse

          PHL looks blue sometimes and I take it that means you have a blogging account. Right now it looks grey so obviously you are blogging as a guest. Anyway, I’m not sure why he thinks you’re a tranny, maybe that’s his fetish / orientation, just saying, not judging. Anyway, I will neither confirm nor deny if I’m The Man you inquired about.

        • PHL

          I think I see where he was coming from in confusing us. I refreshed my page, and I saw that some of my posts were attributed to you. I refreshed it again, then I saw my username show up. I think the software just has a hard time keeping things straight unless you constantly refresh the page. Might also be browser-dependent.

          Anyway, it would be pretty funny if you really were Dan H. I doubt it, of course, but it would make for a great story.

        • rtechie

          > What part of “Cell towers and spectrum become relatively less important AS TIME GOES ON” is unclear to you?

          This statement implies that WiFi is going to replace LTE. I can assure you it will not. The latter (LTE replacing WiFi) is more likely.

          Acherian was spot on. WiFi is a LAN solution. By design, you can’t cover large areas. WiFi “mesh” networks really don’t work, you need way too many hotspots. I know, I’ve built municipal WiFi networks.

        • Dan Hesse

          It supplements it, PHL is not saying anything about replacing LTE, just that its less important. If you work at a hospital 4 levels underground with lead walls to shield other areas from x-rays or any other radiation how important will any cellular signal be that does NOT reach any device at all there? Its effectively irrelevant. There are many other scenarios where LTE is not available but WiFi is. Thats the big picture here.

  • John Jacob Jingleheimerschmidt

    This ain’t gonna help my signal in my deer stand in Turdwater, Arkansas.

    • PHL

      You just need a really long ethernet cable and a battery pack :)

    • D_Wall__

      No need for a cell phone when your in a deer stand. Deer dont take selfies

  • nxtiak

    So bad credit you can BUY one and keep it forever for $99?
    Good customers need to put down a $25 refundable deposit? How do we get the deposit back? By returning the router when we terminate service? Or keep it forever and lose the $25? How many of these can we get lol

    • PHL

      “So bad credit you can BUY one and keep it forever for $99”

      ^^^ I was thinking the same thing, lol.

      However, I think I read somewhere that TMO admitted they mis-spoke and the cost is going to be more like $199 or something. I can’t find where I read that, however.

    • Aaron C

      I read you can get one per account. Any additional ones have to be paid ($99).

  • nxtiak

    Too bad no WiFi calling for Nexus phones :(. Google needs to build it into Android.

    • D_Wall__

      My heart is broken also. Im curious if their is a nexus 6 around the corner and if Tmo will offer it?

      • B_Eng

        There is a nexus 6 rumored to be released in Q4. However, I doubt it will be wifi-calling capable either. Wifi-calling appears to be a baked-in feature that only comes with T-mobile specific devices (not available in any app stores). Given the ‘pure android’ mantra of the Nexus line, wifi calling will never be offered. If it somehow is offered, you’ll never get the timely updates that the Nexus devices enjoy since it has to go through T-Mobile R&D first. It’s a choice I’m battling with myself since the Nexus 6 / Moto X and OnePlus phones are at the top of my list.

        • Duh

          The T-Mobile execs said going forward all devices T-Mobile sells will have wifi calling capabilities. So if T-Mobile will directly participate in the Nexus program, I don’t see why this functionality will not be built in. Apple doing it is probably the biggest surprise considering how proprietary they are about iOS. Without a doubt android’s open-source nature would be more amenable to cooperating. So your belief that it will “never” happen is extreme and unfounded. So if T-Mobile sells the next Nexus, why wouldn’t google cooperate?

        • rtechie

          The app is locked to the hardware. it HAS to be baked into the ROM. This means that Google would have to make a special T-Mobile-only version of the Nexus and TMobile would have to validate the ROM.

          Google doesn’t want carrier-specific versions of the Nexus devices. That didn’t happen with any of the previous Nexus devices (even when T-Mobile was the only company selling the Nexus One). It’s not going to happen with the Nexus 6.

        • Duh

          Whatever dude. I doubt you understand this. I’m sure if the imbeciles at Apple can figure it out, the geniuses at google can too. That said, your BSing skills are average – good job good effort. I’ll let you say told you so if the next N6 comes out and is sold directly from T-Mobile without wifi calling capabilities…

        • rtechie

          What I said is based on what we know now about the current WiFi Calling system. T-Mobile has changed their WiFi Calling system in the past, it’s possible they’re changing it again. I did notice this bit in the announcement:

          seamless voice coverage between the VoLTE and Wi-Fi (with compatible smartphones.)

          That’s new. So it could mean a new system, or more likely a new version of the current system. It seems to be backwards-compatible because the announcement doesn’t imply that ALL existing devices won’t work with WiFi Calling in the near future. However, it’s possible that the new features (seamless voice) will only work with new devices.

          It’s also possible they’re going the app route as I mention above, but that seems unlikely as the announcement is about “new devices” and getting a Jump upgrade to a new device.

          And strictly speaking, Google hasn’t announced the Nexus “6” and T-Mobile hasn’t announced they will carry it so it is conceivable that T-Mobile could not sell the Nexus “6”. I also noticed this line:

          100% of new smartphones in T-Mobile stores

          In STORES. If the Nexus “6” was web-only, this would still technically be accurate.

        • Aaron C

          Starting to think “Duh” and “ImTheAllKnowingNerdAaronC” are the same person. They certainly have the same pissy attitude.

        • Duh

          Stop thinking. He is not I. He actually sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. I give him credit for being detailed oriented. Don’t get mad though. I don’t think your full of BS. I just took issue with rtechie use of the word never and his insistence it can only be done via app. Where there’s a will there’s a way, we just need google and their android team to see the light with T-Mobile’s wifi calling requirements.

        • Aaron C

          Probably only if the WiFi calling is implemented differently than it is in, say, TouchWiz. There was a reward offered for quite a while for anyone who could port the WiFi calling code to pure Android for Nexus users. Unless I’m mistaken, it has gone unclaimed. That’s not to say it can’t be done, but I would doubt you’ll see WiFi calling on any Nexus phone. Never say never, but I’d doubt it.

        • Evan Lam

          The thing is, T-Mobile isn’t the only carrier that has wi-fi calling anymore. Sprint actually announced wi-fi calling back in February. While not all of the 4 major carriers have wi-fi calling, the fact that half of them do may be enough for google to at least consider putting wi-fi calling into stock android.

    • B_Eng

      Wow. Didn’t realize that! Would have figured that at least the version T-Mobile sold would have the feature enabled. You just saved me from making a costly mistake!

      • PHL

        Costly? It’s a 25 refundable deposit. That’s about as close to free as you’re going to get in this industry.

        • B_Eng

          The mistake would have been to buy the Nexus 5. Picking up the router the first chance I get!

      • Aaron C

        Not on the Moto X either, the other phone I’d like to get.

      • Mike

        You can get. Very reliable wifi calling app such as google voice, or text+ etc. there are lots of these type of wifi calling apps that work well on nexus. Google voices has slick features.

    • rtechie

      The reason the Nexus phones (and all other 3rd party phones) don’t support it is security. If it was a public app, then ANYONE could use it to make WiFi calls (this is complicated). Developers that have torn into the app note that is is closely locked to the hardware, to prevent it from being used on other phones.

      That said, the good folks over at XDA have hacked it into other phones, including the Nexus 5.

      • nxtiak

        URL?

        • rtechie

          Apparently I’m wrong about the Nexus 5, it’s been hacked into other carrier’s phones (like an AT&T Galaxy S4) because they have the same modem. Apparently since there was never a version tied to the modem on the Nexus 5, and there is nothing close enough to the Nexus 5 with support to port.

          But it isn’t Google’s problem to solve. It’s locked to the hardware and I’m told that for security.

          The best thing I think of to lobby for is a downloadable app. It would only work on certain phones, but as long as it works on the Nexus 5 (and Nexus 6) that will probably make most people happy.

        • MastarPete

          Things become much simpler to explain if you just say WiFi calling requires root, as that is essentially what a wifi calling app would require in order to hook into the cellular radio to redirect VoLTE call data out over an internet connection. Which is what current T-Mobile branded VoLTE phones have been modified to do. In the case of the iPhone Apple baked it into iOS8.

        • rtechie

          Just having root isn’t enough. Apparently you need driver support for VoLTE and T-Mobile has to write the driver. That’s the reason it just can’t be added to any phone with Cyanogmod (or whatever). Presumably Apple just added the driver to every iPhone.

        • MastarPete

          Correct there’s definitely more to it than just root. I was just trying to oversimplify it since most non-technical people understand that for an app to require root or a jailbreak means special access is required beyond what a normal VOIP app would possibly need.

          Most people would then be able to understand how absurd It would be for T-Mobile to release a calling app that requires root since warranty and insurance claims can be denied if a device is found to be rooted.

    • Use GV, they just added VOIP to Hangouts. Problem solved, kinda :)

  • Mike

    I understand the whole move to wifi and uma calling, but I am concerned that TMO will stop improvement and further development of its network. Most of us live and work in WIFI zones but still need good service when out and about. Further, if using wifi for the majority of our calling, texting and data are we paying too much for service we will never use, viz., unlimited 4g/LTE calling. The reality is that we will all see our network usage drop significantly. The use of WIFI costs TMO very little to handle. Wonder if TMO is moving to a Republic Wireless model without a reduction in cost to the customer. Republic offers unlimited wifi calling/data and texting for as low as $5.00 month and $10.00 with a back up of 500 network calling. Just seems weird that unlimited wifi is offered as being touted as a value added services since we have had it for years…would have been a better option to eliminate the tax and other fees.

    • PHL

      IMO, the benefit is that it may ultimately lower TMO’s expenses, which may allow them to keep their rates low AND be profitable. I admit that I switched from VZW to TMO mostly because of price. My fear is that they will start ratcheting up the price in a year or two once they transform their services and network.

      • Paul Verizzo

        TM has always been the “Most bang for the buck,” carrier. Always, all the way back to when Deutches Telecomm bought VoiceStream. There’s no reason to think that they won’t remain so, and in fact, the trend is more and more service for less and less money.

        Sleep well.

  • Philip

    I have this form of router the I put Tomato on it and I get rock solid connection. I have 10 wifi device and everyone works great. I like physical external antennas! No internal antennas!

    • B_Eng

      Thinking that flashing the firmware would void the lease agreement, unless you’re able to flash back to stock.

    • Aaron C

      Is this basically an RT-16? I’m running Tomato on one of those too and I love it. Worked very well with WiFi calling when I had a Note 2.

  • DaveTexan

    I wonder if this would help me. I already have a Wifi-router that came with Verizon Fios. But wifi-calling keeps dropping calls every 10 minutes or so. I also get drop calls due to signal fluctuation. It would be great if this router can solve the problem…

    • conservative_motorcyclist

      The FiOS routers are shit. Put yours in bridge mode and buy any other router and it will work just fine.

    • zeiferx

      i also have Fios and replace the wifi part with the asus router have all my devices using the wifi and i never have any issues on very heavy ussage so the router itself would be an upgrade to you.
      but i do agree with you on how this wifi calling its gonna work since its very unreliable. calls will drop and phones shows no service while on it so you miss calls that didnt even came thru. To me that part of the announcement was a relaunch of a product thats been around for ever the only new add was “we giving you a router”

    • SolarLeoX

      based on what they said in the Q&A, this router is configured to provide QoS (Quality of Service) by giving T-Mo Wi-Fi calling priority over everything else on the connection, so that “SHOULD” help your dropouts. Sounds like a great router too, I know its better than what I have at home right now.

      • timmyjoe42

        I still don’t see the point. “Should” isn’t the word I want to hear when I “need” to have coverage (that I pay for) in my house and neighborhood. My street is riddled with dead spots which makes visiting with friends an issue because I go off the grid. My current wireless router works just fine. Plenty of people out there have routers that work great and they will get this thing hoping it will solve their coverage problem. If it doesn’t add something that “WILL” fix it, I’m not buying in. I was hoping it would emulate the wifi calling app for devices that don’t have it.

        At least this answers my question of how I control my neighbor’s T-Mobile devices from using connecting to this and using my bandwidth for their calls.

        Nothing will beat UMA calling because calls don’t drop when switching from router to a tower. I don’t see why T-Mobile doesn’t recognize that. Blackberry and Nokia had this technology down pat, but too bad they didn’t focus on their operating systems.

        • Paul Verizzo

          And you’re paying how much when your neighbor’s use your broadband?????? Zero. So why are you concerned. Use THEIRS when you visit. Quid quo pro.

          WFC IS UMA, just the branding of it. TM started out in 2007 calling it Hotspot @Home. Cincinnati Bell calls it Fusion Calling.

          The matter of handoffs or not, as best as I’ve been able to figure out – and I’ve been in this since 2007 – is that the original implementations were hardware based. Then it was figured out how to build it into the firmware. To my knowledge, it’s been awhile since since there have been any hardware based phones, although the iPhone might be an exception. Or, they just figured out how to do it in the firmware.

          Generally, not being able to hand off sounds a whole lot worse than it is in real life for most of us.

        • timmyjoe42

          I wasn’t worried about sharing bandwidth with friends, like giving them my router password to hop online. I was worried that this router would let any T-Mobile customer in the area hop on. I live on a busy street and don’t want to be sharing it with every jogger that comes along and uses my house as a hot spot. Reading that this router just prioritizes my wifi calls over other network traffic is reassuring since not just anybody will be able to access my bandwidth.

  • conservative_motorcyclist

    I am thoroughly disappointed with this “uncarrier” announcement. Where is my femtocell for my house in Northern New England!?!?!

  • Anthony Evans

    Horrible annoucement. Was hoping to see them copy sprint and sign up with more regional’s. instead they just pulled a sprint and used a device to fix network holes.

  • shadlom

    Told ya!

  • D_Wall__

    Ill take one. Just for better calls in the house.

  • Paul

    Where do customers go to aquire this device? I haven’t found a link to purchase it.

    However, I like the dual-band of the router.

    • PD

      These will be available in stores or you need to call customer care.

      • Paul

        I’ll check those avenues, thanks. I thought there would be a link with more information pertaining to how one acquires this device.

        • PHL

          I was told to call Customer Care on the 19th. I don’t think they can take any orders until then. It was unclear whether they would also be in stores.

  • druff

    The T-mobile router is a modified ASUS RT-AC68U correct? I recently purchased this for $180. Should I return it and get the T-mobile one instead?

    • Duh

      No. Stick with what you have.

      • B_Eng

        Any particular reason why? The way I see it, you get all the functionality of the original router plus the added benefit of prioritized wifi calling – all for effectively free.

        • rtechie

          Not free. You really don’t know what they did to that firmware. They could be inserting ads (or they could start) or they could turn them into public hotspots (like Comcast and Time Warner are doing with their gear). I strongly suspect the latter is planned and would explain why they would hand out all this gear.

          You might see if you can flash it with the stock RT-AC68U firmware, but that would probably void your lease.

        • random

          “Not free. You really don’t know what they did to that firmware. They could be inserting ads (or they could start)”

          Where would they insert ads? When you log into the routers admin section or on web pages?

          “You might see if you can flash it with the stock RT-AC68U firmware, but that would probably void your lease.”

          How would they know you changed the firmware? If you are returning the router because it stopped working wouldnt you just get your deposit back?

        • Paul Verizzo

          Paranoid much? Sheesh…..

    • Craig Southwick

      Yes return it and get the T-Mobile one. Try it out. If it works you keep it for a 25 buck deposit. If it doesn’t work you take it back, get your 25 bucks back, and repurchase your old router.

  • johnediii

    So here’s the problem for me right now. The new Apple features called Continuity that allows you to answer your phone using your computer or iPad will not work if you are using Wifi calling on the iPhone. At least at this time. If this changes with the iPhone 6, that will be nice. I’ve been testing this since July, however, and wifi calling works about as well on the iPhone 5s with iOS 8 as it does on my previous HTC One that had Wifi calling, which wasn’t always reliable. As of now, though, if you turn on wifi calling it disables the “iPhone Cellular Calls” feature of FaceTime on the phone and you can no longer use your other devices to place calls through your iPhone. I was really hoping this was a femtocell or something that would allow me to leave wifi calling off and use the Continuity features.

  • Aaron C

    Wow. I totally misunderstood what this device would do. I thought it would “create a T-Mobile Tower” in your home. That statement was EXTREMELY misleading. I thought it was a cell/WiFi in one, that it would give you “full T-Mo bars” and not count against your data because it was technically off your WiFi. THAT would be awesome. But users of Nexus phones are always going to be out of luck.

    If I already have a phone with WiFi calling, why, exactly, do I need this?

    Are the LAN ports even gigabit?

    • Dr King

      “That statement was EXTREMELY misleading.” You literally took that statement too literally lol. And its not your fault. Cam’s leaked article didn’t help much either bc his own article set him up to believe such a thing as.

      During the press conference wifi was the most ubiquitous term used. I think a lot of TMOnews readers are suffering from that leaked article misleadingly suggesting it was a femtocell. That’s the price we pay for listening to rumors or leaks. No such thing was said during the press conference.

      Over on cnet, those folks seem to understand the device pretty well.

      • Aaron C

        Interesting. I followed the live blog as the press conference was happening. I don’t think I knew about the router until the conference? Not sure I read the article until afterward, but it’s possible (maybe even probable) that I mixed it all up in my skull.

        So all that said, I’m still not sure why this device is such a big deal. Sure, the announcement that they want to move folks to WiFi-enabled phones is decent enough, but why the big hurrah about this router? I would see no need at all to change my current WiFi setup even IF I have a WiFi-enabled phone instead of a Nexus? I haven’t seen whether or not the LAN ports are even gigabit (to go with the rest of my home network).

        Uncarrier8.0 sure as hell better be “we’re releasing an Android WiFi-calling app for Nexus phones.” But I’m not holding my breath.

        • Dr King

          Read the war of words below starting with archerian post more than 12 hours ago. Interesting ideas there from 2 guys who see it as something bigger than what you on the surface seem to think. I’m somewhere in the middle, but they bring up some intriguing points.

          To T-Mobiles credit, its tough to please all people all of the time.

        • Aaron C

          UPDATE: Edited to correct quote attribution.

          Ha, I was just reading that part of the thread. Call me unconvinced. I live in an area that’s saturated by T-Mo LTE. PHL’s comment that “Cell towers and spectrum become relatively less important as time goes on.” — I don’t buy that. It’s all about mobility. When I’m on the road, I don’t care about WiFi calling. The only place I care about WiFi calling is at work and at home. When I travel, and I rely on my phone, Cell towers are spectrum are paramount. It’s why I’m waiting to buy a band 12 phone. Otherwise I’d just get a G3 right now. Because when I travel to rural areas, data coverage is important. Perhaps PHL doesn’t travel much or travel in rural areas. I understand what he’s trying to say regarding VoLTE, but I don’t agree with it.

          Time will tell, but I think cell towers are important. Wifi isn’t everywhere, and WiFi “cell spots” are not available in a car while you’re streaming music or talking on the phone or getting updates from Waze over the network.

          I think cell towers will be important for cloud access. It doesn’t seem PHL thinks they will be.

        • PHL

          Actually, I’m the one that said that towers and spectrum become less important over time. I think what might have been missed is that I was talking about a 20-30+ year time frame. Of course cell towers are critical for the next 20 years. But as communications and electronics evolve, we’re going to be looking at a universe of devices that are all simultaneously transmitters and receivers. Imagine devices that will communicate as part of a hive, without a need for centralized antennas and backbones.

          That I think is the long-term direction of communications. My first cell phone was a Motorola brick a little more than 20 years ago. At the time, I could not have even comprehended something like an iPhone and our “modern” LTE technology. .

        • PHL

          Also, the router is not that huge a deal, unless you consider the fact that you’re getting a $200 router for a $25 refundable deposit. Even if you don’t need wifi calling (I don’t, since I get 4 bars anywhere in my house), the router is a great bargain.

        • Aaron C

          It seemed that “cell tower” comment was made in the context of the near future, so I’m glad you clarified.

          However, even as part of a “hive,” you’d have to expect that population explodes in the US for that to become effective. Otherwise, the technology you describe to be used in 20-30 years would be very effective in all the areas that T-Mobile *currently* has covered extremely well in 2014.

          I grew up in a very well populated area of the country (southern New Hampshire) and even where *I* lived, my nearest neighbor was a mile away. You could drive for another mile and not see a house. Assuming population growth stays stable, the hive concept is not going to work for cellphone coverage in a good deal of the United States which — populated as we have become — still has HUGE areas of the country that are rural, unpopulated, but which people travel through on their way somewhere else.

          I applaud any benefit that T-Mobile adds for their customers, and I know this WiFi router makes some sense given the switch to VoLTE, but a REAL “personal cell tower over LTE” would have been a MUCH bigger deal.

          Not sure what the uptake on this router will be, but I don’t think it will be that great. You see the posts in TMoNews every day — people who STILL avoid T-Mobile, despite the company philosophy, disruption, and amazing pricing, they avoid it because of coverage. Not necessarily at home or at work, they just live in an area of the country or a town not covered well by T-Mobile.

          This would be more effective for folks who live in otherwise well covered areas, but who can’t get more than a bar in their home.

          Just my $.02.

        • PHL

          I hear what you’re saying about suburban areas, and you are correct. However, I suspect that it may be more than just cell phones that comprise the hive. Imagine every vehicle, traffic light, streetlight, wifi router, etc all working together to provide near-seamless and ubiquitous access to the cloud. Cell towers would certainly be an important part of the hive as well, but would not be *REQUIRED* as they are today.

          All of these hive points could behave the way internet routers (not home wifi routers) behave today. We won’t know exactly what path they take, but the IP packets will find their way to the appropriate servers.

          Then again, maybe it’s just a pipe dream, lol.

        • Aaron C

          Perhaps having these cloud-connectors installed on streetlights, vehicles, etc. will enable the technology companies to put more towers where they’d really be needed then. You know, areas like I talked about where there ARE no streetlights (I think my town had one streetlight), very few vehicles (you could drive for a mile or two without seeing another one), and streetlights (yep — my town had none). :) Not necessarily a pipe dream. I’m just playing a very loud devil’s advocate. :)

        • ImTheAllKnowingNerdAaronC

          Band 12 is aimed at city and buildings, not rural. Current frequencies already can cover larger areas, but buildings are different. Don’t be such a psuedo tech snob, with your Nexus and Gigabit home network to match.

        • Aaron C

          I think I’ve been pretty respectful with my comments, and just asking real questions that a lot of us have. Why don’t you try extricating whatever is stuck in your craw and relax. Yeesh. And stop upvoting your own posts.

        • ImTheAllKnowingNerdAaronC

          LAN ports are gigabit, and has DUAL WAN plus supports USB 3g/4G modem. has dual USB ports, one 2.0 and 3.0. VPN and cloud services available. Its posted everywhere, even official documents. you must not be the guru you think you are.

        • Aaron C

          Oooo. Someone sounds like their feelings were hurt.

    • steve

      The video of the guy not having cell service in his basement showed his “bars” going from zero to four … pause….. then to 5. Implied in was similar functionality to a femtocell and not just a regular voip prioritized router.

      • Duh

        I saw the same commercial on t-mobile YouTube channel and your full of BS. It’s stupid to assume its a femtocell instead of wifi when the whole conference was about wifi calling. You guys that want femtocell buy them. A router is not a femtocell if you thought so then that’s ignorance on your part.

        • johnc

          Rage much?

        • Guest

          Someone needs to go back to school for some book learnin’. If you’re calling ignorance, you should make sure your grammar and spelling are above third grade level first.

      • PHL

        It occurs to me that it’s not impossible that TMO might some day provide an incentive for customers to attach a femtocell (or perhaps even larger) to these routers. Not sure what the relevant FCC regulations are, but it might be a way for TMO to provide service to an entire neighborhood without putting up a tower.

    • mingkee

      Actually, it’s T-Mobile branded Asus AC68U. It has dual-band AC Wi-Fi, Gigabit LAN and WAN ports.
      Check the customers’ reviews on newegg and amazon.

  • mingkee

    I will get one to try first. If it worked out well, I will get two more to setup as Wi-Fi access points.
    Actually, it’s T-Mobile version of AC68U router.

    • Ty Christensen

      Is it 1 per account? My parents and I are on the same family plan but not under the same roof.

      • mingkee

        $25 down payment (will be refunded when returning working unit) for the first, and $99/each thereafter.

  • Guest

    The new trade-in promotion doesn’t start until the 17th. How would you go about applying it towards this order, or should i wait until the 17th to buy an iphone?

    • PHL

      If you want the iphone, you should just go ahead and pre-order that first. Otherwise, you run the risk of being near the end of the line. It’s also not certain when the routers will actually ship. People are getting all kinds of information from customer service.

  • Nate595

    So when exactly is this supposed to be available? It’s mentioned on T-Mobile’s website but there’s no links to order/pre order or register.

    • Coelispex

      It’s available on September 17, 2014 according to the T-Mobile website (now updated). I’m guessing they will add a “Add to Cart” etc etc etc

  • Alfredo Marchena

    I wonder if tmobile or someone with the device will show the different screens so owners of an AC68U (non tmo flashed) can adjust their who’s settings etc to end up with the same result

  • PHL

    I was just comparing the TMO and Asus versions of the User Guide. A few interesting differences:

    *Asus
    version states that “RT-AC68U supports up to six SSIDs, (three 2.4Ghz
    and three 5Ghz SSIDs”. The TMO manual is missing this statement, and a
    screenshot two pages later implies that only two guest SSIDs are
    available in each band.

    *TMO manual does not mention AiCloud
    features which “is a cloud service application that allows you to save,
    sync, share, and access your files.” TMO leaves out the entire section
    3.6 in the Asus manual that talks about this.

    *TMO manual does not mention the “Download Master” utility (omits section 5.4 from Asus version).

    So,
    it looks like this might be a slightly crippled version of the Asus.
    It’s possible those features are still in the software, but they are not
    documented.

    More interesting is the possibility that the TMO
    version only allows you to set up 2 SSID’s per band compared to 3 in the
    stock Asus version. This implies that TMO has reserved the 3rd guest
    network for some other reason.

    Things are getting curiouser and curiouser…

    It
    will be interesting to see if the TMO version allows you to install any
    ASUS firmware, or if it will somehow be restricted to TMO-version
    updates only.

    I’m sure it will only check for TMO updates, but
    what’s to keep you from manually downloading stock updates from the ASUS
    website and installing those? Someone may have to try this to see if it
    works.

    • Dan Hesse

      Amazing leg work dude. Thanks. Makes lots of sense too – I presume you “lose” 1 ssid per band precisely because the newer iPhones are dual-band WiFi. Its a solid guess.

      • PHL

        Might be premature. Some of the spec sheets on the TMO support site say that the router has 6 SSID’s and aicloud and all that stuff. Not sure if the manual is simply incomplete or if the spec sheets have not been corrected.

  • Myphone007

    I have an RT-AC66U and constantly have issues with signal drop with my Note 3. Also have issues with current Iphone5 with it…

    I would assume when they launch the free Cell router ($25 Deposit), it will be another long night.. Any idea what time these will be showing? Of course Tmobile doesn’t do anything correctly in providing decent information for us when it comes to planing to purchase it.

    • joe

      I have an RT-AC66U and it’s been flawless. All my 802.11n and 802.11ac devices connect great. I get sustained 400 Mbps file transfer speed between ac devices 1 floor away from the router.

  • badbob001

    I’m curious to know HOW this is optimized for voice calling. Perhaps it just involves some simple firewall/QOS settings. If so, TMO should also release that information so everyone can optimize their existing wifi gear.

    • mingkee

      I am sure it’s tweaked for higher QoS for Wi-Fi calling as it requires real time UDP data.

  • r000t

    I’m a little disappointed to see that each of these CellSpots are unique to each other. This means that they aren’t exactly plug and play; They must be set up within the phone, for each and every phone looking to use it. Not exactly seamless, and it means that friends/family must perform the same setup when visiting.

    T-Mobile worked with ASUS for a long time to develop these specifically for their service. It wouldn’t have been too hard to make all of them announce an additional, hidden, network JUST for Wi-Fi calling (and blocks all other traffic outright, OR proxies it through T-Mobile at a limited speed), and then have software on each phone automatically attach to networks with this SSID for the purposes of Wi-Fi calling. Due to both the limited range of 802.11 networks, and the network only allowing traffic to T-Mobile’s Wi-FI calling gateways, there’s very little potential for abuse.

    Such a system would have truly made these CellSpots an extension of their network; ready to use by any T-Mobile customer who enters the “mancave” or whatever zone needed improved signal. The lack of signal to VZW, ATT, and Sprint customers would certainly spark a conversation; “Tim and I are on T-Mobile, look at that, full bars!”

    I don’t think it’s too late to make these changes. I’m sure T-Mobile baked in a “phone-home” system to let them update the firmware.

  • Ak

    I made a call to T-Mobile ask about this CellSpots. I talked to 2 reps and they don’t know what i was talking about. They kept asking if I want a signal booster. One of them even asked me what does that do. Very disappointed. T-Mobile!! you need to well train your staffs.

  • Ash

    Just called them. Said it will be available in-store as of tomorrow. (9/17) And online if you can’t find it in the store(?)
    Curious to know how this will boost LTE signal when not connected to WIFI.
    Looking at the manual this device is suppose to replace your existing router. And you have guest access availability on a separate SSID. This is not an extension of a tower from my overview, and you wouldn’t want to have outside access to your home network.

  • Kael

    Uses a compression server via specific streams to maximize data traffic made from the phone browser/apps. Wi-Fi calling is not compressed but prioritized over all other traffic. Set up exactly like w router or behind you current router or directly in to your existing router. No special setup is required on multiple phones. Just an initial setup to set ssid and password. Does not touch any cell signal. Just gives a premium WiFi calling and data experience. Also. This is a 3×3 mimo router. It offers so much more throughput than most ISP routers increasing customer experience further.

  • David

    Went to a local Tmobile store yesterday and boy, they are confused as well. The agent stated they received the units but didn’t know anything about them. after calling 2 managers the end result was that the announcement was incorrect. The stores where to recieve them on the 17th but wouldn’t be able to sell them till the 22nd…. at least that was per thier 2 managers….. uhhhhg

  • terrence

    Took awhile on the phone with customer service but ordered one that should be delivered in about 7-10 business days. I’m ok with that…oh and they didn’t charge me the $25 for whatever reason either.

  • Anthony

    If I get this t mobile Cellspot will it work if I connect it to my ps4 and play online?

  • Bill Berry

    Can someone please explain to me how exactly this is different than if I have Wi-Fi calling on my phone that hits my DSL router; what’s the advantage here? I read your device has to have this capability, so what’s the point of this?

  • Great device.

  • gumby2

    Just got this router from t-mobile for $63 with free over night delivery. I don’t have a t-mobile phone, so I only use it for it’s wifi router, and for that it’s excellent. Highly recommended.