T-Mobile’s new 4G LTE Signal Booster revealed [unboxing video]

T-Mobile’s product guru, Des Smith (aka @askdes) has officially shown off the brand new Cel-Fi made LTE Signal Booster. Like the Asus router, it comes with the Personal Cellspot branding. As we’d already discovered, the new Signal Booster comes with a more attractive design than its 3G/4G predecessors. Granted, it’s still a black plastic box, but at least it’s been given a splash of colour with the trademarked Magenta livery

The latest signal booster is something we’ve come across before. As explained in the video, you need at least 1 bar of LTE at your home somewhere to make use of the LTE Signal Booster, 2 bars is preferable. That said, if you have a fast internet connection, your best bet is to grab one of the new ASUS CellSpot routers. That is – of course – unless you have a non Wi-Fi Calling device.

 

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  • Jay Holm

    Aaaand of course it’s likely omitting 700 Band 12, of course!!!

    • JamesG

      If you have 700mhz band in your area then you most likely wouldn’t need this….

      • MastarPete

        Or you could just be extremely unlucky and still be poorly covered by 700mhz.

  • Brenden Morris

    Ugh! I so wish Nexus devices had Wi-Fi calling. It annoys me so much that they don’t.

    • S. Ali

      Rumor is Android L has WiFi calling, currently in testing.

      • Adrayven

        iOS first was there first! :D Welcome to 2014!

        Sorry, could help it.. I was Samsung’d, into thinking first was most important.. hehe

        • Matthew DiGiacomo

          Actually it wasn’t first but okay.. Android phones have had wi-fi calling for a couple of years now.

        • My HTC G2 from 2010 had Wi-Fi Calling.

        • PiCASSiMO

          Yup… T-Mobile G2… my first smartphone.

        • superg05

          lol you are so wrong android phones on t-mobile had wifi calling for years,then earlier this year sprint you apple people are so cute sometimes thanks for the laugh

        • John Johnson

          BB had it even before Android on TMo if I am not mistaken…

        • 0neTw0

          My BB pearl had it back in 06

      • Brenden Morris

        Good, I cant wait! I NEED Wi-Fi Calling! Way off topic, but I see you have a EMS symbol for your picture. I just passed my EMT Hands On Practicals, now I need pass my Written/Computer Test. I’m pretty nervous lol.

        • Jay Holm

          Congratulations dude!

      • Thank god if so because I just ordered the 2nd Gen Moto X “Pure” edition, and I just love(d) WiFi calling when I had it. I don’t always need it, but when I can use it, I love to do so. @S__Ali:disqus

      • taron19119

        I guess you did not hear the latest rumor t-mobile is working with Google to get WiFi calling apart of android just like t-mobile did with Apple

        • Hoops

          Where did u hear that rumor?

  • 0neTw0

    Just called Tech and they are sending me a Signal Booster. For Free! Awesome. I was on a Nexus 4 which was just not cutting it. I got an Invite am rocking a Oneplus One. But still wasn’t getting the coverage in the house I would like. So we shall see if this helps.

  • Conrado Valido

    does it only boost LTE or does it also boost 3G and HSPA+?

    • an0nim0

      This; parents refuse to upgrade.

    • Mike Menard

      From what I understand it does everything except 2g

  • Now we’re talking! Hopefully it’ll also be made available at a reasonable cost to 1/4 of T-Mobile customers who choose its prepaid plans.

    • JamesG

      Its $99 for you

      • You mean the LTE CellSpot or the WiFi CellSpot?

        • JamesG

          Wifi, i believe the cell booster is $500

        • Then it’s cheaper to switch to another carrier. In terms of income, there’s no difference between prepaid or postpaid to TMUS. Either TMUS extends such solutions to make up for its spotty coverage to prepaid customers, or they’ll churn at a net negative rate and TMUS won’t be able to sustain its 3rd position when it gets there.

        • JamesG

          You pay for the cheaper non-committed plan. What incentive do they have? They still offer a hell of a lot of services to prepaid that other carriers don’t even give.

        • Simple Choice plans cost the same, whether prepaid or postpaid. TMUS have no contracts, therefore no commitments. There’s essentially no difference between prepaid and postpaid customers, yet, like every other carrier, TMUS segregates them and doesn’t extend them the same service. Quite un-uncarrier.

        • JamesG

          You aren’t committed because you are prepaying and they have no way to charge you for the device if you keep it and cancel service. Postpaid gets the advantages because of that

        • TMUS could draft a contract for supplying a Cellspot to prepaid customers, nothing otherworldly that it couldn’t do.

  • Cam Fas

    They had it at the store and couldn’t sell it too me because a system glitch and it was right in front of me

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    I prefer one of these never was a fan on using my internet connection to solve their issues sprint

  • Van Steel

    I ordered mine over the phone this afternoon. I should be getting it by next Friday. They didn’t even charge me the $25.00 fee!

    • Guest

      We didn’t have to pay anything, $0 for everything including shipping!

      • 0neTw0

        Ground shipping is free. But you could get it sooner by paying for shipping upgrade.

  • Guest

    just called and ordered mine, at first told me that i would have to pay just $6 down but them at the end told me it would be 100% free, even gave me the order number then and there

  • steveb944

    THIS is what I need. I’ll have to call them up ASAP.

  • Van Steel

    One thing I’m confused about… If it’s a LTE signal booster, why does it require a phone that has wi-fi calling? I understand that it’s an ac wi-fi router, but if I’m still going to be connecting with LTE, why would it matter what kind of phone I’m using?

    Maybe I should have figured it out before I ordered it, but I’m really just doing it for my other ac compatible devices.

    • nxtiak

      You’re confusing the two. This article is about 4G signal booster works with any T-Mobile phone to increase Cell Reception inside home.
      The other post earlier today is a WiFi Router for WiFi calling – works only with T-Mobile WiFi Calling phones, that uses your home internet.

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    Mine shipped today

  • JaswinderSinghJammu

    This is what i need and not the asus model

  • David

    Mine shipped today as well!

  • Andrew

    This is my problem with T-Mobile. I’d rather not have to get something and place the two boxes in awkward places in my home to improve my service (I have an issue with clutter and things that make the room look less organized–in other words, everything has to be perfect in my home). I had T-Mobile before, and I had horrible service in my apartment, yet the area was covered. I get irritated that sometimes T-Mobile frequencies can’t penetrate walls. I would often lose signal in stores or only get EDGE, even though I had a T-Mobile iPhone and the area was covered. I absolutely love what T-Mobile offers, but I hate their lack of coverage and fickle signal. I’m pretty sure I won’t switch back to T-Mobile unless they start offering better coverage and service. I also couldn’t stand that when I would go on the expressway, I would lose all signal no matter what area I was in. That has never happened to me with AT&T. T-Mobile coverage is so spotty, too. Even if I’m in an unpopular area, I still get coverage with AT&T (I think it’s 3G at the very least). AT&T may be more expensive, but at least I’m getting better service and coverage.

    • MonTelephonePortable

      I have T-mobile for my personal mobile and an AT&T work phone. T-Mobile speeds and voice quality have drastically improved in the past year and are comparable, if not better, than AT&T.

      I’m considering giving back my AT&T phone to my employer and just using my personal T-mobile phone for both.

      • Bourgeois

        Decision made. I’m turning in my AT&T company phone tomorrow when I get into work. I’ll port the business number to google or some other service and will forward calls to my $22.50/month (unlimited voice/texting, 2.5GB) T-mobile phone.

        This feels just as good as it did dropping my CenturyLink home phone service for cell phone only; and cutting the Cable video for Netflix.

        Now if only T-Mobile offered a high speed LTE home Internet modem to replace my Comcast Internet…

        • Bourgeois

          TO JOHN LEGERE AND T-MOBILE EXECS: To boost your “data strong network” image and shake up the cable industry.

          Uncarrier 8.0 – LTE Home Internet Modem; alternative to traditional Cable/DSL services.

        • Lmrvrgs

          i always thought this would be the eventual route of cell phone carriers. great time to invest in Tmobile

        • JamesG

          You can already technically do this, but no wireless network is physically capable of doing it.

        • Naruto44

          In Dominican Republic where I’m from Orange offer home internet service and they are wireless network company, if they can do it T-Mobile too.

        • JamesG

          I know it can do it but it can never do it at the same level as a cable company. A cable can carry much more bandwidth and handle more users than a wireless signal can.

        • Naruto44

          What hey do is after certain amount of date de cap you a decent speed, I think 128kbps or 256kbps something. You can still web surfing

      • Andrew

        They have indeed, but they still have issues that I haven’t seen with AT&T or Verizon. My cousin has found that her service is very disappointing when compared to her old service with AT&T.

    • Chilehead

      Here in DFW I have no issues with T-Mobile’s network. It’s super fast everywhere I travel in the metroplex. At least they seem to be committed to addressing these types of issues. WIFI calling is also a huge plus.

      • Andrew

        Wifi calling is an awesome feature, but it doesn’t help, for instance, when I’m on the expressway, my car breaks down, and I have no service. I keep mentioning this, but my cousin has had the same issue, and she has T-Mobile. I wouldn’t even get a service partner.

        • Chilehead

          If I was in an area with poor T-Mobile coverage then I would choose another carrier and not be spending my time on tmonews.

        • Andrew

          I am most definitely not in an area with poor T-Mobile coverage. We actually have great T-Mobile coverage, especially since I live in a rather affluent community an hour away from Chicago. I follow TmoNews because I like to see T-Mobile’s advancements and improvement of coverage. I really do like T-Mobile, but until they’re up there with AT&T and/or Verizon, I’m not switching back.

        • Chilehead

          color me confused. In one comment you mention “no service” on the “expressway” then you say “great coverage”. I still recommend you stick with one of the “over priced” carriers. I’m done here.

        • Andrew

          When I talk about coverage, I’m talking about coverage in general, not only on expressways. If you look up T-Mobile’s coverage for my area and the areas I have traveled through, there is great coverage and service, but that doesn’t mean you get great coverage or service on the expressway. Expressway coverage and service seems to be different with T-Mobile, yet AT&T doesn’t have a problem. You didn’t read my comments carefully, I guess. Now /I’m/ done here.

    • yankeesusa

      Well, then I guess go with AT&T&T or Verizon. But this is great for people with metal roofs or concrete walls that even with those bigger companies they’d have the same issue. My friend that has AT&T uses a similar unit with AT&T. The T-Mobile version offers better features. You can’t base a bad company just because you need a booster. I’ve had Sprint, AT&T and Verizon and all of those have required a booster for better signal indoors.

      • Andrew

        It must be the area I live in, then (the northwest Chicago suburbs). But they still have issues with expressways for some reason. My cousin has T-Mobile and she doesn’t get signal whatsoever when traveling on expressways no matter the area.

        • yankeesusa

          Your not the only one. When traveling on expressways I also have issues. Hopefully they continue improving that. On the city I have no issues. In fact my speed is always better and more reliable than others.

  • Bourgeois

    I just ordered one (the new LTE Cel-Fi, not the Asus wireless router). They are also sending a return box for my old Cel-Fi booster to return back to T-mobile.

    • Sweet, glad they’re shipping new ones for the old ones. On hold right now waiting for someone to answer.

  • Just an FYI.
    Just got one, and got it all FREE. No shipping, nothing. She said after 9/24/2014 they will start requiring a deposit. So if you want one, call Technical support to get one.

    • monkeybutts

      Thats the router, this is the booster it picks up LTE and amplifies it throughout your house.

      • I got the signal booster

      • JamesG

        Both are free until the 24th

    • Walker

      So how did you get it? You just call CS and said I need a signal booster in my house? And they’ll just send you one?

      • LakeFish

        Yes. They’ll ask about coverage (at least 1 bar indoors, some bad spots inside), and you should have at least one phone on the account that does NOT have wifi calling (otherwise it’s a better option). See the old article linked in the article above for all the criteria.

      • I asked could Inget one, because I needed it. She checked my coverages in my area, then said I qualify. She took me through their process, and said it will ship tomorrow.

        • Walker

          Yea I just did that about an hour ago.. But they said I won’t get mine till Sept 29th :/ but w/e

  • Just got mine ordered as well! Swapping out the HSPA booster for the LTE version! Thank you so much for the heads up Cam!

    • Lmrvrgs

      how did you order yours? im still on the old one and would love to get this one

      • JamesG

        Call up Tmobile care

      • Yup, just called up customer care and asked to speak with technical support. The rep I spoke with knew about it, but I guess it was the first time he had ordered it, since he put me on hold a few times to ask what to do.

    • Cam Bunton

      No worries. :-)

  • `david c

    whats the range of this thing?

  • John

    Are these free or you gotta pay for them?

    • JamesG

      Free until the 24th, after you have to pay $25 deposit

  • Rick Johnson

    Will these boost HSPA as well? I’m more concerned about Voice coverage on unlocked devices that don’t support WiFi calling or VoLTE than I am with LTE data as I have solid WiFi.

    • eanfoso

      Nope us folks with an unlocked phone are better off at grabbing the older signal boosters

      • JamesG

        Wrong

        • You are correct. This is better for people who change phones like underwear and who don’t have TMO branded phones.

    • JamesG

      It will boost everything except 2G/EDGE

  • Oms

    Does anyone have the model number for this LTE Booster (not the promoted Cel-Fi WiFi router)? I’ve contacted customer care for this and they tell me that the only thing they have available is the ASUS Cel-Fi router, which requires home based internet. I don’t have a landline internet at home and so I will benefit from this LTE booster. I just wish I could just tell customer care exactly what model to look for.

    • Cal

      Just ask for a cel fi signal booster or just have the connect you to technical support. Tech support is the only ine that can complete the order

    • Cal

      Cel-fi Duo is what it is called on the cel-fi website

  • Cal

    So I called to order this and they told me that since I already have the old cel fi router, i have to send in the old one first and then they can ship me the new one. Anyone else have this issue or should I call back and raise hell?

    • Ian

      I also have the old booster I wonder if I exchange it for this one.

      • Ian

        Nvm I just ordered the new signal booster. They will ship it the same day as my return /prepaid box. They charge $20 for processing but refundable as soon as they receive the old booster. So all in all its free.

    • JamesG

      Others have said they ship the new one and send you a return box for the old one

      • Joe Hays

        This will not work, the old cell fi router is too wide to fit in the box of the Wi-Fi CellSpot Router.

    • Danny123

      I was in the same boat but I called and explained the horrific signal I get inside of my home and told them I need my cell service I can’t wait to receive the box to return the old booster and then wait till you guys get it then call and have to wait some more. He understood and now I got the new LTE booster on the way and will have to send the old one back as soon as I get the order of the return box. Excellent customer service. Waved all fees and disregarded the need for me to make a payment on the account. I’m a happy camper!

    • No the girl I spoke to in the retention dept. (always ask for them) send me the new one to my home here in Atlanta, GA while the old unit is at the other house in Miami, FL. So you might need to talk to someone else.

  • tmobilefan47868

    I spoke with someone in technical support and they told me that for the Personal Cellspot 4g LTE signal booster (the one that requires you put one unit in the window and another in a central part of your house) would require me to pay a $25 deposit plus shipping. Not sure why other people are being told they don’t have to pay anything. I am a postpaid tmobile customer. This is for the cel-fi signal booster (cel-fi Duo). Anyone else having this problem? Is it because i’m on a classic value plan?

    • Bruce Lin

      I have one coming to me. $25 is waived until Sep 24th, and shipping is free unless you want faster than UPS Ground. I am current plan if that make any difference.

      • archerian

        do you need to be on Simple Choice plans?

        • Bruce Lin

          She didn’t say it’s a requirement or not. She real back my account information and said I am eligible for it.

    • Troy Glancy

      I didn’t have to pay because I also ordered before the 25 and I have previous booster from them.

  • PiCASSiMO

    Anyone know if this also does the non-LTE EDGE boosting of signal? I’m asking because we have a cottage in Michigan 0.3-miles off I-196 (near Coloma, MI) and the EDGE/GPRS is uber weak especially when in doors. Can’t talk or text while right by the window. I need to walk outside about 10 feet from the house to get a EDGE/GPRS signal.

    I would prefer to get this LTE version of the booster to be future proof once T-Mobile starts converting 2G to LTE.

    Also, is it free or do we have to sign-up up for some 2-year contract with our Value and Simple Choice plans (we have both in the family).

    • inferno10

      No, it’s strictly 4G/LTE

    • Troy

      I think the Cel FI which tmobile provides only does 3G/4G/LTE. You could check http://www.zboost.com/ to see if they have a 2G one.

    • Eric Doeding

      According to Des, its – “LTE, HSPA+ 42 Mbps & 3G as I understand it today”

  • mingkee

    I am wondering is wake on LAN there in settings (network tools)?
    I couldn’t find it in manual.

    • Joe Hays

      Yes, there is wake on LAN, look under Advanced Settings, Network Tools.

  • Daniel Holt

    Thank you T-Mobile. We were able to order our booster today to help out with signal loss at the house.

  • izick

    Mine is on the way. It took about 15 minutes on the phone… And the representative trying to convince me that Nexus 5s from the Play Store had Wi-Fi calling. SMH. #doesntsheknowtheresnodifference

    • dontsh00tmesanta

      I think I read that it will get it

  • f1ip

    bah, i just ordered the Wifi router earlier. Is it possible to get this ordered too?

    • William Burr Winans

      Apparently not! You have to send the router back then order the signal booster

  • Got mine sent today! Since I switch between wifi/non-wifi calling phones this is the best option for me. BlackBerry Z30 here on T-Mobile LTE.

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    Mine will be here sept 24 and will replace my dying rs2

  • AnthonyRyan89

    Oh man I would of been better off with this instead of the router

  • David K

    Just ordered mine. No questions asked, and it cost me $0 in total. Me happy.
    I did ask, and she said its 1 per account, not per line.

    • kalinee

      Is your account prepaid or postpaid cuz I tried to get one cuz if horrible service indoors at work, I contacted a T MO rep and they told me its only free if you’re on a postpaid account otherwise its the regular price

  • Logan S

    Just got off the phone with a Tmo Business Care rep. It took the rep a while to figure out what would be done for the exchange as it was her first case CelFi exchange, but thanks to the info others posted here, I was able to steer her in the right direction and we got it done (it was a 37 minute call). At first, she thought I would have to return the current unit first and there would be $25 deposit for the new one. I shared with her what I found out here and she quickly discovered that, yes, it’s possible to open a return case first, and after that place the order, and yes the 4G LTE booster is free until Sep 24, 2014.

    So:
    1. Specify that you want to firstly open a case to return the current RS1 signal booster, and secondly order the new 4G LTE signal booster,
    2. For the return of the RS1, the rep would open an case to get a prepaid UPS shipping label sent to you,
    3. Next, the rep would place an order for the new 4G LTE Signal Booster. Confirm that it is not the Wi-Fi version. You have a choice of free ground shipping, or $14.25 UPS express shipping or $2x overnight shipping.

    After I got off the phone, I dialed #TRK# to track the order, and it showed up right away with estimated delivery of 9/30/14, though I have a feeling it would get here sooner.

  • Medion

    I ordered mine last night. I was told that I would receive two packages on 9/30. The first package is the return kit for my previous-generation Cel-Fi signal booster, and the second package is the new one. There was no charge or deposit associated with this (though the prevailing rumor is that this device will be subject to a $25 deposit beginning 9/24).
    I was alerted to the following costs.

    -If I fail to return the old Cl-Fi, I’ll owe them $325 in replacement costs.
    -If what I return is damaged, it’s subject to $100 in replacement costs.
    -The replacement cost of the new one will be $400 if I leave T-Mobile and fail to return it.

    I plan to use this until Wi-Fi calling is a good option for me. My phone (unlocked Moto X) does not currently support Wi-Fi calling but is rumored to get the feature on or shortly after the L release. We’ll see. My wife’s iPhone 5s has it now, but when turned on she gets ungodly battery drain. We fully charged the device, turned on Wi-Fi calling, and let it sit for 2 hours in standby only to grab it and see the battery at 57%. Turned it off, fully charged again, and this time after 2 hours it was at 96%. She’s doing a backup and restore today and we’ll see if that cleans up some of the iOS7 garbage left behind.

    • Guest

      .

      • Medion

        The reason that I have to return mine is because they are in fact the same thing (old Cel-Fi and new Cel-Fi). And no, the new router does not act as a Cel-Fi signal booster. It’s simple a rebranded ASUS router with QOS settings pre-configured for WiFi calling.

        • Aaron C

          Yeah, I mis-read. I thought the article was an unboxing of the wi-fi router.

    • Vikram Singh

      I also own a moto-x. is the L update really going to bring wifi calling?

      • Medion

        Rumored. We’ll see what really happens after the new OS launches.

  • William Burr Winans

    I am dissatisfied cause I wanted to get both Wi-fi Router and Signal Booster at the same time. I am in a situation where the tower just got upgraded to LTE and I have to decide whether to get either Wi-fi or Signal Booster not get one and send it back.

  • Billy

    If I have great wifi signal throughout the house I don’t need this right?

    • billy is no genius

      Really…?! Lol

  • Daniel James

    Hello all. I ordered one of these devices last week and just recently I searched by reference on UPS because T-Mobile is always slow at sending me tracking numbers on any order I place I usually have to call. Anyways, I searched by reference and found a package weighing at 3.50 Ibs so I’m wondering if this could be my Booster; I ask this because T-Mobile is also sending me a return kit for my old booster. Any chance that anybody knows if this is the weight of the booster? T-Mobile has me going in circles and couldn’t give me any info on my packages basically said “Good luck buddy, it’ll be there when it gets there.” Thanks.

  • MH

    I have ordered mine today for free. No 25$ Deposit or Shipping. T-Mobile representative called me and waved both deposit and shipping.

  • jimmiekain

    Awesome! Now I can continue to get Nexus phones and dont have to be mad/sad that i cant use wifi calling.

  • Vikram Singh

    Just called today and they didnt ask for any deposit, sent it for free!
    And yes, yay for nexus/moto x etc devices that don’t have wifi calling!

  • vette98

    Got my 4G LTE signal booster compared to RS2 model huge difference in signal strength full signal 100% of the time and LTE speed test is same as network super fast !

  • Taka73

    Was able to order, but it is back ordered and Tmobile has absolutely no clue of when this will be re-stocked. I wish they know more about their product.

  • Gregg

    According to Cel-Fi’s customer support, this new unit doesn’t support Band 12, T-mobile’s “New, Big Thing!” for people who are signal challenged. Of course, neither do most of the current T-Mobile phones, including their new/old partner Blackberry. I don’t get it: If your customer’s drowning 12 feet from shore, why throw a 6-ft rope inland, in the opposite direction? Shouldn’t my carrier be COORDINATING with handset and technology providers to SERVE THE CUSTOMER’S NEEDS?