T-Mobile’s 4G LTE CellSpot update reportedly coming to enable Wideband LTE support


4G LTE CellSpot owners, your device may soon receive a major update.

A new report says that T-Mobile’s 4G LTE CellSpot will soon receive an update to enabled 20MHz Wideband LTE. Nokia (makers of the 4G LTE CellSpot) have reportedly confirmed that a firmware update will arrive in either Q4 2016 or Q1 2017 to enable 20MHz LTE.

To take advantage of this new feature, you’ll need to be in a market with Wideband LTE. Last we heard, Wideband LTE coverage is available to 231 million people, including cities like Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, and Boise.

It’s also expected that this firmware update will increase the number of simultaneous VoLTE calls supported by the 4G LTE CellSpot.

We haven’t heard much about the 4G LTE CellSpot since its launch last year, but this update sounds like it’ll be a big deal for those folks that have one in their homes. Now we just have to wait for the update to actually begin rolling out.

Thanks, Joe!

Via: Reddit

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  • D. Maki

    The only issue I’ve had with the cellspot is that for a long time I wasn’t getting calls or texts. Friends and family were finally able to get through only to tell me that they’ve been trying and trying to get ahold of me. That’s when I realized it was the cellspot. It was not receiving any calls or texts whatsoever. I had to perma unhook it and leave it unhooked. I can’t use a device that won’t do what it’s supposed to do.

  • det_b

    How about you add the slightest bit of security to this thing? Nothing is stopping any rando with a TMo device from leeching your entire monthly data limit.

    • Bradley Karas

      Data limits are personal…no one can use your data but you

      • Kyle Thompson

        incorrect with this CellSpot. anyone who can see the network within range can and does use your data broadcast thru it. even though it’s my wifi signal powering it, which makes no sense. at a house, not a huge deal, the signal doesn’t really get far outside the exterior. in a townhouse/apartment/condo, this is a problem. It would have taken 3 seconds to password protect this CellSpot like it’s 1999 but alas…no.

        • Bradley Karas

          They can use your signal but not your plan LOL

        • Kyle Thompson

          do you own one of these? I do. This has been the flaw in the device since the day it was released, this isn’t news, nor is it up for debate.

          It takes my separately paid home internet via ethernet cable and with that, creates a large 4G LTE network signal (band 4) for TMO.

          The device (CellSpot) that creates this band 4 signal is registered under my cell account on TMO.

          ANYONE who connects to that large 4G LTE network band 4 that this device creates is using my data against my account. That is how it works, and that is it’s inherent flaw.

          Even if I didn’t know that already, i can watch the data add up when I connect to that network (i have no regular cellular signal here at this location) and the proof is right there. They already noted this as the problem with the device.

          If it had any security ability whatsoever, i could password access protect it and only I could access my data being billed in that 4G bubble. Alas, no. Anyone parked outside with TMO is on my network signal that CellSpot creates and using the data I’m being billed for it’s creation. Period.

        • Bradley Karas

          You’re nuts junior

        • Kyle Thompson

          lol ok. i guess my device, google, and the rest of the world are wrong. that’s OK. i wish it worked logically like you want it to, but alas, it don’t.

        • Washout22

          It will count against you internet data cap if you have one, but it doesn’t count against your TMO data allotment. I have 2 of these and can confirm, along with everyone else that you, alas, don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • Washout

          It will count against your data allotment on your plan, just as it would using a normal tower, but someone else using the cellspot would not count against your data allotment, I think the verbiage you’re using is confusing the rest of the posters an myself.

        • Kyle Thompson

          that is the point i disagree on and was the reason I wish the CellSpot has logon security so that only devices/people I want can connect to use that signal it creates.

          As it stands today, anyone whose TMO device connects to my micro-tower CellSpot is using my data, and double-dipping me. In a house, no big deal unless someone parks on my front porch.

          In a condo/apt, however, it’s extremely probable your next door neighbor who has TMO is using your signal (as it would likely be strongest) on their devices and be the one the device chose to use automatically as best signal nearby.

        • Chuin_masterofsinanju

          No double dip. If they log on to your cellspot, they are using their T-mobile data limit, but it will count towards your home ISP limit/cap. A big concern is if someone uses their phone data through your cellspot to download illegal content (movies, child pix, etc., or even a threat to the life of a government official). I could see this being a big issue for the cellspot owner.

        • Bradley Karas

          Exactly!!! That was my point! For those who don’t have a data cap on ISP it won’t count against your T-mobile data allotment just your Wi-Fi data cap…which most don’t have i.e. Time Warner, Brighthouse (Spectrum), Frontier Fios etc etc…but he’s not listening and just arguing

        • tony77

          I read the whole string, and what Kyle is saying makes sense:

          If he connects a Wifi hotspot to his ISP, T-Mobile doesn’t count that data against his monthly cap. Wheeeee, unlimited T-Mobile data when I use Wifi+my ISP backhaul.

          But when he connects an LTE hotspot to the same ISP, T-Mobile does count that data against his monthly cap. Despite T-Mobile benefiting ^more^ from the LTE hotspot – other T-Mobile customers get a signal and use Kyle’s ISP backhaul – Kyle benefits ^less^ than if he had a Wifi hotspot.

        • Comment about illegal content

          If somebody download illegal content through CellSpot this will not create any problems for the CellSpot owner as the data will be tunneled to T-Mobile and will look like the same way as if you browse on the Macro Tower – different IP addresses.

        • It doesn’t count against your T-Mobile data use (when others connect), only your home internet plan, which most are extremely high anyways so a few extra gigs isn’t that big of a deal.

        • Bradley Karas

          I do own one of these! At my office…with an ISP with no data cap! It does NOT count against your T-mobile data allotment when others use. This isn’t news, nor is it up for debate. Make sure you know what the F*** you’re talking about before you get snide!

        • I think whwre Kule is confused is that this devices DOES use your ISP data, and even though it’s YOUR data, it still counts as part of your T-Mo data. That’s because T-Mo sees it as a cell tower. So in a way, you could be paying for the same data twice… once from your ISP and again from T-Mo. Where he’s wrong is that when other people connect they use his ISP data but not his personal cellular data bucket. That WOULD suck.

          Bottom line is this is a great product for people with unlimited ISP and unlimited T-Mo data packages.

        • There’s no such thing as a password protected cell tower. It doesn’t work that way. If that’s what you want, use wifi instead.

      • I think what he’s referring to is his ISP’s data limit (Comcast, AT&T, CableOne, Time Warner, CenturyLink, etc) not his T-Mobile data limit.

        This device connects to your personal network from your internet service provider and if there are a lot of people around connecting to your mini LTE cell tower? It absolutely will use the internet from your ISP (many of whom impose data limits/caps).

        • Bradley Karas

          Most don’t…but if you do I see the point but that wasn’t what he was saying. It won’t count against your T-mobile data plan…ISP providers that have caps I can’t speak for. I’ve had Time Warner, AT&T, Brighthouse and Frontier Fios. Never had a cap and I use about 400 GB per month streaming anything I want

    • (J²)

      You’re are right, heavy usage can eat away at your home internet plan assuming you have a provider that imposes caps. Other peoples usage does not eat away at your own personal data bucket.

      Unfortunately, that is the point of the CellSpot. It’s not a flaw.

      Similar to what Comcast was testing, using their Wi-Fi modems (installed in homes) to double as a public hot spot.

      The coverage that your Cell Spot creates (and previous solutions as well) are available to the public.

      • det_b

        The difference there is that Comcast public hotspots, while on the same physical equipment, are completely separated from your home network and don’t interfere with private data use.

        The only issue I take with Comcast is that you receive no benefit at all in that situation. They should at the very least provide the equipment for free if you leave the public wifi on, or maybe give a bill credit. You ARE still able to turn that “feature” off at any time.

        With the TMo device, you are basically their electric utility and backhaul network provider. You are supplying the power and network connection for their “cell tower” to function. They are able to increase their cellular footprint in obviously under-served areas at a very minimal one time charge, while you cover all ongoing costs of supporting that “tower”.

        Your best bet is to connect the CellSpot to a switch with port management that allows you to limit it’s speed. The only reason anyone would need a CellSpot is for better voice coverage, and voice uses less than 100kbps. At 4Mbps, that’s less than 10GB’s per month at constant use, and no one is going to bother leeching off 4Mbps.

        • (J²)

          Hence the reason I said “similar to”.

          I’m not arguing against you point, I totally agree with you but from a business perspective, I understand why T-Mobile would want people to market these as “Personal” CellSpots even when they are available for anyone with a T-Mobile device within range to use.

          I personally don’t mind being part of making T-Mobile better. I believe the device is limited to 60 Mbps down. I have Time Warner Cable’s Ultimate (300 Mbps down) so I have no concerns there but yes, I do feel like there should be options to those who have slower internet or limited data usage.

        • det_b

          Definitely. It’s a great move on their part to fill in gaps where needed. My condo community has terrible coverage from most carriers. This device works great for me (and my neighbors as well).

          I also have no problem letting anyone connect to the device so long as it doesn’t interfere with my personal data consumption, or add unknown costs to me. In a world of pre-capped broadband, I wouldn’t care at all. However, my ISP just recently added a cap. I most likely will never hit it, but the potential for added costs is now there.

        • I think that’s why it’s free?

        • det_b

          It’s free because they want to keep/grow customers. They have no other choice aside from installing real towers, which isn’t so simple. If they charged they would lose customers to Verizon.

        • Well Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint all want to “keep/grow customers” too right? But they all charge for their version of this product. T-Mo has taken almost 100% of the growh in the industry for 11 quarters in a row so I guess they’re doing something right.

        • det_b

          They have the capacity and the spectrum needed. TMo does(did) not.

        • Really? “T-Mobile has more spectrum capacity per subscriber than its largest competitors.”


        • det_b

          Most of which it hasn’t used or can’t use.

        • So lots of room for growth?

        • det_b

          Definitely! And I sure hope the pace continues. I’ve been with TMo since it was VoiceStream. Hopefully this 600MHz mess gets cleared up soon so they can fully utilize their B12 holdings and whatever lower spectrum they pick up. When that happens, we won’t need the CellSpot’s.

        • I think you don’t understand what CellSpots are for? EVERY provider offers them, because no matter how good the network there will always be places cell signals can’t reach. I use mine on the 10th floor of an office building. NO carrier has great service in the middle of a dense building, or in your basement, etc. so there will always be a place for a CellSpot and/or wifi.

        • det_b

          I think you don’t understand what TMo is using the CellSpot for.
          In this case, the network can’t reach where I am because it doesn’t exist. Verizon has good coverage here and AT&T is OK because they both deploy low band spectrum in the area. TMo has antenna in the exact same location, but it does not operate Band12 equipment and does not reach me.
          Instead of putting up a new tower closer to my area (or deploying low band spectrum because they currently can’t), they rely on open CellSpots to increase coverage.

        • All carriers offer a version of a “CellSpot”, because they ALL have places their customers need it.. regardless of their spectrum. However of all the carriers, T-Mobile has the LEAST need for them, as they were the first carrier to have wifi calling and texting on all their devices.

        • T-Mobile does need CellSpot as there’s quite a bit of people with unlocked devices like the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Duos, devices that do not have VOLTE on-board.

      • Bonedatt

        I’m confused by this logic regarding heavy usage. Are they not on different frequencies? Wi-Fi uses the 2.4GHz and 5GHz while this LTE Cellspot uses 1900MHz and 2100MHz frequencies .Again, someone please clarify if I’m missing something.

  • Dan

    Why doesn’t this device work with band 12?

    • Bradley Karas

      You don’t need band 12 with this device

      • Dan

        I understand but if you only have 1 bar of band 12 LTE, this device wouldnt work at all

        • Bradley Karas

          This is the Wi-Fi cellspot not the signal booster

        • Joe

          Incorrect. This isn’t the LTE booster or the Wi-Fi router. It’s the the 4G LTE CellSpot which is basically a mini tower that uses your home internet connection to create coverage inside of your home or office building.

        • Dan

          Yes youre right. Sorry i was thinking about the signal booster

        • Huh? You don’t need any “bars” (signal) with this device.

    • det_b

      Primarily, because Band-4 is supported by all TMo LTE devices. Band-12 works great across long distances with obstructions, which isn’t needed in a “local” device. Band-4 theoretically would offer higher speeds, but that also doesn’t really matter in this situation.

  • Jason Caprio

    When I had T-Mobile, I used one of these. It would broadcast Band 4 LTE at 10MHz, and Band 2 HSPA+ for devices that didn’t do VoLTE. My home internet is 200MBit/sec through Comcast. Within 20 feet of the device, I’d speedtest a maximum speed of 64MBit/sec. The HSPA+ would speedtest at around 12MBit/sec. I would assume the 20×20 update would make the speed effectively 128MBit/sec.

    • Joe

      Theoretical max over 20MHz LTE is 150Mbps down and 50Mbps up (75Mbps if 64QAM is enabled).

  • Awesome device, have one at mom and one at my office. Love it.

    • Jason Caprio

      If you or anybody has a Samsung Device. In the phone dialer, dial *#0011#

      This will bring up the Service Mode. You will see Band 4 BW:10MHz or 20MHz depending on the firmware. Unfortunately I have not figured out a way to tell bandwidth on any phone besides a Samsung.

  • Matt

    If they could have made this available for prepaid customers, I would have stayed. I was even willing to buy one but T-Mo said no.

    • (J²)

      Well, I know part of this is due to the authentication process and E-911 feature. These devices are not standalone, they are associated with a T-Mobile postpaid account where static addresses are assigned.

      Since these devices are not technically “Personal” – they service the public as well, there’s got to be guidelines followed.

      Just imagine if somebody registered a T-Mobile prepaid account as Big Mac with an address of 555 McDonalds Lane and someone passed by and their device connected to the 4G/LTE CellSpot and they needed to call 911. They’d be fucked..

      • joenforcer

        And, if you’re in an area that isn’t licensed for Band 2 and Band 4, it will automatically disable itself and you’ll spend several hours learning that before you have to get a range extender instead. I found that out the hard way with my subpar service in Dane County.

    • Dan

      Why not just buy the range extenders off ebay $100

      • Dan

        The 4G LTE Signal Booster is a unique solution that brings T-Mobile’s 4G LTE coverage to your home. The 4G LTE Signal Booster uses two separate units to take T-Mobiles signal from outside and boost it into your home!

      • Because this creates it’s own signal and can be used even if you don’t have any service, plus it’s free…

  • Kyle Thompson

    i surrender. TMobile doesn’t know their own products. You could take 10 seconds and any random Google or Bing search on say “tmobile cell spot 4g lte uses internet data and tmobile data” and learn how it works rather than making an ass of yourself here. Read ANY article that pops up there. Unless you want to convince yourself I took over the internet and rewrote all of them, which would be neat.

    i’ll even do you a solid and put the first one direct from TMO here:


    pay careful attention to this section of that URL:

    Is there a separate pricing plan for T-Mobile 4G LTE CellSpot?

    No. 4G LTE CellSpot customers use their existing service plan with T-Mobile, meaning data used over the 4G LTE CellSpot counts against your data plan. To access data without it counting against your plan, use Wi-Fi.

    Frankly, I don’t care. I live in a house so no one can get close enough to be using my micro-tower signal. I also have unlimited data on my TMO and ISP, so i don’t pay attention to how much it uses. But that IS how it works people. TMO double dips you just like every other micro tower setup. If I stream a 2GB video over this CellSpot, it counts as 2GB toward my internet provider AND 2 GB toward my TMO data plan.

    Read any of the others as desired. You can enjoy the 3rd one down on arstechnica (or any other one)
    Even though it’s using your home broadband connection, any data you use while connected to the CellSpot counts against your T-Mobile plan’s data limits. Customers must use Wi-Fi to avoid using up cellular data allotments—so you’re better off using Wi-Fi to begin with, especially if your phone supports Wi-Fi calling. The CellSpot could also use up any data allotment you have for home Internet, if you’re on a capped plan.

    it uses BOTH home and TMO data plan data. And anyone within range (3000 sq ft) can and will log onto your CellSpot microtower if it provides the best signal, up to 8 devices. So you and 7 of your closest friends within range are all using YOUR ISP data and YOUR TMO data plan. Which is explained in approximately 88,000 web pages on the topic on any search. Go ahead, find me one that says otherwise.

    • Chuin_masterofsinanju

      Kyle, you are missing the point. When you hook this cellspot to your ethernet connection, anyone that logs onto the cellspot will be using your data through your ISP (e.g. Comcast). So if Bob, your next door neighbor gets cell signal through your cellspot, T-Mobile will count his usage towards his T-Mobile data allotment, but Comcast will also count the using towards your home internet data cap. There is no other way this would work when the cellspot is connected to your home internet.

  • tjm688

    You are wrong. It does connect to your home internet i.e. comcast who has a data limit. Whenever you use your phone, it is using the data from the comcast line. If you have random people connecting to the cellspot then they are essentially using up your comcast data.

  • Warp

    WANT BAND 12

    • Joe

      The 4G LTE CellSpot only supports Band 4 LTE and WCDMA Band 2. It doesn’t physically have the hardware to support Band 12.

    • Jason Caprio

      You do not want or need Band 12 with this device. T-Mobile only has a 5MHz slice of bandwidth on Band 12 which would not yeild nearly as high speeds as 20MHz on Band 4.

  • Tim

    Are these free

    • Joe

      Depends on your credit. You might have to put $25 down.

  • Mooch

    Oh, you mean the cellspot router that has to be kept in an environment below 60 degrees otherwise it overheats and reboots? That cellspot? Yeah, this thing is garbage. Ive been through two and keep it in my living room which is a chill 65 degrees. Both cellspot routers have overheated.

    • Joe

      No. This isn’t about the router. This about the mini tower that uses your internet connection to create cellular coverage indoors.

    • KrisKordova

      I’ve never seen so many people bitchin over free sh!t. My god

      • Mooch

        Doesn’t matter that it’s free. If it’s a piece of junk, it’s a piece of junk. And this thing is a piece of junk.

        • You may have a damaged or worn out one, or one that is full of dust, contact T-Mobile support about it

        • Mooch

          Ive been through three and they’ve all done the same thing. They’re garbage. Plain and simple. I shouldn’t have to keep my house freezing cold so this device doesn’t overheat.

      • Romdude

        Which is why I got the other router which is way better and no problem for morere than a year now.

  • bessie.whiddon

    1 yr ago I decided to resign from my old job and it was a best decision i made in my life… I started working from home, over a site I discovered online, for a few hours daily, and I make much more than i did on my previous job… My last month paycheck was for Nine thousand bucks… Amazing thing about this work is the more free time i got for my kids… TINY.PL/g9s36

  • JG

    Maybe I’m missing something… But what’s the point of wideband LTE with this?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but you have to connect this to your modem/router and it uses your internet connection to generate the LTE (kind of like your router, but with LTE instead of WiFi).

    So no matter how wide of a band on any frequency(s) it broadcasts, the connection speed is never going to surpass your home internet speed (even if local wideband from cell towers can). Most WiFi routers probably are able to transmit data faster than your modem already. So there won’t be a speed boost there either.

    I’m not even seeing a reason to use this… With the possible exception of tablets and wearables, more likely than not, the phone is the only internet capable device in your house that connects via LTE. All other internet capable devices (computers, TVs, DVD/Bluray players, etc) as well as your phone, tablet and wearable rely on WiFi (or a bluetooth pairing to a WiFi capable device). Why bother powering another box when the network yours makes covers the same area, provides the same speeds, etc…

    • It’s a lot more seamless to just use LTE than to switch between WiFi and LTE at home, plus it covers a greater area and you don’t have to rely on WiFi calling. Plus, lots of people have home internet plans of several hundred megs to 1Gbps these days.