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Thu, Nov 3, 2016 10:25 PM

does at&t offer free microcell signal booster

Poor reception in house and read about free signal boosters from att and currently an att customer

Responses

Accepted Solution

Official Solution

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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11.7K Messages

2 years ago

@terryyd - sales of the MicroCell were discontinued at the end of 2017 because the MicroCell has reached its EOL. AT&T will continue to support it through this year but the service itself will eventually be discontinued. You can find used ones on eBay but there are caveats to that (see my Tech Guide for info on purchasing second-hand MicroCell, link is in my sig line).

 

The MicroCell is not a cellular booster. It uses your internet connection to reach the AT&T Mobility servers. You need to have a land-based internet service (cable, DSL, or fiber), a post paid AT&T cellular account, and ideally not live in a rural area because of the FCC E911 requirements ( your GPS coordinates must match the physical address of your house). You also need to live in a MicroCell Service Area, which in most cases, is the same as the AT&T Cellular Service Area.

 

What AT&T and us recommend now is WiFi-C (WiFi Calling) if your phone is capable. It uses your WiFi connection to reach the AT&T Mobility servers. However, you still need to have an AT&T post paid account to access WiFi-C on AT&T's network and your service area needs to be provisioned for VoLTE (HD Voice). Your only other options are to purchase a cellular booster, as long as you can get at least 1-2 bars of cellular signal strength from your rooftop (see my Cellular Booster Guide, link is in my sig line for more information), switch carriers, or possibly try Google Voice.

 

As a side note, the MicroCell was given away for free in select areas years ago as part of a promotional campaign. That practice was stopped long ago but every now and then AT&T would send out a MicroCell free of charge but that was not policy and only happened once in awhile. 

 

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Accepted Solution

Official Solution

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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11.7K Messages

7 months ago

@ZJellyBean - WiFi-C (WiFi Calling) is what AT&T and us recommend now if your phones are capable. Sales of the MicroCell were discontinued by AT&T at the end of 2017 because the MicroCell has reached its EOL. Service will continue, with declining support, until AT&T transitions away from their 3G network, at which time service itself will be discontinued, probably around Feb. 2020 or sooner.

 

The MicroCell is not a cellular booster but an actual femtocell. It uses your internet connection to make/receive calls, not the local tower, and requires a post paid AT&T cellular account with a land-based internet service (DSL, cable, or fiber). If you want to look into cellular boosters, see my Cellular Booster Guide (link is in my sig line) for a primer.

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Official Solution

Community Support

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15.2K Messages

3 years ago

Hi @Tylerh1986 and Community,

 

Although the original post was from last year, I know this is a pretty common question among our customers so I wanted to add an update to the conversation.  Overall, @OttoPylot is correct with each of his responses.  This isn't unsual, as @OttoPylot is our Microcell guru/sme Smiley Happy.

 

With that said, as we move toward Wi-Fi Calling as an option for customers, I would not expect to see any discounts on Microcell units going forward.  In addition to being very reliable by running off your home Wi-Fi connection, it also doesn't cost anything additional.  All you need is a compatible phone.  Not all phones are supported, including many older models, so you can find all the devices that support Wi-Fi Calling on our Shop page.  If you are still interested in purchasing a Microcell though, they are already discounted from the manufacturers cost through us.  Depending on the retailer it can be $50 to $100 cheaper. 

 

All details mentioned above are subject to change of course, but currently we are not discounting Microcell units at this time.

 

Thanks everyone for the great help and comments in this conversation!

 

Tim, AT&T Community Specialist

 

 

AT&T Customer Care

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*I am an AT&T employee, and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent AT&T's position, strategies or opinions.
OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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11.7K Messages

4 years ago

It is not AT&T Corporate policy to hand out free MicroCell's to anyone who requests them. That's not to say that you can't get one for free it just all depends on how you ask and if your area has a documented history of poor cellular reception. It can't hurt to ask though so try. At the very least, you should be offered a discount. There is no monthly charge after purchase but you do have to have a post paid AT&T cellular account to register and activate it.

 

The MicroCell is not a signal booster but an acutal femtocell. Which is basically a miniature macrocell (tower). It sends out a 3G cellular signal that your phone can lock onto and then use your internet connection to reach the AT&T Mobility Servers.

 

They work very well for most people but there are caveats to getting them to work reliably, namely your internet connection and provider. The MicroCell is designed for land-based internet service only, which is DSL or cable. They are not designed for satellite or wireless broadband. They will work on those types of connections but it is very un-reliable and as such is not supported at all by AT&T or us.

 

There is a lot of information about setup, requirements, troubleshooting, etc in my Tech Guide (see link in my sig).

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terryk

Mentor

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58 Messages

3 years ago

I was just on Online Chat and the tech support person never even mentioned the Microcell 😞  I have been a customer of this company long before it was At&t...over 25 years to be exact.  I guess its time to look at other carriers if that's how the customer loyalty works with At&t.

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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11.7K Messages

3 years ago

@terryk - if you were talking to Support about poor in-home cellular reception I'm a bit surprised that they didn't try to sell you a MicroCell. They are not free but if you are in an area of known poor coverage, they may offer you a discount on one. 

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David606

Employee

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3.5K Messages

3 years ago

Free MicroCells do not exist any longer. WiFi calling has taken over MicroCell for poor indoor coverage.

*I am an AT&T employee, and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent AT&T's position, strategies or opinions.
terryk

Mentor

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58 Messages

3 years ago

Yes it was about poor or in this case no cell signal in our house.  They asked for our address, they looked it up and said it showed "no service in our location" even though we have had service for years until something recently changed. They said the nearest tower was .85 miles east of us which is close but their is a mountain between us and that tower.  I am really familiar with this area and would be really surprised if there is a cell tower less than a mile from us. They didn't ask if we had internet access either which we do, fiber optic service.  In fact we just dumped our $45 per month Centurylink Landline service for an Ooma and it is working great.   The main drawback to anything internet based is that when our power goes off (rural area) we have nothing that works unless of course I connect up a generator which I can do.

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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11.7K Messages

3 years ago

@terryk - you have two things going against you for a MicroCell. One is your rural location and two is a mountain between you and the nearest macrocell (tower).

 

Rural locations are sometimes difficult because the GPS coordinates received by AT&T from the MicroCell may not match what's in the locational database for your physical address which results in activation issues. Matching GPS coordinates are an FCC requirement for E911.

 

The MicroCell needs a local tower to establish handing off, timing, location verification, MicroCell signal output, etc. It does not need it to transfer calls but if there is a mountain blocking the tower you could have problems. Service areas change, and being as AT&T recently disabled their 2G network there may have been other changes.

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terryk

Mentor

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58 Messages

3 years ago

Would that 2G have been the 'E' signal that used to show up on my phone that I am no longer seeing?  I do remember once last week seeing 4G for just a brief moment but then it went away and haven't seen it since.  Maybe the Wilson Cell Signal Booster I have in the house doesn't work on 4G.  I will check and see. 

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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11.7K Messages

3 years ago

@terryk - It's been a long time but I think 2G was the "E" alpha tag. If your phone inidicates 4G when connected to the MicroCell that's just how the phone is interpreting the HDSPA+ cellular signal. It "thinks" it's 4G but it's actually 3G.

 

If you have a Wilson Celluar Booster then why do you need the MicroCell, unless it's a older Wilson? Wilson is one of the cellular boosters that we recommend for folks who can't get the MicroCell to work satisfatorily. The two that we recommened are given in my Tech Guide.

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Impulses

Scholar

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159 Messages

3 years ago

When I called asking about it last November the very friendly rep said that I was as well informed about these as he was, but that there are currently no offers and the cost was $150. Apparently a sale on them had recently expired...

He also said AT&T wanted to push Wi-Fi calling now instead of the microcells, but that doesn't work for me given the phones we use (Pixel, Moto Z Play, and Sony Z5 Compact). In home signal has actually gotten worse since I called too...

Been experiencing difficulty in making and receiving calls rather than just random dropouts. Is there any trick to getting more favorable pricing?
lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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75.2K Messages

3 years ago

@Impulses  You can stalk eBay for one, but make sure you know which one to buy, and that it will need to be factory reset to unregister from the previous owner, and may need new power supply cord.   Really, $150 to get service if you live in a remote area is cheaper than buying new phones or changing cell carriers.  (The Sony is GSM only)

 

🐾 I don’t work for AT&T or any carrier. Never have, never will. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.

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Impulses

Scholar

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159 Messages

3 years ago

Yeah I've started looking around, the newer model seems to fetch a higher price but they still go for 1/2 what AT&T wants. I actually live smack dab in the middle of a dense urban area, but our street is somewhat at the foot of a hill on the other side of a naval base (Ft Buchanan in Guaynabo Puerto Rico)... I think it's a landscape issue more than anything, dunno why it's gotten worse recently tho.
OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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11.7K Messages

3 years ago

@Impulses

@lizdance40

 

Purchasing a used MicroCell is certainly an option (see my Tech Guide for pros and cons, link in my sig) but there is no such thing as a factory reset to deregister it. The original owner has to deregister the MicroCell via their myAT&T MicroCell Settings page. The reason being is that the serial number of the MicroCell is associated with the AT&T cellular account holder's account and only the owner of the account can deregister it. AT&T is very reluctant to deregister a MicroCell from the account, especially if the account is still active. A hard reset does not deregister the MicroCell. It only sets it back to default settings.

 

As mentioned above, the ac adapter is also critical, especially on used or older MicroCell's. Make sure the original adapter is shipped with the MicroCell but it's always wisest to check the adapter with a voltmeter first to make sure it is still delivering 16VDC +/- 0.5 with  no load.

 

If you talk to AT&T, and stress that you are in an area of poor coverage, they might be able to get a discount on a new one so all you can do is ask. I would also make sure that your internet service meets the requirements as well to avoid any problems.

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*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.