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OttoPylot
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2014 ACE
Crowd Pleaser 2
ACE - Expert

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16.4K Messages

Mon, Nov 13, 2017 6:38 PM

MicroCell End of Life Has Been Announced

The official end of life for the MicroCell will be at the end of this year (2017). AT&T will stop selling the MicroCell except at Corporate Stores who still have them in stock. However, AT&T will continue to support the MicroCell for an unspecified period of time next year. Of course that will mean that most of the "support" will be trying to convince customers to upgrade their phones to WiFi-C capable phones. We will still be around as usual for support questions but don't expect to get much out of AT&T.

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OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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16.4K Messages

4 y ago

@nwhaynes - when in a mixed environment (WiFi-C capable and non-WiFi-C capable phones) the only option is to put the WiFi-C capable phones in Airplane Mode to use WiFi-C, or turn off WiFi-C and continue to use the MicroCell. That sucks and has been an issue that I've been pointing out to AT&T ever since they first introduced WiFi-C. When I tested WiFi-C before signal propagation was apparently increased a bit in my area WiFi-C worked extremely well with the MicroCell disabled. I just left WiFi-C on all of the time and went about my business here and outside of the home. It's the mixed environment that's the issue and I just don't see AT&T working  to "fix" that.

 

Outside of device failure I think you'll be able to continue to use your MicroCell for longer than you think. At least that's my hope.

pgrey

ACE - Master

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3.5K Messages

4 y ago

We have 100% WiFi "capable" phones in our family, every single one would work like a champ, on ANY carrier but AT&T (the WiFi calling part).

But, they're all non-branded, and therefore are not white-listed, so we can't use the feature, which drives me nuts, every winter, when we're often at a location that has no/terrible cell coverage, but great WiFi (the place we ski, both lodges have nice APs).

 

If they're going to discontinue the support here, they're effectively saying that you either have to purchase an iOS device, or an AT&T branded one, in order to use call/text functionality, over WiFi, seems like a very "interesting message", if you ask me.  More like BYOD-non-friendly, except Apple...

 

@OttoPylotDo you have any sense of if they're finally going to cave on WiFi call/text, since they're nuking the last "lifeline" for people who don't have coverage at home?

Teacher

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12 Messages

4 y ago

@OttoPylot I definitely hope you are right but I'm not holding my breath. 

 

I'm actually using my microcell over an at&t unlimited lte connection which surprisingly works quite well.  I used to use it on my 1.5mb dsl line which disconnected constantly (I am right at the limit for dsl so it's practically unusable).  I finally canceled that when at&t rolled out the whpi rural plans in my area and recently switched it over to the unlimited plus plan. My power company is running fiber to my house at some point hopefully around march they are saying so if that happens I would like to keep using my microcell as long as possibble and possibly even keep my at&t whpi on my unlimited plan as a backup/portable connection.  I might even put my whpi on the microcell once I get the fiber connection to improve reliability (I can typically get 2-3 bars of LTE where the homebase is sitting right now) but I am betting it would be even better if I am using it for phone only on the mcell.  I won't really care about connection speeds from it at that point since it will basically just be wireless home phone unless my fiber connection goes down for some reason at which point it would be a failover connection and hopefully it would connect back to LTE once the microcell went down.

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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16.4K Messages

4 y ago

@pgrey - I've asked but have been unable to get anything official or non-official, at least nothing that I can post publicly. My feeling is that once the inventory is depleted at the corporate/retail stores AT&T will re-visit the WiFI-C issue.

windracer

Mentor

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47 Messages

3 y ago

I'm just now stumbling across these "microcell discontinued" threads (was researching the "Activation failure (Error 102)" message that one of my MCells has thrown two days in a row now).

 

Can someone give me a link to the official announcement/press release from AT&T? I find it odd that I've heard nothing about this from AT&T "officially." I have two MCells in the office that we rely on for signal. Despite being close to a major airport, our office on the first floor of a building has little to no AT&T signal (go outside and it's fine, so it's something about the location of the office and maybe structure of the building itself). WiFi-C has not worked reliably (mostly iPhones in the office, one Android device) so when the MCells "go down" most people see "No Signal" on their phones instead them switching to WiFi-C. I need to start looking into alternatives now if the MCells are going to stop operating at the end of the year.

 

Thanks.

sandblaster

ACE - Expert

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55.4K Messages

3 y ago

@windracer Does it matter if you have the “official” announcement, if there even is one? Besides, you found a year old thread, the “end of life” was last year. It has already ended. ATT is still providing limited support but if your mcell hardware is failing, you are pretty much out of luck. 

windracer

Mentor

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47 Messages

3 y ago

Management is going to want to see an official announcement and also want a reason as to why customers were not notified. We're a corporate account and have a lot of lines with AT&T. I have the 2 microcells here in the office and three more in remote offices across the country. We might have more that I'm not aware of (managed by other areas).

 

I realized the "end of life" happened last December, but it seems like the "service shutdown" is the end of this year. Sure, they might keep working but I need to figure out if WiFi-C is going to actually work for these locations.

ACE - Sage

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92.1K Messages

3 y ago

@windracer

Has anyone actually turned wifi calling on?  If they did, it would not be ‘no service ‘ it would read ‘ATT WIFI’.   Wifi calling is not on be default, it must be set up on the phone. Including the E911 address.   

Most who say it doesn’t work, don’t have it set up.  

iPhone.  https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203032

Android.  Open settings.  Type ‘advance calling’ in search bar.   Turn on advanced calling, and follow prompts for Wifi calling.   

IPhone 6 and newer and ATT branded android from Samsung, LG running Marshmallow or newer are WIFI calling capable. 

 

windracer

Mentor

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47 Messages

3 y ago

Yes, we have had everyone enable WiFi-C on their phones. We did that when we first moved to this office and discovered the poor AT&T coverage. Since WiFi-C wasn't working, AT&T gave me the two MCells (this was October 2017, so it's concerning to me that they did that and made no mention that the service was going end-of-life just two months later). I'll continue to test WiFi-C ... maybe it's gotten better since we first tried. I know it works fine for me at home.

 

Thanks.

sandblaster

ACE - Expert

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55.4K Messages

3 y ago

@windracer Additionally, phones won’t switch to WiFi calling if they are getting a strong enough cellular signal. The mcell signal could be preventing phones from switching to WiFi calling. Have some of those users try putting their phones in airplane mode, then turn WiFi back on. That will force the phone to go to WiFi calling. 

windracer

Mentor

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47 Messages

3 y ago

I removed my phone from the MCell and my phone went to "no signal." But after turning WiFi-C off and back on, it switched to "AT&T Wi-Fi." I'll do some more tests with selected people in the office and see how it goes. Thanks to everyone for your replies (and my apologies for resurrecting an old thread).

Teacher

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12 Messages

3 y ago

@windracer

 

You might want to talk to AT&T about getting a metrocell.  They are designed for business users and can do LTE instead of just 3g.

 

https://www.business.att.com/solutions/Family/mobility-services/in-building/

 

They are however substantially more expensive than the microcells were.

Teacher

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12 Messages

3 y ago

My microcell was still working as of this morning.

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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16.4K Messages

3 y ago

@nwhaynes - the MicroCell service is still active and will continue to be so for some time. AT&T's metro cell system is a DAS (Distributed Antenna System) and is similar in function to cellular boosters. The MicroCell is, and always has been 3G only. It will work with 4G/LTE handsets but only at the 3G protocols.

 

@windracer - what we recommend is to either use the MicroCell or WiFi-C, but not both at the same time. The reason being is that the phone may have difficulty in knowing which signal to lock on to, either your WiFi for WiFi-C or the MicroCell's cellular 3G signal. Some phones can handle that better than others. The other option is put your phone in Airplane Mode to disable its cellular radio so that it will only connect to your WiFi signal for WiFi-C. WiFi-C is not the same thing as WiFi so we recommend leaving WiFi enabled on your phone when using the MicroCell so that data is handled by your WiFi connection and voice is handle by the MicroCell. Again, some phones handle that better than others.

 

I have been pushing AT&T for quite some time now to make some sort of official announcement, better than what they did for the discontinuance of sales, but haven't been able to get much traction. I would like them to send out a text to all active MicroCell accounts announcing the service shutdown with some sort of explanation (which, if they do give one, will probably be lame). Hopefully I will be able to post something in advance of that like I did for EOL announcement last October and another reminder in  December. That's one of the reasons I put together the Cellular Booster Guide and direct folks to that document. It is an option, albeit and expensive one depending on the level you want/need, but it is an option to consider.

windracer

Mentor

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47 Messages

3 y ago

@nwhaynes interesting, thanks for the link! I will definitely check that out. I wonder why AT&T didn't suggest that to me originally instead of two separate MCells.

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