What is happening with 3G?
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OttoPylot
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ACE - Expert

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18.1K Messages

Thu, Dec 9, 2021 6:40 PM

MicroCell Service is Going Away VERY Soon

I just received my notice from AT&T that "We're shutting down our 3G service in February 2022 to make improvements to our network. This means that your MicroCell will not work on our enhanced network". WiFi-C (WiFi Calling) is what AT&T is suggesting to use to improve in-home coverage.

AT&T is rumored to be offering a new "MicroCell" which will supposedly be 4G/LTE and may eventually have 5G capabilities. Nothing is set in stone and nothing, other than the above is available publicly yet, and there is no ETA on when the new device will be available and what the purchase cost will be, so don't ask.

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AT&T Cell Booster Technical Guide by OttoPylot

Cellular Booster Guide by OttoPylot

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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.

New Member

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4 Messages

2分前

I have a 3g micro cell.  I used it because AT&T service in the mountains (Truckee, California) is spotty.  At our house we get no cell service.  The 3G plugged into our DSL (only service we can get from A&TT) enabled us to to use our phones within about 50 yards of our house.  And we need to have service around the property.  WiFi Calling on our DSL only works inside the house.   I know the 3G micro Cell service is not supposed to work anymore.  If I plug it back in to the DSL modem do you think it will work?  

You mentioned that there is a micro cell replacement.  I have called the employee line and the consumer line (they have no clue) about getting on the upgrade list.  How can I make this happen.  By the way, I am a retired AT&T employee.    Hope you can help.   Thanks

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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18.1K Messages

2分前

@BobAllen  AT&T has shutdown their 3G network pretty much nationwide by now. There may be a few pockets but they will be going away as well. So, to answer your question, no, the MicroCell will not work anymore as the backend (connecting Mobility Server) is not accepting any connections from MicroCells now and AT&T has disabled the radios in the MicroCells.

You should have received an email notification sometime around December that your MicroCell was going to be replaced by the new Cell Booster (which is still a femtocell like the MicroCell) and one would be sent to you free of charge. If you didn't get that email, another one was sent out around January to catch those that were missed with the first email. With that email, there was a weblink (which was broken) that you were supposed to use to order one, for free, if you still needed one. If you didn't get either notification, then you were unfortunately one of the customers that were missed entirely. If you didn't change your physical address, or phone number, since first registering/activating the MicroCell you should have been on the list.

The Cell Boosters are now on sale online at AT&T and in some Corporate and Reseller stores. Demand exceeded supply for the free ones so there are no more to give out, in theory. Support hasn't a clue as usual.

If your MicroCell was working and your MicroCell account showed activity (AT&T SHOULD be able to determine that) then you can file a complaint with the BBB, which goes straight to Corporate, and someone from the Office of the President will contact you and you may still be able to get a free one.

Keep in mind that the Cell Booster is LTE only, and the connection requirements are bit more stringent. You will need a phone(s) that meet AT&T's post-3G requirements to use it and you will also need an internet connection with at least a consistent 5.0Mbps download. All of this is covered in my Cell Booster Tech Guide (link is in my sig line).

In reality, WiFi-C (WiFi Calling) is still the preferred method for improving poor in-home coverage provided you have good WiFi to begin with.

New Member

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4 Messages

2分前

I never received an e-mail notification about my 3g microcell.  I wrote to you before about this but I want to get your advise.  Our house in the mountains (Truckee, CA) does not get the ATT cell signal.  We used the microcell with our ATT DSL (the only ATT service we can get there).  It worked fine at our property and the signal was good for about 50 yards around the property which is important, as we are always working outside and need the coverage away from the house.  WiFi calling does not work outside the house.  I want to get the cell booster pro but they want to charge me $699 for it.  (I think I could get an employee discount.) I have 5 iPhones on the ATT service in the family. Our bill is almost $300 a month.  I can get Verizon and other carriers signals at and around the mountain house.  I am not interested in changing service providers as I am a retired ATT employee.  But if they are going to charge me $699 or any fee to get a cell  booster then I will change to a different carrier.  Is there anyone I can talk to about this?  When I call in to ATT support I get someone in a way off far land that does not understand what I am asking. It is very frustrating.  Any info or advise you can give me will be appreciated.  Thanks

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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18.1K Messages

2分前

@BobAllen  I've been to Truckee many many times over the years so I'm familiar with the area. That being said.....

AT&T did try to reach all of the current MicroCell users with accounts that showed activity but obviously they didn't get the notification to everyone. That was the purpose of the second email with the broken link. Why you were missed is anybody's guess. Your MicroCell account was linked to your cellular phone number which in turn would've been linked to your email and physical address. If any of those changed the info might not have been updated correctly resulting in you getting lost in the system.

The Cell Booster Pro is intended for First Responders and FirstNet users but anyone can purchase one if they one, think they need it and two, can afford it. Only a few First Responders/FirstNet customers were sent Cell Booster Pros during the free program. 

Keep in mind that the Cell Booster is LTE only which means that you need to have an AT&T LTE tower close enough to you for location checks and other maintenance procedures. If you have absolutely zero signal strength (LTE) that could be an issue.

Calling AT&T Support is an exercise in futility. They are clueless on the Cell Booster and especially the Cell Booster Pro.

You can file a complaint with the BBB and/or the FCC. Those go straight to Corporate and someone from the Office of the President should contact you. Maybe they can get you a Cell Booster. 

WiFi-C is still your best bet. A better router like a mesh WiFi system may give you a stronger WiFi signal that you could use outside your home.

What kind of speeds do you get with your DSL service? The Cell Booster requires a minimum of 5Mbps download and the more the better. 100Mbps is ideal.

New Member

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4 Messages

1分前

Otto,

I took your advice and filed a FCC complaint about not getting a new micro cell.  Here is what they told me.  Because I did not use the micro cell for over 6 months they were not going to give me the replacement.  I disconnected it based on the advice of a ATT tech who was working on our service.  The office of the president called me.  Great person.  She did some research and in the end sent me a new call booster.  I will be installing it at our mountain cabin in Truckee in a few weeks.  So hopefully it will solve my issue about coverage outside the house.  Thank you again for all your help.  I really appreciate it.  

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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18.1K Messages

1分前

@BobAllen  I disconnected my MicroCell years ago and started using WiFi-C exclusively in-home because it was just more reliable with better call quality. However, I would periodically take it off the shelf, plug it back in, and use it for about a month just to establish current activity. I am doing the same thing with the Cell Booster now as I have finished my testing for AT&T and have gone back to WiFi-C. 

What kind of speeds are you getting with your DSL connection? The Cell Booster is a bit more demanding on speed and the quality of the connection. And make sure your phone meets AT&T's post-3G cellular requirements.

New Member

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4 Messages

1分前

It is basic DSL.  We are a long way from the CO.  Last time I checked the speed it was about 5mbps.  Hope the new call booster will work.  As I said before WiFi works OK for cell calls in the house but I need it to work around the property so when we are outside a short distance from the house (10-50yards) we can get reception.  Or maybe there is a better router that you can suggest that will give me broader coverage.  All I have connected to the DSL is the Netgear Wireless Gateway ATT provided when I set up the service 10 years ago.  

ACE - Sage

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97.4K Messages

1分前

@BobAllen

You indicated that you get a signal from Verizon, why on Earth would you not switch?   And just because you're retired AT&T is not a reason.

Verizon is similar in cost to AT&T. In fact I have five phone lines a tablet and a companion device and my next bill is $185.   I signed up for the Verizon visa and use it to purchase groceries and usually get another additional $30 a month in 'Verizon dollars' (credits you can use on your bill).   Unlimited data on a current plan, service only.  

What happens if your electricity goes out?  Without electricity Wi-Fi calling and your cell booster are both out of business. I'm sure you probably have a generator but generators quit too. 

I'm glad you're happy with the result of getting a new cell booster but you really should switch carriers.   

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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18.1K Messages

1分前

@BobAllen  5Mbps is the ABSOLUTE minimum needed for the Cell Booster so I suspect you will have connection reliability issues.

I agree with @formerlyknownas . If you can get good Verizon signal at and around your house then you should switch to Verizon and probably use WiFi-C (WiFi Calling) in-home if the indoor signal is flaky.

If you are considering extending your WiFi coverage for WiFi-C, then I'd look into a better router, probably something like a mesh system so you could place satellites (AP's ) around your house.

DSL is difficult because it is subject to interference (moisture, corrosion on the lines, line taps, etc). I had DSL for years but I ran my own dedicated, two-wire line from the MPOE to the den where it was connected to a dedicated wall outlet with nothing else on that line. Filtering was done at the MPOE. That made for a very reliable and stable connection, but our speeds were 20Mbps with very little jitter.

I would seriously consider a different internet provider, if one is available, which may mean you have to switch cellular carriers as well.

Being as you now have the Cell Booster, would go ahead and try to set it up and see what happens. However, the AT&T-supplied gateway is probably c**p, especially it it's 10 years old. I'd look into just a good modem for  the DSL connection and a better router like I suggested.

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