As of September 7, 2011 T-Mobile has finally made available their “Cel-Fi Signal Booster”. I had heard from different sources over the last few years that T-Mobile has been extensively been testing a “Signal Booster” to improve their loyal subscribers service experience. Although I knew they were working on something, I didn’t know what it was called, now we all know.
As most of you know, cell reception has a tendency to lose signal strength indoors or in basements etc. The T-Mobile Cel-Fi Signal Booster can help improve the signal loss and help maintain a steady/solid connection with the tower to provide much better download speeds and call experience over the T-Mobile 3G/4G signal. Currently the Cel-Fi Signal Booster doesn’t support 2G/GPRS and no word has been stated to give any hope that it will ever support these older connections either, so if you only have a 2G (EDGE/GPRS) connection at home, this is not an option for you and you’d be much better off using T-mobile’s WiFi Calling or UMA calling available on select T-Mobile handsets. Let’s get down to the details. This is a true Plug-n-Play system.
The T-mobile Cel-Fi Signal Booster consists of two parts, a window unit and a coverage unit. Both require an AC outlet available for each unit. T-Mobile has a pretty strict approval process they make their CSR go through with you before deciding if you can be approved. Once approved you’re told that shipping may take up anywhere from 7 to 10 days. I personally received mine in 5 days. Once it arrived, I was surprised to see how easy it was to set up. I walked around the house with my phone to measure the signal strength and found an optimal location that was out-of-the-way and got at least one bar of service, plugged in the window unit. The second step was a little more difficult at first, but after seeing an setup example from T-Mobile’s website, I found a great spot on the other side of the house that worked great and allowed the coverage unit to have the greatest coverage area. So far everyone I’ve talked to has been able to hear me and my calls no longer drop while I move from one room to the next like they did before I received the Cel-Fi Signal Booster.In my house since I am only able to get one bar of 4G, that’s all the Cel-Fi is extending the range with, so I’m not seeing extremely faster 4G speeds or having clearer sound quality either. I’m just able to keep a connection in my house and that’s what is most important to me and my family at this point.
I bet you’re wondering how you can get your own T-Mobile Cel-Fi Signal Booster for your house, right? Well here’s the skinny.
You must have A or B Class credit.
You must be on a post-paid contract (not an even more plus plan).
Your account cannot be delinquent.
Your plan must cost you more than $65 a month.
You’ll have to agree to a new two-year term from the date that you sign up to receive and use the T-Mobile Cel-Fi Signal Booster.
You must live in a single-family home (attached structures like apartments, condos and offices can be effected other T-Mobile users location-based services that could cause issues when calling 9-1-1).
You must have at least one bar of 3G or 4G service confirmed in your house.
You must own at least one 3G or 4G device being used with your T-Mobile service contract.
Even though you can receive the Cel-Fi signal Booster at no cost to you, you’ll still have to agree to paying $500 if the Cel-Fi Signal Booster is returned damaged or is not returned at the end of your termination of service with T-Mobile. They make it very clear that the Cel-Fi Signal Booster is T-Mobiles property and that it’s not for sale.
T-Mobile has instructed their employees that the Cel-Fi Signal Booster is not to be used as a closing option, but only to be used in extreme cases where it is needed. I guess that’s why there is so much red tape to go through to get one. I took the liberty of snapping a few pictures for your readers to gaze your eyes on. As you can see, it’s two units and they are about the same size as a common WiFi router that you’d have in your home.