anyone ever had luck getting a free AT&T 3g microcell extender because lack of signal

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Siciliano611, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2008
    I've been living in the same apt now for 2 years and its hit and miss in my apartment on signal...but somedays its way worse than others. a co-worker said she got AT&T to send her a free microcell home cell extender (works very well from what ive heard) by threatening to cancel service with them. Anyone have experience with this device and/or got AT&T to send them one free (its like $200+ on amazon).
  2. macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
    I actually tried this last week. I moved recently and can't get signal in my apartment, so I contacted AT&T customer support. They told me that they were not able to give me a free Microcell. Here's what customer support said:

    I have looked into your emails and can understand your request for a
    microcell at no cost, however, this is not something that we can
    provide. AT&T developed the microcell device for customers in your
    situation who have moved outside an AT&T coverage area. There is a cost
    associated with the device though, since AT&T could not possibly provide
    all customers in this situation with a device at no charge. In
    addition, the microcell is not available for us to order and ship out
    through customer care even if a customer wished to purchase one. They
    are only available in our stores.

    I went to the store, but the representative suggested that I try my luck with the LTE of the iPhone 5. I couldn't get a Microcell there either, despite being an AT&T customer for over three years. I ordered the iPhone 5, but if I don't get signal, I'll return it and switch to Sprint or Verizon.
  3. macrumors 68030


    Oct 6, 2008
    LOL, sorry, but maybe if they spent some money on their towers they could cut customer service costs.

    My house is in a "service area" but I only get service when upstairs. Downstairs it is either one bar or no service.

    I haven't attempted to get a microcell yet though.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2008
    When I was on AT&T some select customers were getting coupons for free a longtime customer I called in to ask if I could get one and that my signal inside the house was bad...after some arguing, they offered to credit my bill and I only ended up spending $50 on the Microcell. Just insist that they give you one free or a credit, ask for a manager, be persistent and say you might have to cancel because of this issue.
  5. macrumors regular


    Jul 5, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    My wife and I just switched to Verizon for our IPhone 5's because AT&T wouldn't give us a microcell for free.

    I think in the long run AT&T lost money on this deal...
  6. macrumors 68040


    Jul 7, 2010
    Bay Area
    My brother complained and we were able to receive a free microcell. It works pretty well if you are in close range of it.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 6, 2008
    Downtown San Diego
    I think this was something they did in the early days.

    I argued pretty heavily for this (I live in a downtown area awash with AT&T towers yet my signal dies pretty quickly as I move inside my loft)... the best they could do is give one month service for free, so I got it about half off.

    The sad thing is because the service is pretty strong in my area that it would constantly switch over between the microcell and the actual service, which would many times end up in dead calls. If AT&T could have gotten this issue handled properly I probably wouldn't be switching to Verizon... service everywhere else was great *except* for my home.

    I was an AT&T customer for 9 years.
  8. macrumors 65816

    Jun 7, 2011
    Thank you for posting this. Yet again another reminder why I didn't go back to AT&T. :)
  9. macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2012
    New York, NY
    I got a free microcell tower about a year and a half ago. I didn't even ask for one, AT&T just sent me an email offering it to me so I claimed it at an AT&T store. I didn't even have bad signal in my apt, so I'm not sure what prompted them. I think they stopped giving free ones out. I'm switching to to Verizon with the iPhone 5, so maybe I'll sell my microcell. I'm sure a lot of people are switching so maybe you can find a used one for cheap?
  10. macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2009
    San Francisco, CA
    I was offered a free Microcell today after calling Customer Service and complaining about the lack of a reliable signal in my area.

    The person said that although they can't ship me a free Microcell that they can credit my account the $200 that it would cost me to go and buy one at a local AT&T retail store.

    Unfortunately they said they're unable to cover the taxes on the item, but I'm fine with that. Will pick it up tomorrow hopefully and test it out and see how it works.


  11. macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2010

    My wife and I tried to get a free on from them, but we were told that we would have to rent it at $30 a month. We were told due to the fact that we lived in an area that on their map had coverage that we should get signal. Guess what we don't! We found one on ebay for like $75 and plugged it in and its all good here....until I walk out to my car and then I have no coverage from my driveway to the end of my road. Annoying, but we have unlimited data with them, so its hard to leave.....
  12. macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2008
    At least with AT&T you have a microcell option.

    I live near Youngstown Ohio Airport/US Air Force Reserve Base. All the cell carriers are poor due to tower and power restrictions. Their phones work OK outside but poorly inside.

    I have two microcells. One is from Sprint and the other is AT&T. I got the Sprint one free because my Blackberry is part of a commercial account with 15 lines.

    I couldn't get the AT&T for free but it was worth the fee for our iPhones to work well. In fact we recently got rid of our landline.

    My parent and brother have Verizon. Their phones do not work inside my house.

    Thus when I upgraded to iPhone 5, Verizon wasn't an option with no microcell option.

    BTW, in the Youngstown area, AT&T has the best coverage. Sprint has the worst.
  13. macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2010
    Austin, TX
    I also HAD bad signal in my house. At the time I had 4 iPhones on my account. ATT said the same thing, they could not ship me a free unit however they did credit my account $200.00. This was over a year and a half ago (maybe 2 years ago). I planned to go purchase the microcell however that is when everyone started complaining about the microcells not working well.

    While at work talking to some co-workers I was told about a cellular booster. I purchased and installed a zBoost 545. The antenna goes in the attic and the electronic part has to be 30 feet from the antenna (on the version I have). In the living room where we used to get 1 or 2 bars and constantly drop calls we now have 4 full bars and don't drop anything. If I were to get in the attic and move the antenna more I could most likely get 5 bars, however I have not had time to do this.

    Now there are several things about these boosters.
    1. They don't work with Sprint's radio spectrum. Not sure if there is a specific version for that spectrum.
    2. The one I have does not work with LTE., however I understand the companies are starting to make LTE boosters too.

    There is NO way I would trade this booster for a microcell. The booster works as an amplifier so it boosts ALL the spectrums that it supports and works for anyone with a phone on that spectrum. Once it's installed, no fuss no muss!
  14. macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2009
    San Francisco, CA
    Good insight Flash69. I also have a zBoost booster in my house and although it has helped somewhat, it doesn't seem to make a huge difference. I get 5 bars up on the roof where the Zboost antenna is placed and 5 bars in my attic where the zBoost base station is, but then down in the house it is just 3 bars or so, even if I'm directly beneath it.

    Wondering if the Microcell and the zBoost can co-exist simultaneously in the same place and if there's any synergy from using both...
  15. macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2009
    Here's how it went for me:

    I requested one and AT&T said "We've checked and you are not in a weak signal strength area so we cannot provide you with one for free."

    I said "Then why does every single person with an AT&T phone who comes to my house have signal problems?"

    They said "It must be your house."

    I said "Well it's cheaper for me to change carriers then it is to change houses, so I would like to terminate my service effective immediately."

    Pause, followed by being put on hold for a few minutes, and then "Would you like to pick up your microcell or have one shipped to you overnight?"

    The great ****** irony of this is that the microcell absolutely sucked - constant audio drop outs - and I disconnected it after a week.
  16. macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Complained to BBB

    I got a free microcell last month because I do not get a signal in my apartment near downtown Minneapolis. AT&T refused to give it to me which pissed me off since I had been a customer for over 7 years and my contract was about to expire. I filled out a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. AT&T responded within a couple of days. I spoke with someone in a department that handled BBB complaints. He was extremely knowledgeable and knew that there were a ton of people in my apartment complex with microcells. He simply had one sent overnight to me. Works great. I always have 5 bars. I put in my complaint that I would need to switch carriers if they did not provide one which was true and I'm sure they could see I was at the end of my contract and a long term customer. Hope this helps.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2011
    The microcell who gets a free one and who doesn't is a mystery, the eighth wonder of the world.

    They knew when they were juggling frequencies and tower leases who's signal level was going to far lower than 'more bars in more places'. They all got proactive coupons for a free microcell.

    ANYBODY else who's signal sucks but it may be corrected in a future tower build, or backhaul and radio upgrade got nothing. Even if that upgrade was 2 or 3 yrs out, nothing.

    For those who did get a microcell you provide the backhaul using your own INTERNET and they still subtract your cellular minutes.

    Some even pay AT&T additional money to do this for unlimited minutes.

    Such a deal

    Oh and if you have a slow DSL internet connection and folks are using it the microcell sounds like a first generation VOIP connection.

    It's not all sour grapes,
    it works quite well for some, however the vast majority are better off without one.
    Bottom line if you cannot get signal switch carriers if that would help.
    Its not much of a deal if it doesn't work.
  18. macrumors member

    Nov 28, 2006
    I was offered a free one via a letter that just showed up out of the blue. But I had to agree to return it if I terminated service.

  19. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2010
    Southeast USA
    Yes I actually e-mailed a rep from my local store (had his business card from a previous visit) who forwarded my request to his manager. The manager replied within 24 hrs. and said "come by tomorrow and I think I can work something out." He told me to keep it on the down-low, but said that every store has some "discretionary funds" for things like this. You definitely have to talk to the right person at the right time, was the impression I got. Works great though! Glad I tried.
  20. macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2007
    yeah..i went into a retail store and asked the manager. it was around a year and a half ago as well
  21. macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2008
    SE Florida
    I called and complained because our service has been degrading at the house, to the point where I have to stand at the back corner of my yard to make a call. They offered the micro cell and the way they pitched it at first was like "oh well we have a solution for that, do you have internet" yes i do "ok well we can send you a microcell and you will have full signal in your home". OK I said sounds good, does it charge me minutes when I'm using my internet? "yes it still charges minutes and there is a fee for the microcell" HA OK no thanks I'm not going to pay to fix your problems.

    It borders on Racketeering, they have a problem with their service and want to make a profit off of the solution. There is absolutely no motivation for them to fix the issue.

    I used to be able to start a conference call at my house and drive to work during the entire call, about 10 miles distance, I can no longer do this is there is a spot with no coverage at all about a mile into the drive. We now have a running joke on all conference calls when there is a bad connection "looks like we've got an att user on the call"

    i wasnt even planning on buying the new iphone 5, wife came home today and said I don't care what it costs. having this "f'n" att phone is about as useful for making calls as kids phone filled with candy. She jokes that it's a pager because it never rings and voicemails show up. I have had my account since 1995, first it was cellular one, then cingular, then ATT, they didn't care at all when i said i was canceling.
  22. macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2012
    New York, NY
    Oh yea they said I'd have to return or pay for it if i terminated within a year, but since I still had like 16 months left on my contract that wasn't an issue.
  23. macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2008
    when i was in an apartment with no signal, they wouldn't give me a free microcell, but they gave me one for $100, plus $150 of bill credits. So basically better than free if you can front the $.
  24. macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2012
    I received one of the first coupons for one. This was after complaining to ATT off and on about bad reception in the house for about six months. I finally got tired of complaining and gave up. Then, about six months later, received a coupon, out of the blue. This was after they had just come out.

    It's made a world of difference in reception. All of the dead spots in the house are covered now.

    It was a bit kludgy to set up at first, but has been very, very reliable since then. Only had to call ATT once to reset it, when it wouldn't recognize that I upgraded to a new iPhone model.

    Kudos to ATT for good customer service on this one. I'd recommend trying one if you live in a spotty reception area. I've been very happy with mine.
  25. macrumors 68000


    Jul 7, 2007
    The hood
    Yeah it was pretty simple. They just offered it before I even asked. Only thing that sucks is if you are using the microcell and you leave the house, it disconnects the call when you are out of reach of the microcell.
    It doesn't transition automatically.

    I believe if you don't get reception at your primary residence and they can't do anything to resolve it, you are eligible to terminate your contract with no expense to you.

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