Anyone use AT&T's 3G MicroCell?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by definitive, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. definitive, Jul 8, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011

    definitive macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    I was wondering what kind of results you're getting, and what kind of range it has. Also, how much does it cost? Besides the $150 for the cost of the unit, is there a monthly fee? Also, do you have to connect it physically into the router, or can it be done over wifi?
  2. PsstGreek macrumors 68040


    Oct 21, 2010
    Tampa Bay
    I had it my house and the thing was horrible. For me to get a good connection to it, I would have to be standing right next to Microcell. It would be so slow at times, connecting to the internet on the iphone wouldn't work. And the range is horrific. I have a two story house and the connection between my iPhone and the Microcell was awful.

    AT&T even discounted it for me to $100 but after a week of using it I returned it. I don't know if there is a monthly charge.

    Once you set up the Microcell (takes about an hour), log in to you AT&T account and you can choose which phones you want connected to it. Once that is done any phone you chose will automatically be connected once in range.
  3. nunes013 macrumors 65816


    May 24, 2010
    there is no monthly fee unless you add the $20 a month calling which gives you unlimited calls on the microcell. if you dont add it to your plan it uses the minutes on your account
  4. CSMchris376 macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2010
    • I use one here at home. It works great. I only occassionally have a problem with the call not connecting the first time when making an outgoing call, but not often enough that I would discontinue using it.
    • As far as range, I can use it outside of my house with no problems, anywhere on my property, and I have a standard 60x120 city lot.
    • No monthly fee except as the other poster stated if you use their unlimited Microcell calling plan. I use mine on my regular calling plan because we never seem to use all the minutes.
    • Yes, it needs to be physically connected to the router to work.
    Hope that helps you out.
  5. cwubbels macrumors regular


    Sep 24, 2008
    I have one. I unplugged it for a couple of reasons:

    • Calls would take a long time to initiate.
    • I would drop calls when leaving my house - ie when trying to connect to a macro cell when leaving the range of my microcell.
    • Most of all: Battery life was HORRIBLE.

    Background on the reason I got mine (for free) was spotty service. I wasn't in a dead zone, I would typically have 1-3 bars. While I showed bars, text messages often times wouldn't come through until 20-30 mins after they were initially sent. I was trying to prevent this with the microcell, but I think that I am sort of in between having too good of service for the microcell and not good enough service for normal use. Since that is the case I think my iPhone was constantly switching between macro and micro cells and thus my battery life was degrading at an abnormal rate.
  6. makefunnyfaces, Jul 8, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011

    makefunnyfaces macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2010
    West Virginia
    I have one. It works flawlessly. I had some issues getting it to work at first, but after a few days it worked fine. One issue I've had with it is sometimes (maybe once a month) it will shut off for no reason for an hour or so. Another issue is occasionally the call will be dropped the first time and will go through the second. Unfortunately, I don't have ANY signal at home unless I use it. So that can be a little frustrating.

    It costs $150, but I was able to get it for free by calling AT&T and telling them about how we have absolutely no signal at home. They seemed willing to help since we are loyal and longtime customers. There is no additional cost unless you get the unlimited minutes with it.

    I'm not sure if you can do it over wifi. I have it plugged into a router.

    It has decent coverage. I get it everywhere in my house, & the yard. After that it's gone, though.
  7. EvilEvil macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2007
    New York City
    If you're paying for one, you're getting ripped off. You're supposed to get them for free if your service isn't up to par.
  8. burnside macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2010
    Exactly. I got two in my house, both for free. I put one upstairs, one downstairs and have 4-5 bars throughout the house. I do remember getting a dropped call a few times, but that hasn't happened in over 2 months.

    Overall, very satisfied knowing I can actually make calls with my iphone now. Used to be virtually impossible before.
  9. Samuriajackon macrumors 6502


    Feb 9, 2009
    I never got mine to work well so ATT replaced it and I never got the 2nd one to work well. But i live in an area where there is no 3G at all, just EDGE stuff so i've switched to Verizon anyway.

    Now, on the other hand a Linksys router with iPhone did great if you don't need voice.
  10. definitive thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    Is there a better alternative to the MicroCell for places that have bad reception indoors?
  11. johndallas999 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 9, 2008
    I got one as well. Mine is currently unplugged sitting in the window. Seemed like the range for it was very limited and maybe improved signal by 1 bar. Overal very underwhelmed.
  12. kleinias macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2007
    I had 2 AT&T MicroCells and (unfortunately) they both worked terribly in my home. Calls would often drop, the Microcells would sometimes need to be restarted, and I had to be very close to the Microcells in order for my reception to improve. I tried everything I could, even tried them at other residences, but I could never get them to work properly.

    Some of this is going to be location-dependent, anyway, I switched over to Verizon and gave the Microcells away. I have great reception now (albeit slower data speeds) but unfortunately the recipient of the 2 Microcells has the same issues with them that I did.
  13. vitasenza macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2007
    I have one because I get no reception in my apartment and it works great. I get full bars and although I don't make many calls I haven't noticed any dropped calls.
    It works throughout my apartment, which is the only place I need it, so I can't really speak to range, but I can be 20 ft away and still be connected so it works for me.
    I think your internet connection and usage of that connection could effect how well it performs. I would have to assume if you were maxing out your connection with one device the ability to provide proper service through the microcell would be hindered. And if you're stuck with a less than stellar internet connection to begin with, the connection provided would probably suffer.
  14. southerndoc macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    3G repeaters can be of benefit if you can get a 3G signal with a max watt device.

    I got a free MicroCell from AT&T after whining about no coverage at our new house. We get 3-5 bars throughout the house (5,000 sq ft home), even in the basement.

    As others have mentioned, sometimes the calls fail on the first attempt. A second attempt will go through immediately. I think I may have fixed this by turning on IPv6 tunneling and opening up the recommended UDP/TCP ports and using a fixed IP address. So far no call delays over the past few days since I did this.

    I've not had any dropped calls except when I'm outside. Sometimes my iPhone will switch to a macrocell but if I move around and it loses signal to the tower, it can't switch back to the microcell.

    I've not had any problems with calls handing off from the microcell to a tower when I leave my house while talking on the phone.

    The microcell isn't a perfect option, but it was free and it allows me to at least talk on the phone whereas if I didn't have one I wouldn't receive any phone calls on my cell while at home.
  15. vega07 macrumors 65816

    Aug 7, 2006
    It works ok for me. Range is not that bad. The major gripe I have with it is slow initiation of calls. Why does this thing sometimes takes forever to start the call? And occasionally, some calls don't even initiate, forcing me to end and recall.
  16. eldirector macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2012
    Who do I Bug?

    Those of you who got free Microcells by complaining (expressing concerns?) to AT&T, who did you complain to? since I very much doubt that they will just hand me one right away, I'd like to rack up a large history of complaining (expressing concerns) as quickly as possible. Toll-Free #, local store, customer service on the web site? Who would be the most effective one to annoy constantly for the next few days/weeks?
    Thanks a lot for the help!

  17. lazard macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2012
    Just tell them you live in a dead zone. I got one for my parents' house. It works well (4-5 bars throughout the house compared to 0-1 bars before). The only complaint they have is that it will occasionally stop working and needs to be reset (which takes out the internet as well since it's connected to your modem and router).
  18. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    I have one and not only got it free but AT&T sent me the offer (I didn't even ask)! Set up was no big deal (direct connection to router) and you do have to register the phone(s) and there's a limit (5 I think?). So you can't have all of your friends on it but that's ok.

    Range is okay in our 2800ft2 home. It does connect automatically but sometimes there is a delay upon arriving home. Calls are supposed to switch smoothly from the Microcell to a regular tower if you leave range but if the whole reason you're getting a Microcell is that service sucks where you live, this feature is moot. Calls will not switch from a tower to the Microcell.

    All in all, it's nice. I had 1 or 2 bars at home and now I can actually make calls. Get one - it's better than no service!
  19. dontwalkhand macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I had one when I lived in my apartment, it really did help, my apartment was on the 8th floor, and the building seemed like it was a "GSM hellhole" where no GSM signal would be able to penetrate at all.

    It worked great, and it is nice to be able to depend on your cell phone as your "house phone"
  20. robdam1001 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2008
    I have one in my house. Works great and I highly recommend it.
  21. iBreatheApple macrumors 68030


    Sep 3, 2011
    Even outside of this forum I've heard nothing but terrible things about it.
  22. CSMchris376 macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2010
    Well, I posted in this thread a year ago, I still have mine and still very happy with it. No problems at all. @lazard, the only way it should take out the Internet on the computer is if you have the computer connected to the Microcell instead of just to the router. You can power off the Microcell if it is connected to the router and it should have no affect on the Internet at all. While I have had to reset mine a couple of times, the only real error I have experienced is when the Microcell network goes down. This happens rarely, but it has happened. You just have to wait for it to come back up.

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