Review of the AT&T MicroCell or Personal Cell Tower?
I finally had a chance to get around to doing a review on the AT&T MicroCell, but in the end, the MicroCell review was different than I had anticipated. I was so excited when I found out that AT&T's MicroCell had come to Auburn a few months ago, especially because I have been desperately wanting to cancel our landline for years. I have NEVER (yes never) had a cell signal at my house, and no matter how many times AT&T doesn't believe me, I still can't make a cell call from my house, so the AT&T MicroCell I thought was finally going to be THE thing to be able to solve the cell signal issues we have here.
Well, I gave it about one or two months to test out to see if I would actually be able to cancel my landline, and at this point, no way. The concept is really cool, but there are far more negatives associated with the MicroCell than the positives. For me, since I have no cell coverage here, I am going to just keep it, after all, what else can I do with it.
The two big issues I have with the MicroCell is that the phone calls drop constantly (yes, even more than the normal cell tower), and the call quality is really like a bad Skype call. There is a huge delay (I'm talking 1-2 seconds) when talking with anyone, a noticeable echo, and occasionally there is just overall call interference. The fact that AT&T actually has a monthly fee that you can (not required) to pay on this "cell tower" is so laughable that it is an insult that they would even try to charge for what we already pay for with our AT&T/BellSouth landline, AT&T Internet service, and AT&T cell service. To charge me for a signal I already pay for it ridiculous.
So, about all the MicroCell is useful for on an ongoing basis is the ability to send and receive text messages, but I wasn't able to do that before the MicroCell, so I guess paying $150 for text messages is probably not the best use of money either, but there was no way to know that before hand. If you are still going to get one, be sure to allow for plenty of setup time, along with other ridiculous requirements like making sure it is near a window (see photo below, that isn't quite close enough) for the GPS signal, and also make sure it isn't near your WiFi signal (how I don't know, but that's what AT&T says). I will start with the Pros since there really aren't that many. My list of Cons or reasons I would not recommend the MicroCell if you have another option available to you (we don't) I will continue to evaluate, but in our situation (no AT&T service for miles around) this is our only choice.
AT&T MicroCell Pros
- You can send and receive text messages (if you couldn't before)
- Voice mail works, you just can't call anyone back
- If you really HAVE to make a phone call (like long distance), you can, but don't expect much
- Range is about 5,000 Sq Feet, so you can get the signal in the whole house (if within widow shot)
- People think it's cool to have one (I just threw that one in there, to make this list longer)
- You get this really cool AT&T M-Cell signal on your iPhone (that's one doesn't really count either)
AT&T MicroCell Cons
- Drops more calls than the regular cell towers do
- Major interference with the phone calls that don't drop
- Major delay talking from person to person, like 1-2 seconds
- AT&T charges any data against your data use even though you are using your own Internet ISP (whoa)
- GPS signal is impossible to keep and reconnect if power goes out
- Setup, while not technically difficult, is a pain, and takes forever (45-90 minutes)
- If setup doesn't work on your own, you are pretty much out of luck
- AT&T has basically no support for the MicroCell (i.e. anyone that knows anything)
- It costs $150 when AT&T should be providing cell coverage for their own customers
- Not supposed to put it near the WiFi signal even though it uses an ethernet cable itself
- Your only "allowed" to add 5 phone numbers that can use the signal (might be 10 can't remember, but any limit is stupid)
- Any allowed numbers have to be manually added on the AT&T website, every time you want to change
- You will need a additional router if you don't have an empty ethernet slots available
- They actually charge $15 a month for unlimited use that doesn't count against your cell service (crazy)