Customers of T-Mobile were given an unexpected gift of a free wireless router at yesterday’s UnCarrier event. The fully functioning, magenta-branded ASUS built router was handed out to existing customers and not only can it do everything current routers do but possibly much more.
Typically, this wireless router would cost around $200, excluding all the great tweaks. Customers would be required to pay a $25 deposit, which would be returned once the router is returned. However, in following through on its promise, T-Mobile is giving every subscriber and every branded smartphone from the company with free Wi-Fi, as well as the wireless router.
Although this router, referred to as the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot, is not needed to access home, work, or internet cafe WiFi service, the company feels that customers will benefit from it more than a traditional router because it is portable. According to Mike Sievert, CMO with T-Mobile, anywhere a subscriber has coverage, this wireless router can go.
He adds that the router also helps to prioritize HD-quality phones over other activity on the network. For example, right in the middle of a favorite television show, a call could drop with a standard router but with the CellSpot, calls take priority. Simply put, this is the next generation of WiFi calling and texting, something no other telecommunications company offers.
Obviously, this campaign will cost T-Mobile significant money but Neville Ray, CTO, feels it is 100% justified. He mentions that traffic for T-Mobile has grown more than 10 times over the past three years, having added close to three million new subscribers. Considering this incredible growth, company executives believe it is important to find new methods that would reduce or even prevent additional associated burdens.
Overall, CellSpot is a win-win solution. As far as the network, there is less saturation for users not in an area with a hotspot but in addition, customers are provided with a new wireless router that comes with all the latest bells and whistles. While this might seem like a new concept of improving coverage, in truth it has been done before by other carriers to include Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T.
However, the earlier give-away routers worked off the broadband service or the home landline whereas the router given to subscribers by T-Mobile is wireless. With this new offering, signal is boosted and subscribers have a new router. As a result, every WiFi connection will work similar to an actual T-Mobile tower.
Yesterday, T-Mobile claimed that having a CellSpot was like adding millions of towers to the network within any given day but that is somewhat misleading. Yes, customers will enjoy better coverage and have a free, convenient, and fully functioning wireless router but they will not be able to gain access to all company towers.
In other words, subscribers will not have the ability to use CellSpots belonging to other people. However, John Legere, CEO for T-Mobile stated that technology may become available sometime in the future.