Hey ceglia I'd like to help shine some light on the questions you have. Any usage you have using the 4G LTE Cellspot will count towards your plan like when you're connected to T-Mobile's network. So, your calls on the Cellspot would count as minute usage. You can check out the Overview and features section of our 4G LTE CellSpot overview page. If your neighbors are connected to it and stream like what you mentioned, they would not be using the data from your cellphone plan.
Hope this helps!
The CellSpot is a device that creates a low-power micro tower in your home. It does this by using your internet connection to make a secure connection to T-Mobile's back-end. Your phone connects using a cellular frequency to the CellSpot and then the CellSpot uses your internet connection to move the digital data.
This is the the same way a full-fledged tower operates except that the tower uses a high-speed dedicated fiber connection or possibly a microwave RF connection.
Voice calls, SMS messages, and internet data are all data after it hits the cell tower (or the CellSpot.) It is billed based on what the content is.
The point is that the CellSpot uses your internet connection to move the data. The YouTube video is referring to the amount of data traveling over your internet connection when your CellSpot is handling a voice call. You are billed by T-Mobile just as though you were connected to a regular tower. Depending on how the CellSpot is connected to the internet you may have additional charges for that data from your ISP.
Unless you are very remote or have an unusual internet connection you are not paying per byte of data, rather you might have a data cap to pay attention to or possibly limited bandwidth.
The CellSpot and router work the same way. The boosters on the other hand take a weak signal that can be received from somewhere inconvenient in your home like an upstairs window and repeat it (more or less) into the rest of your house. This way you get a stronger signal through more of your home.
Thanks the_oman for the detailed reply, very helpful to understand the details of how the device works. I have a "booster"... it used to help a little, but now i'm suffering from the "E7" error code (see my separate post about that here: Re: 4G LTE booster showing Error Code E7), so I can no longer use the device (unless T-Mobile figures out how to re-enable the device).
I was curious about the CellSpot, as that would most likely fix my indoor reception issues, but I live in Los Angeles in a very densely populated neighborhood, and I don't like the idea of sharing my internet bandwith with strangers.
You mentioned the "router" and said it works in the same manner as the CellSpot. Presumably the router has filters to limit who can connect to it, correct? If so, would the router be a better solution for me? My understanding was that the router was only for people who had wi-fi calling enabled cell phones, and my phone doesn't support wi-fi calling.
You are welcome.
The router (specifically the "WiFi CellSpot Router") is both a WiFi router and a CellSpot device. You can set who can access your WiFi but, unless it has changed recently, you cannot control what devices connect to the cellular portion of the unit.
* If anyone from T-Mo knows that this isn't the case, please correct me. *
There are some advantages to the router over the plain CellSpot because the router will set the CellSpot traffic as a higher priority when having to manage congestion on your internet connection.
If it makes you feel any better the CellSpot portion of the device creates an encrypted tunnel (or VPN) to T-Mo's servers. That's what the voice, SMS, and data travel through. It is still bits but it isn't quite the same as if they were using your WiFi. What they do on their phone isn't in any way connected to you.
You can also tell if you are connected to the CellSpot. You could move the CellSpot to an area of your house where the signal doesn't go anywhere far outside your walls.
You are supplying the internet connection but T-Mo is providing the $500 device and the back-end that makes it work. By not locking it down any T-Mo customers in your home get to benefit. And if you go to a neighbors house and they have one you get reception in their house.
I had an AT&T microcell for a while and it was locked down. If a person came to visit I would have to go through all sorts of hassle to "authorize" them to be able to use their phone. There was only a set number of authorized devices. I would have much preferred an open system.
I didn't know AT&T had a locked down microcell. That sounds wonderful to me! Right now my neighbors are constantly maxing out our 4G and 3G connections and ends up knocking at least one of our phones off of our own Cellspot. So then our phones start overheating and draining battery life in search for a distant tower, thus having to boost reception, etc. It's so frustrating. Please T-Mobile, give us the option to lock down our Cellspots!