T-Mobile on Tuesday announced an indoor 4G LTE CellSpot that will help small businesses and residents connect up to 16 simultaneous calls or data sessions.
The device is free to T-Mobile Simple Choice postpaid customers as long as they remain with the carrier, and a $25 deposit is required. The device will be available Wednesday through T-Mobile customer care or participating stores nationwide.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere called the CellSpot the first mini tower available from a U.S. carrier, and revved up the rhetoric that other carriers aren't letting customers freely decide where to put small cell devices for better cellular coverage.
"They'll do absolutely everything they can to bleed you dry," Legere said of his competitors in a statement, with similar comments in a video posted Monday on his Twitter feed.
The mini tower requires a power connection as well as a wired broadband Internet connection. The broadband acts as a backhaul to T-Mobile's network, much the same way that a wired or fiber-optic connection at the base of a cell tower connects to the carrier's network.
The tower is designed to boost indoor wireless coverage in an area of 3,000 square feet on average for customers with limited indoor signals. It will work with any 3G or 4G LTE device that works on T-Mobile's network.
The device also works anywhere that T-Mobile has wireless spectrum, even if there is no existing T-Mobile signal to a particular address, according to T-Mobile. The carrier has spectrum holdings in metro areas across the nation.
Over the wireless signal, CellSpot supports HD voice, voice over LTE, video calling and messaging, among other services.
The CellSpot announcement prompted a flurry of rumors about what T-Mobile might announce at its 10th Un-carrier announcement on Nov. 10 in Los Angeles. The announcement will also include a concert featuring singer Bruno Mars.
Some analysts have speculated that T-Mobile will announce a free or nearly free wireless video streaming service, possibly by using the CellSpot. Others have discounted that prediction saying that even a modest amount of increased video streaming by average users will cause too much T-Mobile network congestion.
"There are always rumors ahead of our Un-carrier events," said a spokeswoman in an email. "We can't wait to shake up the wireless industry, yet again."