T-Mobile unveiled several Wi-Fi initiatives as part of Un-Carrier 7.0 that it hopes will help fill in the gaps where its network is weak and even extend coverage to places its towers have no chance of reaching. To make things better, one part of its plan doesn't ask T-Mobile customers for money, while the other is free with an asterisk. Both are publicly available starting today.
Let's get the latter one cleared up first. Part of this plan, known as Wi-Fi Unleashed, involves offering up $25 CellSpot (rebranded Asus RT-AC68U routers) that consumers can use with phones that support Wi-Fi calling. The price is fully refundable, and you can pick up the doodad from a local carrier store. The website doesn't yet appear to provide the option to order one online. Update: But it's showing what currently looks like a placeholder in the accessories section priced at $99 outright.
The other part going live today involves free in-flight texting courtesy of Gogo. This partnership provides T-Mobile customers with the ability to send and receive SMS messages, including those with pictures, and visual voicemail on certain flights. To take advantage of this feature, you need a Gogo-ready phone, to have previously made at least one Wi-Fi call, and to click on the T-Mobile banner on the Gogo screen on your mobile browser.
More details are provided in the press release below.
T-Mobile Launches Personal CellSpot & Gogo In-flight Texting
Starting today, T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi Unleashed goes into overdrive with public availability of the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot™, which is now available at no extra charge whatsoever for qualifying customers with a $25 refundable deposit. You can get a Personal CellSpot sent to you just by dropping into a T-Mobile store or calling Customer Care - as long as you have a high-speed broadband connection and a Wi-Fi calling capable smartphone. The Personal CellSpot is like a T-Mobile tower in your house, built on proven Wi-Fi technology. Get a “full-bars” T-Mobile experience wherever you choose even beyond the reach of any cellular network.
The Un-carrier is also extending its coverage to the skies with the launch of free Gogo in-flight texting starting today. Through this exclusive partnership with Gogo, T-Mobile customers will be able to send and receive unlimited text and picture messages, and even get visual voicemail, on any Gogo-equipped flight on U.S.-based airlines – which is more than 75% of domestic flights carrying close to 300 million people last year.
With this latest Un-carrier™ move, T-Mobile is reaching where no cellular network has gone before and accelerating the Un-carrier movement to bring more freedom and fairness to the U.S. wireless industry.