As of December 31st, 2017, the AT&T MicroCell has been discontinued. While existing units will continue to work, it’s expected they’ll all be shut down by the end of 2018.
If you own a MicroCell and rely on it for placing calls at your home or at your office, now is the time to start thinking about replacing it.
Now that the Microcell is no longer an option, how can you boost your AT&T cell phone signal? You have two options, and in they’re actually better than AT&T’s MicroCell option:
Cell phone signal boosters improve signal by amplifying the existing signal from outside.
We generally recommend using a booster only if you have at least 1 bar of consistent and usable signal (preferably LTE signal) outside the building.
Since boosters amplify the signal and bring it inside, generally your signal will be as good indoors as it is outdoors after you install a booster.
Please note: before picking a kit, we recommend checking the RSRP and SINR for your outdoor signal. This will help you figure out which kit is the best choice.
If you have weak outdoor signal (less than -80 dBm RSRP) then the Cel-Fi Go X for AT&T is your best choice. The GO X is a carrier-specific device, meaning that it only improves signal for one carrier at a time (just like the MicroCell).
The HiBoost Home 15K is an excellent broadband booster, and performs better than any of the other signal booster kits at this price point.
weBoost is the largest manufacturer of signal boosters in the US, and for good reason: their products perform excellently. The weBoost Connect 4G-X is a great solution for homes and small offices.
If you have a small home, strong outdoor signal, and a low budget, the SureCall Fusion4Home is a great pick. We recommend purchasing the kit with a yagi outdoor and a panel indoor antenna, as it performs considerably better than the other kit options.
Using a signal booster instead of the AT&T MicroCell has multiple benefits:
The first step towards finding the right booster is taking signal measurements outside the building.
Specifically, you need two numbers:
You can read more about how to get these numbers using your phone in our signal booster guide.
These two numbers help inform exactly which kind of booster you should purchase:
If you have great signal, and your device and carrier supports it, you can use Wi-Fi calling.
Wi-Fi calling allows your phone to make and receive calls using your Wi-Fi network instead of its cellular network.
Wi-Fi calling works great if:
AT&T’s MicroCell was a type of “femtocell.” Femtocells create a local cellular network, similar to how a Wi-Fi routers create a Wi-Fi network. But instead of communicating back to AT&T’s network wirelessly, it used your existing Internet connection.
Femtocells are still popular devices, and Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint all still sell femtocells for their networks. For example, we sell the popular Verizon LTE Network Extender for Enterprise.
To be honest, we’re not really sure. The MicroCell was hugely popular with users. And well over a million devices were sold. But it also hadn’t been updated in some time. And it relied on older 3G technology, rather than newer LTE technology.
Cisco was the main manufacturer of AT&T’s MicroCell, and they announced that they were discontinuing their line of femtocells in mid-2017. It’s not clear which came first: AT&T’s decision to discontinue or Cisco’s.
Either way, AT&T is pushing users towards using either signal boosters or Wi-Fi calling as an alternative to the MicroCell.
Want to know more about the ins and outs of boosting signal?
Check out our in-depth Guide to Cell Phone Signal Boosters for information on a range of topics, including: