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Digital Savant

Posted: 12:06 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

Micro: How to improve cell reception in your home 

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AT&T Microcell
Contributed by AT&T
An AT&T 3G Microcell device could improve cell phone service in the home, but it requires a broadband Internet connection and it's not free.

By Omar L. Gallaga

A reader, Deborah, writes in: “I wonder if you could suggest a way to improve my cell connectivity for phone calls from my home. AT&T is my service provider. I use an iPhone 5. Phone calls from my home (near Georgetown airport) are inconsistent. Service waxes and wanes on hourlong calls to my mother and daughter. I do not have any issues when I am farther south, within the heart of Austin.”

I wrote back to Deborah suggesting she ask AT&T about a “MicroCell,” a small device you can buy that uses a home Internet connection to act as a miniature cell tower. Short of that, there’s always the option of checking out service with other wireless providers.

In response to an inquiry, a spokesperson for AT&T suggests bringing the phone in to a store first to make sure the SIM card inside is working and to check the home address for coverage. AT&T also has a free app called “Mark the Spot” that customers can use to report coverage problems. It helps the company decide where to add wireless service improvements. AT&T also suggests a MicroCell tower might be a solution to the problem.

In this space every week, we’ll define a tech term, offer a timely tip or answer questions about technology from readers. Email

Omar L. Gallaga

About Omar L. Gallaga

Omar L. Gallaga writes about technology culture for the Austin American-Statesman. He was a technology correspondent for NPR's "All Things Considered," helping originate the All Tech Considered segment and blog.

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