Note: All prices in US Dollars
For more than a decade, since the widespread use of the mobile phone, North American cell phone carriers used one, or both of the Cellular 850 MHz and PCS 1900 MHz frequency bands to carry their voice and data. Purchasing a cell phone signal booster for your home was fairly simple 10 years ago as AT&T and Verizon pretty much used 850 MHz for everything in most states and PCS carriers like Sprint and T-Mobile used 1900 MHz. If you wanted to cover all carriers and data technologies, you simply purchased a dual band (850/1900 MHz) booster and all was well. While that is still somewhat the case, with the emergence of 3G, 4G, AWS, WiMax, LTE, etc. there is simply not enough space in the 850 and 1900 MHz spectrums to handle all of today’s cell phone technologies. Today, just about all carriers have branched out from the traditional dual band ranges to operate at least some of their technologies in other spectrums.
The purpose of this post is to give you a basic overview of some of the major carriers, which frequencies they use, and which technologies those frequencies are used for. Hopefully this will aid in your comprehension of cell phone signal boosters and which one may be right for your application. Please note that this post is from May 2013 and the information below may no longer be completely accurate at the time of reading.
AT&T’s voice ( 2G), 3G and HSPA+ (4G) networks operate on 850 or 1900 MHz across the United States. So if you are just looking to boost these technologies, a traditional dual band cell phon signal booster
will suffice. It is important to note that HSPA+ or High Speed Packet Access Plus is AT&T’s 3G network with enhanced backhaul that has been marketed as 4G. It is not 4G LTE, which has been a source of confusion for many of our customers. If your phone, tablet, MiFi, etc. shows “4G” next to the signal bars, then you are on the HSPA+ network. If your phone, tablet, MiFi, etc. shows “LTE” next to the signal bars then you are on the LTE network. AT&T 4G LTE runs on the 700 MHz band on bands 4 and 17. It is important to note that AT&T 4G LTE is for data only. Phone calls and text messages are still transmitted on the 850 or 1900 MHz band. So, if you’re looking to boost AT&T 4G LTE data only, look for a booster labeled specifically for AT&T 4G LTE
. If you need to boost voice, 2G, 3G, 4G and AT&T 4G LTE data then you will need to look for an AT&T Tri-Band booster
which supports 850 MHz, 1900 MHz, and 700 MHz bands 4 and 17 (AT&T 4G LTE).
Verizon’s voice (2G) and 3G (EVDO) networks operate on 850 or 1900 MHz across the United States. In most states, 850 MHz is used for voice and 1900 MHz is used for data. If you are just looking to boost voice calls, text messages and 3G data, look no further than a traditional dual band cell phone signal booster
. Verizon 4G LTE, like AT&T 4G LTE, operates in 700 MHz spectrum, but on band 13. Just as with AT&T, if you’re looking to boost Verizon 4G LTE data only, look for a booster made specifically for Verizon 4G LTE
. If you need to boost, voice, 3G, and 4G LTE data you will need to look for a Verizon Tri-Band booster
which supports 850 MHz, 1900 MHz, and 700 MHz band 13 (Verizon 4G LTE).
Sprint’s 2G and 3G networks on the traditional dual band frequencies nationwide, although mostly 1900 MHz. It is increasingly difficult to find a PCS only residential booster, so your best bet is a traditional dual band booster
. Sprint’s first generation of 4G ran in the Wimax band (2.5 GHz) and is still widely deployed. Recently, Sprint has launched its 4G LTE network which runs on a mix of Wimax and 1900 MHz, and soon, a part of the 800 band, which was previously dedicated for Nextel/iDEN. Your best bet for Sprint 4G data at this time is to call customer service and ask which frequencies they are using in your area for the technology you are interested in boosting. If Wimax is used in your area, a Sprint 4G Wimax booster
is what you need.
T-Mobile runs on 1900 MHz for voice, 2G, and text messaging. Again, with it being hard to find a quality residential PCS only cell phone signal booster, a dual band booster
is the way to go. T-Mobile’s 3G and 4G HSPA+ networks run on the AWS or Advanced Wireless Services band (1700MHz / 2100 MHz) but are in the process of being transitioned to the 1900 MHz band to make way for their LTE network, which will operate on the AWS band. At the time of this writing, choose a dual band booster for voice and 2G data. If you’re looking to boost 3 or 4G data, it is best to call customer service to see which spectrum is being used for 3 or 4G data in your area before purchasing a booster. Like with the other major carriers, boosting 3 or 4G AWS data will require a booster specifically labeled for AWS
. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where T-Mobile has already transitioned their 3 and 4G networks to 1900 MHz, a traditional dual band booster will now work for not only voice and 2G data, but 3 and 4G data as well. If you’re looking for a booster which will cover everything T-Mobile has to offer (including 4G LTE), no matter where you live or what frequencies are in use, you will want to look at a T-Mobile Tri-Band booster
MetroPCS uses 1900 MHz for voice calls. Some of their 3G service is offered on 1900 MHz while in some areas it runs on the AWS band (1700/2100 MHz). The AWS band is also used for their 4G LTE network. If looking to boost Metro PCS voice only, a traditional dual band booster will work. If looking to boost 3G data, it is best to call customer service first to find out what frequency they are using for your area. If looking to boost MetroPCS 4G LTE, you will need an AWS booster. If you’re looking for a booster which will cover everything MetroPCS has to offer (including 4G LTE), no matter where you live or what frequencies are in use, you will want to look at a MetroPCS Tri-Band booster
Cricket uses 1900 MHz for voice calls. Cricket’s 3G data service utilizes the Sprint 3G CDMA network. So, if looking to boost voice and 3G data for Cricket, a traditional dual band booster is all that is needed. Cricket also owns some AWS spectrum on which they offer their 4G LTE service. If looking to boost Cricket 4G LTE you will need an AWS booster
So you have an existing dual band cell phone signal booster in your home but would also like to boost Verizon or AT&T 4G LTE? Great! You have come to the right place.
Dual band (850/1900 MHz) cell phone signal boosters will not work with Verizon or AT&T’s new 4G LTE networks and the reason is pretty simple. LTE operates on the 700 MHz band and dual band boosters will only cover 850 and 1900 MHz, the frequencies used for voice and 3G data. So, if you’re wanting to boost your 4G LTE data speeds inside your home, unfortunately you are going to have to purchase a separate booster.
Now for the good news! If your existing dual band amplifier is 50 Ohm and terminated N-Female (which is typically anything 62 dB and above) and your existing outdoor and indoor antenna are wide band (meaning they are designed to cover 698-2500+ MHz) then adding Verizon or AT&T 4G LTE may be simpler than you think.
Here at mycellsignalbooster.com we have taken all of the guess work out of deciding what additional parts you need and how to hook everything up. We have created a few 4G LTE add-on kits for both Verizon and AT&T 4G LTE. These kits are priced so that they are cheaper than purchasing all of the parts individually and they come with everything you need to add 4G LTE to your existing system.
To see the add-on kits as well as compatible existing dual band amplifiers and antennas, click here.
How to Boost Your 3G/4G Data Speeds
A couple of the most asked questions we get regarding our 3G and 4G products is “How can I know that your products will work for me?” and “What kind of speed increases can I expect?”
First, it is important to note that many factors are responsible for your aircard, modem or smart phone download/upload speeds. The two that I will focus on in this post are 1) received signal strength at your device and 2) cell tower capacity/performance.
Generally, if you are able to increase the signal level in the environment that your device is in then you will have better download/upload speeds, but this is not always the case. Your speeds will also depend on the capacity and bandwidth of the cell tower your device is currently connected to. You could have 5 bars of signal strength but a poorly or under-equipped cell tower at maximum capacity could limit your data throughput.
We recommend performing a site survey to help determine whether a booster will help your situation prior to purchasing any equipment.
Step 1) Perform an RSSI measurement both inside and outside the home.
RSSI, or received signal strength indicator, is a decibel value (dBm) that reflects your received signal strength from the tower. This is based on “bars” of signal, but is much more accurate as a single bar can represent a very large signal level range. This number will be a negative value and should be somewhere between -50 and -110. The closer to “0”, the better the signal. ( -70 dBm is a better signal than -85 dBm). If you are using a data card or modem, the carrier’s software will often display this value if you hover over the signal strength indicator or it will be in a hardware menu. If using a phone, please visit our Phone Test Mode page to learn how to put your phone into field test mode and get these numbers. When using test mode, please make sure your phone is connected to the network that you are interested in boosting. Ex. If you live in a 4G LTE area, please make sure LTE is enabled on your phone and that you are connected to an LTE tower before entering test mode.
Step 2) Go to www.speedtest.net and perform speed tests both inside and outside the home.
Perform a speedtest at multiple locations inside your home and write down the average results for ping, upload, and download speeds. Using the same wireless device, walk outside your home or to an area up to ¼ mile away where there is better signal and perform the same test. Make sure you perform at least a few tests and average the results. If using a smart phone as the device, speedtest has apps for both iOS and Android platforms.
Interpreting the Results
If the starting signal inside your home is better than -80 dBm on a 3G network or better than -70 dBm for a 4G network, chances are a signal booster is not going to help you because you are already getting the best possible performance your tower can offer. Likewise, if you do not see a noticeable increase in data speeds from your “in-home” speedtest results and your “outside-home” speedtest results a signal booster is not likely to help because your poor performance is not signal level related, it is cell tower/carrier network related.
However, if there is a significant difference between your indoor and outdoor RSSI levels and your speedtest results, chances are a signal booster will increase your data speeds. How much is determined by a number of factors but you should be able to achieve, at the very least, the speeds that you get outside your home. It is important to note that if your signal levels are roughly the same both inside and outside your home, but you can travel up to a ¼ mile away and achieve a better signal and faster data, a booster will still help.
If you are interested in purchasing a booster for your 3G/4G signal we would be happy to assist you. Any of the devices found on this page will work for 3G data for most carriers. Please visit this page for carrier specific 4G data boosters.
If you have been tasked with looking into options for boosting cell phone reception at your company or business, you have no doubt found this to be a daunting task. First, you have probably been given a budget that is too low. This is likely because the market has been flooded with so many low end consumer cell phone boosters, that anyone can pick up at a local electronics store for under $300, that management has no idea what it really costs to boost cell phone coverage for an entire building. Second, to work within that budget you have probably had to make some tough decisions. Do I just try to cover Verizon and AT&T? What about Sprint or T-Mobile? Do we need 4G LTE coverage as well or just voice and 3G? Third, you have probably asked yourself “Is this something we can do ourselves or do we need to hire an engineer to design a system and an outside contractor to install it?” Well, my friend, you have stumbled onto an article that is about to make your job a million times easier.
Cellphone-Mate has just released their new Surecall CM5000-80 Force-5 Cell Phone Signal Booster. It is shipping as of early June 2012. This is the first and only 5-Band cell phone amplifier on the market for large scale residential and commercial applications. So what does this mean to you? It means you can get voice, 2G, 3G AND 4G LTE/AWS coverage for all carriers in a single system and cover up to 100 simultaneous users and up 40,000 sq. ft.! If you have been searching for a solution for a while now you have probably noticed that, until now, to get all of this functionality, you would have had to purchase at least 4 separate amplifiers (one dual band for voice and 3G, one for Verizon 4G LTE, one for AT&T 4G LTE, and yet another one for T-Mobile 3/4G AWS). Even if you were to purchase the amplifiers separately as the CM2020, CM2100, CM700A and CM700V, only the CM2020 has 80 dB of gain. The Force-5 offers 80 dB average adjustable gain on all 5 bands with a maximum of 85 dB. On top of all the separate amplifiers, you would have had to purchase multiple antennas, splitters or diplexers, individual lightning surge protection kits, etc.. and then figure out how to hook everything up!
With a single amplifier covering all carriers and technologies, with the exception of Nextel (which is being phased out) and Sprint WiMax, a system can be as simple as they were 15 years ago – one outdoor antenna, one amplifier, and one indoor antenna. But unlike the good ol’ days when it was just voice for maybe a single carrier on CDMA, now you’re boosting voice, 2G data, 3G data, and 4G data on CDMA, GSM, UMTS, WCDMA, HSPA(+), EVDO, LTE and all other standard cell phone networks – all on a single system!. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
While it is still recommended that you contact a dealer that specializes in commercial cell phone signal booster systems to help with the design and layout of the antennas, the installation can be done by your IT staff or in-building maintenance crew with a few pointers. Not having to hire a separate company to do the installation will save you thousands. Speaking of saving money, the Cellphone-Mate Force-5 is only around $3,500 retail. Tack on another $300 for antennas, cables and lightning protection for a basic system and you’ve now got an All-in-One multi-carrier solution for under $3,900. Even if you’ve got a larger building with multiple floors, and need a few more internal antennas and splitters, $4,000-$4,500 for all of this functionality is a steal.
So, to sum this up, if you’ve been put in charge of finding an affordable cell phone boosting solution for your office or company and are looking to cover as many cell phone carriers and technologies as possible without breaking the bank, you can’t go wrong with the Cellphone-Mate CM5000-80 Force-5.
Cellphone-Mate has announced the introduction of the CM5000 SureCall Force-5. This amplifier is the first self-contained, 5-band cellular amplifier on the market, boosting 700 MHz Verizon and AT&T 4G LTE, 1700/2100 MHz 3/4G T-Mobile AWS, and 850/1900 MHz for 2G/3G. Built for large home, business and enterprise applications, the 80dB gain of the Force-5 can cover up to 80,000 sq. ft.!!
"With the introduction of the SureCall® Force-5, Cellphone-Mate continues its commitment to providing innovative, cost-effective solutions in cellular amplification," stated Hongtao Zhan, President and CEO of Cellphone-Mate. "While there are other solutions on the market that offer more in terms of customization, the associated costs are often far beyond the budgetary scope of most large and small size businesses. We are the first to offer wireless system integrators, installers and their customers with a cost-effective, enterprise-grade solution that delivers improved, uninterrupted voice and data coverage from 2G through 4G at one fifth the cost of comparable models."
The Force-5 is a carrier-neutral solution with one box universally supporting all major carriers on a variety 2G/3G and 4G standards. The only networks that will not be supported are Nextel (which is currently being phased out) and Sprint WiMax.
The Force-5 features adjustable dB gain on all 5 bands, and automatic oscillation detection and shutdown to prevent interference with cell phone towers. Also, its new compartmentalized architecture and linear power output design work together to create a more powerful and clearer signals that can be used for up to 100 simultaneous users without interference between users and the various cell phone carriers. As with every Cellphone-Mate product, the Force-5 carries an industry exclusive 2 year warranty.
List Price: $3990.00
Our Price: $3499.00
Expected Availability: Early June 2012 (call for availability and best pricing)
Wilson’s brand new 803570 AG Pro Quint is coming soon! Scheduled to ship third quarter this year, the 803570 AG Pro Quint is a new cellular booster from Wilson which covers 5 different signal bands. It will boost traditional dual band 800 and 1900 MHz signals as well as 2100 MHz AWS (T-Mobile 3G/4G) and both 700 MHz AT&T and Verizon 4G LTE bands. The only networks that aren't supported is Nextel, which is currently being phased out, and Sprint 4G WiMax. The AG Pro Quint has a massive gain of 75 dB and 630mw output power, allowing it to cover up to 80,000 sq ft with a good outside signal strength. While not for smaller homes, this booster is a perfect all-in-one multiple carrier solution for businesses, hospitals, warehouses, corporate offices and any where else a multi-band, multi-carrier, multi-technology cell phone signal boosting solution is needed. Now there is no need to purchase 4-5 amplifiers and expensive diplexers to combine the signals - you can cover everything with a single booster!
The AG Pro Quint has a compact design, and weighs less than 3 lbs. It’s the first Wilson amplifier with an LCD display and push button controls. This aids installation, allowing the gain to be finely tuned on each of the 5 frequency bands.
- Provides up to 80,000 square feet of boosted signal coverage (dependent on frequency band)
- Boosts signals on 800 MHz, 1900MHz, AWS and both AT&T and Verizon 700 MHz 4G LTE networks
- Verizon 4G (Band: Verizon's 700MHz LTE)
- AT&T 4G (Band: AT&T's 700MHz LTE)
- T-Mobile 3G/4G (Band: 1700MHz AWS Band)
- Standard 800/1900MHz (covers voice and 3G on all US networks)
- Supports CDMA, GSM, EVDO, LTE, HSPA+ and WCDMA technologies
- Most affordable five-band booster available
- Compact Design
- Weighs less than three pounds
- LCD display
- Push button controls
- Optimization for each of the five frequency bands
- Cell site protection technology
||824-849MHz / 869-894MHz
1850-1910MHz / 1930-1990MHz
1710-1775MHz / 2110-2155MHz
698-716MHz / 728-746MHz
776-787MHz / 746-757MHz
|Max Uplink Power
|Noise Figure (down)
||> .5 second shutdown
||5V DC (power supply included)
||N-Female, 50 Ohms
||6" x 7.5" x 1.5"