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  1. doitle's Avatar
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    I have been a Verizon customer for years and was extremely weary about ATT since I didn't know anyone with their service local. I finaly made the plunge and switched over and got two Lumia 920s, one for me and one for my girlfriend. We get them home and... we have absolutely no service at our house or even on our property at all. The signal is totally gone as you turn on to our street. Now this wasn't actually that different from Verizon, who also had no service at my house. I was used to this, but my girlfriend wasn't. She had US Cellular previously and always had service at the house and found it unacceptable to have no service at home. We were considering returning the phones but she tried calling ATT to see what they said. They had us restart the phones while parked under an ATT tower with full signal and various other things to try and update the tower list in the SIM cards. Nothing worked. As it stood we were getting maybe 4 hours from 100% to dead with our phones since they were always at no signal and had the amplifiers on the radios cranked trying to talk to the tower.

    After one final call to ATT they surprisingly offered us a 3G Microcell. There was a bit of a mishap with the CSR and they initially told us it would be free and credited us 125$. They told me to go to the local ATT store and buy one and we'd all be square. It ended up that the Microcell was 200$ and that CSR had mistakenly said it was free rather than heavily subsidized. We called back and they saw the notes in our file that the rep had said it would be "Free" and credited us an additional 75$.

    Anyhow, we got it home, got it hooked up. We didn't put it 3ft from a window as the instructions dictated so it did take it a little while to get a GPS lock but once it did we were up and running. Full five bars "4G" through the whole house and all around the house it doesn't drop below three bars. The phones actually say on them too Connected to Microcell when you go to the network settings screen. What's interesting is the range on it is pretty high. Even a block or two away we still connect to the tower rather than the main network.

    Now the whole reason I made this post: We went from about 4 hours battery life to a little over a day. This is with pretty heavy use too, watching a good amount of YouTube videos and streaming music from Grooverooster (heh) for a few hours. Yesterday when I went to bed I had 38% battery left and had the phone off the charger for 18 hours. Having a poor cellular connection has a tremendous impact on your battery life because the cellular radio has to draw so much more power to connect.

    Anyhow, I don't know that ATT will be offering anyone else subsidies on the tower, but it's worth a shot if you have terrible signal at home. We also saw the towers being sold on Ebay and the like for pretty cheap and I'd say the thing is really worth it. We've been so surprised by how well it worked. It does require high speed internet at home but I don't think that's unreasonable. We're really glad we got it and can keep the ATT service and I thought I'd suggest it since I see so many posts about the Lumia's terrible battery life. Some of the problems may be unrelated but there may be a few people out there with no or poor signal at home and their Lumia could do much better with a better signal.
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  2. pderosa's Avatar
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    I agree that the 920's battery drains very quickly with a weak signal. I did not have mine using the Microcell in my house since the Lumia 900 I had before this had terrible battery drain when connected to it. It seems like they have fixed this and my battery life is better when connected to the Microcell. A big plus since the AT&T signal at my house is not great.
  3. zombiegrrl86's Avatar
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    They are great. They gave me one for $75 a couple years ago.
  4. GabrielStorm's Avatar
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    been on a micro cell for going on two years. can go downstairs of apartment and outside. still connected.
    never drop below 3 bars.
    ~gabriel
  5. barracuda1187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pderosa View Post
    I agree that the 920's battery drains very quickly with a weak signal.
    This is my experience as well. I work in an underground shop where the signal is usually only 1 bar, and frequently swiches between LTE, 4G, and sometimes even EDGE, and I get maybe 8 hours out of the battery with minimal usage (and everything in background blocked, other than battery monitor). Less than 8 if I use the phone more than once every half hour or so - and definitely only for text and email; no streaming or any other internet-enabled app. It's worth noting that there is wi-fi down there, but even with that, it doesn't seem to help at all.

    If I go somewhere outside, with decent signal, battery life jumps to (indicated) 2 days or more, and watching the percentage, is definitely light years better. So, I'm firmly in the camp saying any battery problems I have are coming from signal and software rather than an endemic bad battery problem.

    Definitely looking into a Microcell.
  6. Emcee's Avatar
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    Picked one up this summer for $75 off Craigslist. Battery is phenomenal on it.
  7. Napocensis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doitle View Post
    ...They had us restart the phones while parked under an ATT tower with full signal and various other things to try and update the tower list in the SIM cards. Nothing worked. As it stood we were getting maybe 4 hours from 100% to dead with our phones since they were always at no signal and had the amplifiers on the radios cranked trying to talk to the tower.
    ...
    Amazing what AT&T can have in their tech support scrip: park under a tower! For hours! Funny but also sad. Just like HP, you have problem with your server's motherboard and first they recommend is to swap the power cord.
  8. jodogg7ny's Avatar
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    #8  
    Thank you for the post :) I too got a great deal on a microcell and have used it at my last two apartments.

    I am wondering if you have had the same experience I have when attempting to switch to another call while on the Microcell. If I am ending a call and taking another incoming call or trying to conduct a three way call while on the microcell with my Lumia 920 I cannot keep a good connection. I have to hang up and initiate a new call each time.

    Please let me know if this has been your experience. It's almost like the microcell is dropped and I am back to my bad service until I make a new call.

    I am not getting rid of this phone as I really do like it, I did not have this same experience on the iPhone 4s when I had it.

    Thanks!

    - Joe
  9. Fuzzy John's Avatar
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    Very interesting. So, let me recap... You may have to pay for a MicroCell. You may have an additional fee on your account. You are using your own broadband connection (maybe provided by Verizon???). All this so you can use a service that you already pay for? Sounds like some sort of a scam.

    Now, I am not trying to diminish the benefits, but the MicroCell should be completely free. You may be relieving the load on the AT&T towers. You are adding another 50 feet or so of AT&T coverage (courtesy of Verizon maybe). You may have a metered broadband connection.
  10. jeremyshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzy John View Post
    Very interesting. So, let me recap... You may have to pay for a MicroCell. You may have an additional fee on your account. You are using your own broadband connection (maybe provided by Verizon???). All this so you can use a service that you already pay for? Sounds like some sort of a scam.

    Now, I am not trying to diminish the benefits, but the MicroCell should be completely free. You may be relieving the load on the AT&T towers. You are adding another 50 feet or so of AT&T coverage (courtesy of Verizon maybe). You may have a metered broadband connection.
    It gets better. Any 3G data useage, is billed straight to your account. AT&T claims some excuse, whatever it is.

    The reality is, we are paying more to help AT&T. That being said, they at least do offer the Microcell, whatever consolation that is for a device that gets wonky everytime it cannot mantain a continuous GPS lock.
  11. glow84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremyshaw View Post
    It gets better. Any 3G data useage, is billed straight to your account. AT&T claims some excuse, whatever it is.

    The reality is, we are paying more to help AT&T. That being said, they at least do offer the Microcell, whatever consolation that is for a device that gets wonky everytime it cannot mantain a continuous GPS lock.
    Actually there is no extra fee on,your behalf. If you already have unlimited minutes, there is no need for the $19.99 unlimited minutes plan when using the microcell. Just buy plug into your router and activate it. I do notice after a couple days I have to power cycle the microcell not sure if its a problem with it, or the Verizon modem which I hate.

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