Have HotSpot @Home On T-Mobile? Here's A Way To Save $10 Per Month

Jacob writes:

Anyone who signed up for the HotSpot @Home feature that allows you to make cell phone calls over your wifi network should go online and switch to the identical service that was ‘re-rolled out’ and called ‘HotSpot @Home Talk Forever Mobile’.

They are exactly the same service except that the old version was $19.99 and the new version is $9.99. So basically I will be saving $120 a year without any contract extensions or change in service.

If you are still being billed for the old version, T-mobile will not switch you over to the cheaper, identical service until you do it yourself.

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  1. chicagojohn says:

    I signed up for this service last month… it’s awesome provided you have a phone that can use UMA (WIFI calling) like the T-mobile’s version of the Blackberry Curve.

    This service is great if can’t get cell reception in your house/apt.

    I think that the 9.99 is for all phones on the plan… (the previous version charged 29.99 for a family plan).

  2. Dustin says:

    T-Mobile HotSpot @Home is the only reason I still have T-Mobile. They offered to send me a free phone, a router, and set me up on this service at no cost. I don’t get unlimited calls from wireless, but I also don’t pay a cent extra to finally get reception in my house.

    A word of warning, though, to anyone considering it. While the phones may have gotten better, my Samsung T409 only picks up the wireless signal about 75% of the time. 20% of the time I have to turn off my phone and remove and reinsert the battery. The other 5% of the time I just don’t have signal. So while it’s a good service, it could be much better.

  3. ParanoidGeek says:

    The HotSpot@Home plan is just for unlimited minutes via the WiFi. You don’t need the plan to be able to make WiFi calls, just the right phone. I usually don’t come close to my limit in minutes, so I skipped the plan, but it still works great.

    Also, when I was in a T-Mobile store getting a UMA phone, the salesperson told me that the billing for the call was based on how the call was initiated — the system didn’t handle changes from WiFi to normal cell service. So she said that with the plan, you could start your call inside the house on WiFi and then leave and it would be billed as a WiFi call for the duration. I don’t know if that’s still the case or not, but might be useful info to some of you.

  4. neilb says:

    Has anyone tried this with a Shadow? Tmobile not include it explicitly as an official part of the program, but it is WM6, so it should be capable given the correct software.

    Has anyone found a workaround for free/cheaper calling using broadband that is tied to a Tmobile phone? I have skype on my Shadow, but it is not a perfect workaround (pricing and only working on speakerphone).

  5. grebby says:

    I signed up for HotSpot @Home when it was originally offered and got locked in at $9.99. I already had a compatible router so it was really a no-brainer. The Nokia 6086 was definitely the better choice over the Samsung.

  6. RebeccaC says:

    I’ve had Hotspot @Home since they rolled it out and it’s been great. I had some quality issues when I tried to use my pre-existing wireless router, but when I switched to the router they provided all of the problems went away.

    I just called to ask about switching to the less expensive “HotSpot @Home Talk Forever Mobile” and the extremely cheerful woman at T-Mobile told me that I was already switched to the less expensive plan. I’ll keep an eye out on my next couple of bills just in case, but for me at least, they moved me to the new version without having to call in.

  7. Vinny says:

    Now here’s the rub. You don’t actually need the service at all. If you don’t use your phone enough to justify the $10 of unlimited, you can actually just buy the phone and use it with any WiFi router. The only difference will be that the minutes will come out of your monthly bucket.

    For me, for example, I have 1500 minutes on my wireless plan. The need for a $10 add on is limited, so when I had the Hotspot phone, I just used it and the minutes were deducted as if I was on the cellular network.

  8. eugenegh2 says:

    Vinny beat me to it, You don’t need to sign up for the service. It just follows you current call pricing plan.

  9. NadaEpopeus says:

    Actually, if you have a UMA-capable phone, you don’t need the service at
    all. The service allows you to use calling over Wifi and NOT have it chew
    into your minutes. Say you have a 8320 Curve, a 1000 minute plan and only
    really use 500 of those minutes anyway, you can stop the service all
    together and still get full bars & calls over wifi at home. Double your
    savings. BOOYA!

  10. holocron says:

    Hmmm…do they have a pre-paid phone that will work with this? that would be the best.

  11. @holocron:

    You can’t get monthly services with pre-paid, so even if one of the pre-paid phones actually had WiFi, you wouldn’t be able to use the service unless you subscribed and signed up for the service.

  12. chicagojohn says:

    @neilb: @neilb: The shadow isn’t a UMA phone so I don’t think it would work.

    Another benefit to the UMA/hotspot@home phones is the ability to travel overseas and use Wifi and it’s treated as a US call. David Pogue (new york times) did a great write up on the features of this service.

    [www.nytimes.com]

    and yes, this is the ONLY reason I’m still with Tmob….

  13. pigeonpenelope says:

    @neilb: The Shadow is not a a Hotspot@Home capable phone. While it does work with WiFi, it only gets internet and doesn’t have the software for the UMA part. There are three Blackberrys that are capable, the 8820, the Blackberry Curve (employee favorite) and the new Blackberry Pearl (second employee favorite). There are a couple of regular handsets also but I can’t remember them.

    There’s more in store… just wait!

  14. pigeonpenelope says:

    @chicagojohn: not to sway you but don’t count on always having unlimited dialing from your router while overseas or while dialing internationally… it doesn’t always work and because it isn’t guarenteed, there is not troubleshooting for those types of calls nor are there any credits that will be given. that being said, a lot of people have success just remember the warning and keep calls short..

  15. t325 says:

    UMA is pretty cool, and you don’t need the plan to make WiFi calls, you just need it for unlimited WiFi calls. I have the T-Mobile BB Curve and use UMA every now and then without the plan as I never use all my minutes. I get great cellular reception at home so I don’t really need UMA there. Although it came in handy last night when for some reason my phone wouldn’t pick up a signal, it was at 2 AM (when normal people are asleep) and during a storm, so it was either maintenance, the storm, or both that knocked out a tower temporarily. Turned on WiFi, and was able to use voice, SMS and data again. The tower came back online within the hour though so I went back to that to save my battery.

  16. The only benefit to paying for this service at all is the unlimited minutes while at home.

    For those of you simply looking to get reception in your homes, the UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) capability works just fine with any router (though the Airport Extreme is not without its difficulties).

    As a T-Mobile subscriber and the owner of a Blackberry Curve with wifi, I can attest to this. I use it frequently while in the homes of friends and clients who live in poor reception areas. I also occasionally use it in my own home as well just to test and make use of faster browsing when I’m too lazy to go to my computer.

    If T-mobile subscribers here have a HotSpot@Home-capable phone, I recommend giving it a whirl.

    A few notes:

    1. Once again, you will be charged for your minutes as usual.
    2. The transitions between wifi/non-wifi areas seem less fluid, often cutting off the call.
    3. Since last firmware update Airport Extreme and Express routers seem to work better. I own the first and frequently use the last.
    4. I’m not liable for anything. Ever.

    Good luck!

  17. EnricoDamputer says:

    1. If you’re using a Mac it’s much easier to forego the router and
    connect directly to the Mac through your wireless network using the
    software base station feature if you just have a few home computers.
    In Leopard, click on sharing in system preferences and select internet
    sharing. Essentially you’re sharing your built-in internet connection.
    Despite T-mobile’s claims that the router saves the phone battery I
    see no appreciable difference. The wifi connection will definitely
    drain your battery faster. The phone heats up like a toaster when wifi
    connected.

    2. T- Mobile will soon release the Nokia 6130 (or similar US model
    #). Unlike the Nokia 6086 which doesn’t support a log-in screen for
    connecting to VPN networks….a real problem if you’re trying to
    connect to your university or corporate network, the Nokia 613X will.

    3. The new iphone will likely be announced at the beginning of June.
    There will likely be a third party VOIP/ UMA application that will
    support wifi calling. That should dovetail nicely with the T-Mobile
    Hot Spot plan. T-Mobile doesn’t officially support the iphone but I’ve
    yet to talk to a T-Mobile rep that won’t help you setup an iphone
    (sans visual voicemail of course).

  18. robbiemd says:

    Funny…that’s my post above.

  19. Mr. Gunn says:

    Think that’s cool? Truphone will allow you to do VOIP over 3G or Wifi, with no need to pay TMobile any extra money. You do need the right phone, but it’s built into many of the newer Nokias.