How Can I Boost My Home 3G Cell Signal?

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Q: After showing a dropping a few not-so-subtle-hints, I just upgraded my mom from her flip phone to her first smart phone. She's picked up how to use it well enough, but one thing is killing her experience: poor reception. It's not the carrier or the phone specifically, because she lives out in the suburbs, and connections just stink for every provider and phone we've tried out there. Is there an affordable way for me to boost the reception so she can stop asking "can you hear me now?" like a Verizon commercial?Sent by Zero Bars
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Editor - A few providers offer what they call a signal booster, like AT&T's 3G MicroCell, but getting one on your provider's dime can be a bit of a crapshoot (if you're a longtime customer with a high monthly bill, it's a whole lot easier to convince a rep to send you one for free). T-Mobile is about to launch a T-Mobile Cel-Fi Signal Booster Program at zero cost, but you'll have to be on contract.
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If you don't want to be locked into any program or resort to begging customer service for help, you can take things into your own hands and install your very own hands by installing your own signal booster. The model we're looking into for ourselves is the zBoost YX540 Metro, which has a coverage of 1,500 square feet and is compatible with both 800 & 1900 MHz devices (no 4G). Setup looks fairly easy without need for an outdoor antenna like other models, and you can find the device online for under $150. In fact, we're ordering one for our own mom, because we share the very same issue. Of course, any or all of these solutions are bandaids, and one such expect a possible improved signal, but not necessarily amazing trouble-free connections...we'll report back how this ends up working.

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