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Thread: Need a Tello/Tmobile alternative for Home Phone Base station device

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    Need a Tello/Tmobile alternative for Home Phone Base station device

    I have a legacy Sprint Phone Connect 2 device, which is similar to the Straight Talk Home Phone Line available at Walmart. As you know, this device allows you to plug in a standard POTS phone device or dialer into a jack and gives you a dial tone for use on the cellular voice network.

    The problem is the Sprint device is CDMA, and currently activated on Tello(Sprint) prepaid monthly service, and Tmobile/Sprint is shutting down the CDMA network soon.

    I need to find a similar device like the ZTE base used on Straight Talk, that will work on Tmobile's network. It's likely that the ZTE or similar units have VoLTE and are compatible with Tmobile, but they are probably locked to Straight Talk.

    Is there a device that you can buy unlocked that will activate on Tmobile, or is there a way to get the Straight Talk or similar box unlocked to activate with Tello?

    Any ideas or suggestions that anyone is aware of, much appreciated!

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    I am using an OBI box plugged into a router to operate my standard Panasonic cordless phones. OBI makes a WiFi capable box that could do the same thing.
    If you don't have WiFi the wireless OBI could work, or you could use one of several WiFi extenders tethered to a cell phone. My wireless extender has several modes like client, bridged, etc. that can be configured. Cost, ~ $30.

    Check to see if your Sprint device could still function connected to WiFi instead of cellular data. If it does, just tether it to a router, smartphone or hotspot.
    See if the Tmobile home internet device would work.

    Snipped from ad: AT&T, Motorola, Panasonic, and VTech—-all have models that can pair with a cell phone (in some cases, up to four at once) using Bluetooth.
    Do a Google search on: cell phone to landline converter

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    Quote Originally Posted by mo832 View Post
    I have a legacy Sprint Phone Connect 2 device, which is similar to the Straight Talk Home Phone Line available at Walmart. As you know, this device allows you to plug in a standard POTS phone device or dialer into a jack and gives you a dial tone for use on the cellular voice network.

    The problem is the Sprint device is CDMA, and currently activated on Tello(Sprint) prepaid monthly service, and Tmobile/Sprint is shutting down the CDMA network soon.

    I need to find a similar device like the ZTE base used on Straight Talk, that will work on Tmobile's network. It's likely that the ZTE or similar units have VoLTE and are compatible with Tmobile, but they are probably locked to Straight Talk.

    Is there a device that you can buy unlocked that will activate on Tmobile, or is there a way to get the Straight Talk or similar box unlocked to activate with Tello?

    Any ideas or suggestions that anyone is aware of, much appreciated!
    The Straight Talk ZTE Home Phone box only has LTE bands for Verizon. It would be a dead end to try using T-Mobile on it.

    Do a web search on, "t-mobile analog telephone adapter". That is the device type (ATA) you are looking for. It appears that T-Mo has one of their own - no idea about its availability or cost. These typically need to connect to broadband Internet.

    Cell2Jack is an ATA that works similar to a ST Home Base, except you have to plug in your own cellphone with service on the cellphone - no broadband Internet required.. I have no personal experience with them.

    Panasonic has cordless phone systems with Link2Cell. That allows you to link a cellphone to the cordless phone base over Bluetooth to use the cellphone with the cordless phone system - no broadband Internet required.

    Polycom/Obihai, Ooma, Magic jack have ATAs that work with analog home phones and broadband Internet. I've been using an Obihai 200 for years. Works great. It's free to use with a Google Voice number. GV can not do 911 calls. You can add 911 service to the Obi from a third party for $2/mo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post
    The Straight Talk ZTE Home Phone box only has LTE bands for Verizon. It would be a dead end to try using T-Mobile on it.

    Do a web search on, "t-mobile analog telephone adapter". That is the device type (ATA) you are looking for. It appears that T-Mo has one of their own - no idea about its availability or cost. These typically need to connect to broadband Internet.

    Cell2Jack is an ATA that works similar to a ST Home Base, except you have to plug in your own cellphone with service on the cellphone - no broadband Internet required.. I have no personal experience with them.

    Panasonic has cordless phone systems with Link2Cell. That allows you to link a cellphone to the cordless phone base over Bluetooth to use the cellphone with the cordless phone system - no broadband Internet required.

    Polycom/Obihai, Ooma, Magic jack have ATAs that work with analog home phones and broadband Internet. I've been using an Obihai 200 for years. Works great. It's free to use with a Google Voice number. GV can not do 911 calls. You can add 911 service to the Obi from a third party for $2/mo.
    Thanks for the heads up. As you noted, I am looking for something that works identical to the Straight Talk base (zte), which was formerly Franklin /Hwawei that they phased out. The Sprint unit is also Huawei and a twin model to
    the one used for Walmart/Verizon.

    When I say "identical", I mean as a STAND ALONE voice calling device. I don't have access to broadband at this location, nor do I want to install it. Definitely can't use an Obi, or any other piggyback device on internet connection. As far as I know, Verizon, ATT, and Sprint all offered these calling boxes in the past, but never an analogous box at Tmobile.

    I might check out that Cell2Jack, but it's not ideal since you need to piece it together and then have a dedicated cell phone always on hand and powered on and hope it stays on.

    It would seem that an ATT device that was unlocked might work, but they have been quiet on these for years, and the ones I'm familiar with were for 2g/3g so their days are numbered.

    Do you know of any ATT devices that are made for current systems and are reliable? The last resort is to drop Tello and move to the Straight Talk or Consumer Cellular box, but their service is about 2X the price, and Tello has been reliable and easy to work with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mo832 View Post
    Thanks for the heads up. As you noted, I am looking for something that works identical to the Straight Talk base (zte), which was formerly Franklin /Hwawei that they phased out. The Sprint unit is also Huawei and a twin model to
    the one used for Walmart/Verizon.

    When I say "identical", I mean as a STAND ALONE voice calling device. I don't have access to broadband at this location, nor do I want to install it. Definitely can't use an Obi, or any other piggyback device on internet connection. As far as I know, Verizon, ATT, and Sprint all offered these calling boxes in the past, but never an analogous box at Tmobile.

    I might check out that Cell2Jack, but it's not ideal since you need to piece it together and then have a dedicated cell phone always on hand and powered on and hope it stays on.

    It would seem that an ATT device that was unlocked might work, but they have been quiet on these for years, and the ones I'm familiar with were for 2g/3g so their days are numbered.

    Do you know of any ATT devices that are made for current systems and are reliable? The last resort is to drop Tello and move to the Straight Talk or Consumer Cellular box, but their service is about 2X the price, and Tello has been reliable and easy to work with.
    AFAIK, the Hwawei box for AT&T is 3G and hasn't been updated to VoLTE. Verizon has one, something like T2000, but the service price ($20) is more than Straight Talk ($15).

    The Straight Talk box will run with Page Plus service. I've tried it, but there is some background data used that PP does not know to zero rate. It was something like 10 cents a day. It will probably also work with Tracfone service.

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    ZTE makes one, but I don't know if it has the best bands for T-Mobile / Tello service. Bands listed under the specifications on the product page are UMTS bands: B2/4/5, LTE bands: B2/4/5/12(MFBI)/13, VoLTE.
    Trying to come up with some sort of signature line...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. D. View Post
    ZTE makes one, but I don't know if it has the best bands for T-Mobile / Tello service. Bands listed under the specifications on the product page are UMTS bands: B2/4/5, LTE bands: B2/4/5/12(MFBI)/13, VoLTE.
    Where can you buy a generic zte device, which is not branded by an operator and/or locked?

    Can the zte be unlocked by the carrier or a 3rd party?

    Do you know if the zte, if it were tried on Tmobile, would it work acceptably even if you had SOME, but not all bands on Tmobile?

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    mo832, have you inquired at Tello?

    Maybe they will offer what you are looking for on a T-Mobile device.

    Sent from my Z5157V using HoFo mobile app

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    Quote Originally Posted by millept View Post
    mo832, have you inquired at Tello?

    Maybe they will offer what you are looking for on a T-Mobile device.

    Sent from my Z5157V using HoFo mobile app
    I haven't yet, but I might give that a try soon. In the past, they have been very helpful with technical issues, but they weren't especially strong on the different hardware models that were made for Sprint, which could number in the Hundreds, with various histories or previous settings, features, and configurations. The native carriers always have the edge on their proprietary phones.

    It's worth a shot. Thanks.

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    I bought a ZTE WF723CA on eBay. It’s unlocked. I put a T-Mobile SIM in and it gets a dial tone and is VoLTE compatible. I haven’t tried it with my Tello GSM SIM but it should work fine. That might be your best bet. It’s pretty nifty actually, has external antennas and a battery backup.

    I have it stashed away for if/when I need it. Right now it’s more useful for me to have the old landline number’s SIM in an actual phone because it has unlimited data.


    Sent from my iPhone using HoFo
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    Quote Originally Posted by mo832 View Post
    Where can you buy a generic zte device, which is not branded by an operator and/or locked?

    Can the zte be unlocked by the carrier or a 3rd party?

    Do you know if the zte, if it were tried on Tmobile, would it work acceptably even if you had SOME, but not all bands on Tmobile?
    I was thinking you could do your own research about these questions after the device was identified.

    As IsLand_BoY posted, there are unlocked devices on eBay, but his report of getting a dial tone isn't a good indicator of how well it works for making and receiving calls at your location. In the end you may have to just try one out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IsLand_BoY View Post
    I bought a ZTE WF723CA on eBay. It’s unlocked. I put a T-Mobile SIM in and it gets a dial tone and is VoLTE compatible. I haven’t tried it with my Tello GSM SIM but it should work fine. That might be your best bet. It’s pretty nifty actually, has external antennas and a battery backup.

    I have it stashed away for if/when I need it. Right now it’s more useful for me to have the old landline number’s SIM in an actual phone because it has unlimited data.


    Sent from my iPhone using HoFo
    This was the exact type of data point I was looking for. So, I just want to be certain- are you *sure* it is VoLTE capable? (I didn't realize ATT was still making these for the newer systems. They never really promoted them to begin with.) If you can confirm, I think that will work.

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    Not about the hardware. But if you only want UTT not data on the TM backbone. Then Liberty Wireless eBay only deal $60 for 360 days UTT is the way to go.
    I will be Judged on how I helped the poor, sick & others in need; strangers & loved ones alike.

    My plans:
    Visible (Verizon) UTT & Unlimited Data $25/mo
    Liberty Wireless (T-Mobile) UTT 09.06.22
    T-Mobile Gold Rewards $10yr exp 01.05.22
    Truphone (AT&T) every 180 days by 01.18.22

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    I tested two unlocked WF723CA off ebay and my experience with them on t-mobile was not good. Tested in two locations 90 miles apart with two different sims with the same results: calls would fall back to 3g (lights turn orange) during calls. One or two initially would go VoLTE. Disruptive tones (as mentioned in StraightTalk thread.) Over amplified and distorted outgoing voice volume difficult to understand on remote end (as mentioned in other online forums.) The WF723CA are labeled as Telus devices.

    Further testing showed they stayed on VoLTE while on ATT Prepaid - voice/tone problem not tested. And not compatible with Verizon.

    My solution was an unlocked MF279 - originally ATT. Has been running fine for several months on T-Mobile Connect $15 plan. Must change APN to fast.t-mobile. Bonus that it works as a hotspot. The IFWA40 that succeeded it should work the same - I think it adds one more LTE band. T-Mobile's free scam blocker/caller id does not work with it. Should work on ATT - they are on the blessed list. Not Verizon compatible.

    Verizon offers this. I think calling plans are $20 / month. It was my next step if the MF279 didn't work out as the three big networks are all available at my location.

    https://www.verizon.com/home-office-solutions

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    Quote Originally Posted by mo832 View Post
    This was the exact type of data point I was looking for. So, I just want to be certain- are you *sure* it is VoLTE capable? (I didn't realize ATT was still making these for the newer systems. They never really promoted them to begin with.) If you can confirm, I think that will work.
    I'll bust it out this week and make some test calls. All I did when I received it was make sure it worked for one incoming and outgoing calls, charged it up, and boxed it back up. It was weird to me that it had a dial tone but I like that. According to the user guide, whatever indicator lights indicated it was connected to VoLTE. It has bands 2, 4, and 12 for T-Mobile but I'm right in the middle of the city so all carriers work very well.

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