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T-Mobile US network changes grant 3G access to some unlocked iPhone users

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Though T-Mobile U.S. does not offer Apple's iPhone and its network cannot provide 3G access to the iPhone in most parts of the country, a select number of users using an unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile can now obtain 3G speeds thanks to a network adjustment.

T-Mobile has been "refarming" some of its wireless spectrum in certain parts of the country, utilizing the 1900MHz band for HSPA+ 3G speeds. This has allowed some unlocked iPhone users to access 3G signals, according to TmoNews.

Users in Utah, Nevada, parts of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest have reportedly seen T-Mobile switch to the 1900MHz spectrum in some areas, allowing iPhone users to access the HSPA+ network. The changes are said to only affect pockets of users, rather than large areas.

"In some areas, there is a real possibility unlocked iPhone owners could pick up pockets of 3G signal," the report said. "It's not going to be a scenario we see playing out all over the country, in fact it's probably going to be pretty rare with lots of emphasis on rare."

Still, those users who do gain 3G access on an unlocked iPhone can obtain HSPA+ speeds, which are said to be 10 to 12 times faster than standard 3G at peak speeds. In fact, the HSPA+ connection packs speeds as high as 27 times faster than EVDO, which peaks at 3.2Mbps.

T-Mobile's regular U.S. network relies on different frequencies in the AWS 3G spectrum, supporting the 1700MHz and 2100MHz bands, while AT&T supports 850MHz and 1900MHz. The current iPhone hardware does not support the 1700MHz frequency, meaning a modification of the hardware would be necessary for it to run on 3G speeds. That also means users running an unlocked version of the iPhone on T-Mobile's network cannot access 3G speeds unless they are in an area where the 1900MHz frequency is in use.



T-Mobile is the only major carrier in the U.S. that does not offer Apple's iPhone, and that lack of availability may be due solely to the fact that T-Mobile operates its 3G network on a non-traditional frequency. In fact, Apple has even begun to expand availability of the iPhone to smaller regional carriers like C Spire Wireless, while T-Mobile has been left out.

The carrier's chief marketing officer, Cole Brodman, issued a note to customers in September noting that T-Mobile would like to add the iPhone to its lineup, but revealing that the decision was up to Apple. The company has instead pushed its line of Android alternatives in the place of Apple's popular handset.
post #2 of 33
Cole Brodman, T-Mumble's CMO is the STOOPIDEST Marketing guy in the solar system. IF he's naive enough or arrogant enough to believe that Apple is waiting on T-Mumble to do ANYTHING or decide ANYTHING, he's an idiot.
post #3 of 33
I don't get it. If you had an unlocked iPhone, why would you choose to use the one network on which you can't get any 3G coverage? Surely the number of iPhone users on T-Mobile U.S. is pretty much zero.
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post

…why would you choose to use the one network on which you can't get any 3G coverage?

Because you don't want to be forced to have a data plan.

Quote:
Surely the number of iPhone users on T-Mobile U.S. is pretty much zero.

Couple million, I thought.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Because you don't want to be forced to have a data plan.

Then why would you care about 3G?
post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Because you don't want to be forced to have a data plan.

Why on earth would you splash out on a carrier-free iPhone if you don't want a data plan? Not having mobile data makes a large majority of its features useless when you're out and about...
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Because you don't want to be forced to have a data plan.

Couple million, I thought.

Even China Mobile has 10 million iPhone users which can only access '2G' data.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post

I don't get it. If you had an unlocked iPhone, why would you choose to use the one network on which you can't get any 3G coverage?

AT&T plan: 450min + SMS + 2GB data = $85mo (extra fees if you ever need to tether)

T-Mobile plan 500min + SMS + 2GB data = $50mo (and no tethering charges)

Also people visiting the US from other countries can just get a T-Mobile "pay as you go" SIM to put into their iPhone for their visit with no monthly fees.


Also note that in larger cities, you can't get 3G coverage on AT&T either.
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by alandail View Post

Then why would you care about 3G?

That's the exact point I'm making

Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post

Why on earth would you splash out on a carrier-free iPhone if you don't want a data plan?

Because the alternative is a convoluted process of unlocking it yourself, waiting a month, and paying the ETF and first month's charges, which come to an equal amount of money.

Quote:
Not having mobile data makes a large majority of its features useless when you're out and about...

Wi-Fi has existed for about a decade. I think they manage.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #10 of 33
So is T-Mobile the only U.S. carrier which will let you buy an iPhone with a pay as you go SIM and have a data allowance?
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

AT&T plan: 450min + SMS + 2GB data = $85mo (extra fees if you ever need to tether)

T-Mobile plan 500min + SMS + 2GB data = $50mo (and no tethering charges)

Also people visiting the US from other countries can just get a T-Mobile "pay as you go" SIM to put into their iPhone for their visit with no monthly fees.


Also note that in larger cities, you can't get 3G coverage on AT&T either.

For those that don't use SMS those prices aren't viable. Since their iPhone-compatible '3G' is currently severely limited there will be few that will find this a benefit. Fast data is important to people which is why we haven't seen a mass exodus from AT&T as other carriers have gotten the iPhone and why '4G' is so marketable despite severe power requirements.

PS: It's possible to get Pay As You Go from AT&T with an unlocked iPhone:

PPS: T-Mobile USA doesn't count date for social networking but I wonder how it knows. Is it excluding data from a particular app(s) which would make this not compatible with the iPhone or does it use URLs via their towers to exclude any data from such sites.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post

So is T-Mobile the only U.S. carrier which will let you buy an iPhone with a pay as you go SIM and have a data allowance?

Yes. Well, there are smaller, regional carriers that exist (Cincinnati Bell, that one in the south that said they were too good for the iPhone, and some in Hawaii and Alaska), and I don't know if they allow it (or if they even HAVE data…), but yeah, T-Mobile's the only nationwide carrier that will let you do that.

They're the only ones who will let you use a PAYG plan at ALL, much less with data.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

PS: It's possible to get Pay As You Go from AT&T with an unlocked iPhone:

Absolutely.

The AT&T's pay-as-you-go GoPhone SIM works just fine in my unlocked iPhone 4S.
post #14 of 33
Some companies force you to go with a specific carrier. One of our vendors is TMo only. for those stuck in that kind of situation an unlocked iPhone might be worth it.
post #15 of 33
Can anyone confirm this in the bay area?

I'd jump ship if it was true.
White Nexus 7 8GB
Black & Slate iPhone 5 32GB AT&T
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White Nexus 7 8GB
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post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post

I don't get it. If you had an unlocked iPhone, why would you choose to use the one network on which you can't get any 3G coverage? Surely the number of iPhone users on T-Mobile U.S. is pretty much zero.

Actually, there are about 1 million iPhone users on Tmobile, including myself. When you around wifi most of the time and can use egde the rest of the time, it's a pretty good deal. $50 per month for unlimited talk, text, data.

I have no problem using Siri on EDGE. Ive also checked email which was quick enough. I even compared a video on EDGE vs wifi on two iPhones side by side. While the video quality was obviously way poorer, it was still viewable and there wasn't a major difference with audio.

My point being that even in its current state, Tmobile with the iPhone works for many.
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post

Why on earth would you splash out on a carrier-free iPhone if you don't want a data plan? Not having mobile data makes a large majority of its features useless when you're out and about...

Kids, they carry a regular cheaper plan phone, and an iPod touch. I wish I could get them an iPhone with no data plan - and so do they.
I have some staff employees that I provide iPhone - they are not sales people - they are either at work or at home - they have WiFi
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post

I don't get it. If you had an unlocked iPhone, why would you choose to use the one network on which you can't get any 3G coverage? Surely the number of iPhone users on T-Mobile U.S. is pretty much zero.

The only reason I don't use T-mobile is that I can't get 3G. Anyone know where I can get a map of T-mobile 1900 spectrum? If there is reasonable coverage in my area, I'd consider going back to T-mobile in June when my contract runs out. In fact, maybe what I'll do is wait for the iPhone 5 to come out, say I lost my iphone and pay for a replacement iPhone 5 on the AT&T contract (costs about $400) and then cancel with AT&T and go to T-Mobile with a shiny new iPhone 5.
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Because you don't want to be forced to have a data plan.



Couple million, I thought.

To be more precise, to have a much cheaper total plan (which might include pre-paid). Assume you pay $5-10 per month on pre-paid minutes, add a $10 data plan to that and you pay way, way less than the cheapest iPhone plans on Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post

To be more precise, to have a much cheaper total plan (which might include pre-paid). Assume you pay $5-10 per month on pre-paid minutes, add a $10 data plan to that and you pay way, way less than the cheapest iPhone plans on Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.

Well, sure, but also for not having a data plan at all.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post

I don't get it. If you had an unlocked iPhone, why would you choose to use the one network on which you can't get any 3G coverage? Surely the number of iPhone users on T-Mobile U.S. is pretty much zero.

I for one would love to get 3G on another network other than T-Mobile, but when on a temporary work visa here, AT&T want to charge you $500 up front to use their network, T-Mobile does not have this policy.
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post

I don't get it. If you had an unlocked iPhone, why would you choose to use the one network on which you can't get any 3G coverage? Surely the number of iPhone users on T-Mobile U.S. is pretty much zero.

Actually, according to T-Mobile it is over a million users, myself being one. Unlike AT&T, T-Mobile doesn't require iPhone users to use data. So, I only use wi-fi. I use Navigon for GPS, so the maps are on the phone and no data plan is needed. If I wanted data, Edge isn't so bad for email and light web surfing. I save a lot of money not having to buy a data plan I don't need.
post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post

Why on earth would you splash out on a carrier-free iPhone if you don't want a data plan? Not having mobile data makes a large majority of its features useless when you're out and about...


Not really. Most businesses have free wi-fi (McDonalds, Wendy's, Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, Whole Foods, etc). I have wifi at work.


As far as GPS goes, the GPS unit works without data. You just need a program like Navigon that stores the maps on the phone.
post #24 of 33
$500?!

Surely it should just be a matter of walking into the carrier shop, getting a pay-as-you-go SIM card, and paying for calls as you go along and a few bucks extra each month for data? Quite economical unless you make loads of calls.

And how on earth do the carriers get away with mandating an expensive data plan? O2 here in the UK does require a data plan on standard iPhone contracts, but the cheapest data plan is £3/month.

What I love about my iPhone is ubiquitous access to data services. Having to find a wi-fi hotspot all the time would really spoil that for me!
post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post

I don't get it. If you had an unlocked iPhone, why would you choose to use the one network on which you can't get any 3G coverage? Surely the number of iPhone users on T-Mobile U.S. is pretty much zero.

There's a ton of us!

Unlimited Talk, Unlimited Text, Unlimited Data on TMobile = $49 a month with no contract here in New York City. Coverage is great! Even if it's only Edge coverage though the switch to 3G will be welcomed, when/if it comes.
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bwinski View Post

IF he's naive enough or arrogant enough to believe that Apple is waiting on T-Mumble to do ANYTHING or decide ANYTHING, he's an idiot.

Why do you write this?

The article specifically stated that T-Mobile is waiting on Apple, not the
other way around as you seem to indicate...
post #27 of 33
AT&T's official policy forbids the use of an iPhone without a data plan. You can do it, but the terms allow them to unilaterally activate data if hey detect the iPhone. That also means they won't sell you a prepaid SIM.

I always buy unlocked phones, as it is cheaper over the 2 year contract life to just pay for it. It also gives me total flexibility when traveling,
post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

AT&T's official policy forbids the use of an iPhone without a data plan.

Unless it's a 1st gen.

Quote:
I always buy unlocked phones, as it is cheaper over the 2 year contract life to just pay for it. It also gives me total flexibility when traveling,

But still doesn't let you use it on AT&T without data.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #29 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post


Absolutely.

The AT&T's pay-as-you-go GoPhone SIM works just fine in my unlocked iPhone 4S.


I've been on plans with AT&T for over 10 years, using same SIM card. On same SIM card switched to $25 a month pay as you go (PAYG) ... can I buy the unlocked iphone 4s and still use it?? I really want the iphone and saved $1000 in a year since I didnt use a plan and figured I can now buy a iphone with what I saved switching to PAYG.

 

So can I use PAYG with an unlocked "iPhone 4s"?? I dont use the internet.. just TEXT and PHONE with WIFI is fine with me.

 

HELP!

post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by wantiphone4s View Post

On same SIM card switched to $25 a month pay as you go (PAYG) … can I buy the unlocked iPhone 4s and still use it??

No. They'll add the data. You'll have to pick a different carrier to do that.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #31 of 33

Walmart has a $30 T-mobile plan. I wonder if that would work with an iPhone. I use Straight Talk $45 a month plan which is the best deal out there in my opinion but the Walmart/Tmobile $30 might be the cheapest way to run an iPhone month to month and have it be usable.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

Walmart has a $30 T-mobile plan. I wonder if that would work with an iPhone. I use Straight Talk $45 a month plan which is the best deal out there in my opinion but the Walmart/Tmobile $30 might be the cheapest way to run an iPhone month to month and have it be usable.

That's actually what we're planning to do come the release of the sixth one. We need to make sure that we won't ever be charged for data, but unless Verizon lets us keep our existing plan when the next iPhone comes out, screw having been their customers for a decade; we're going to Wal-mart.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #33 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

Walmart has a $30 T-mobile plan. I wonder if that would work with an iPhone. I use Straight Talk $45 a month plan which is the best deal out there in my opinion but the Walmart/Tmobile $30 might be the cheapest way to run an iPhone month to month and have it be usable.

That's actually what we're planning to do come the release of the sixth one. We need to make sure that we won't ever be charged for data, but unless Verizon lets us keep our existing plan when the next iPhone comes out, screw having been their customers for a decade; we're going to Wal-mart.

 

Those new shared data plans and the screws they are putting on people to move to them are pretty damn crazy aren't they? I was a Verizon customer for a decade as well but left due to their nickle and diming back with the mandatory feature phone data. I can't even imagine staying with a contract with them now with fees to upgrade lines, no new every two, and using just every thing short of pure dishonesty to get people to give up their unlimited data plans including requiring full purchase price of any upgraded phones while not reducing plan prices which include subsidizing equipment.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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