T-Mobile's iPhone 5-ready nano-SIM card. | Source: TmoNews
According to T-Mobile blog TmoNews, the iPhone 5-ready nano-SIM cards started showing up at the carrier's stores on Saturday, allowing unlocked versions of the handset to be activated on T-Mobile's HPSA+ network. The appearance of the nano-SIM cards comes as a bit of a surprise, as the first batch of chips were expected to arrive later this month.
While Apple does not sell any iteration of the iPhone to T-Mobile, the newest version of the smartphone supports the telecom's 4G HSPA+ and LTE bandwidths, which are being built out across the country. This means any unlocked AT&T or Verizon iPhone 5 will recognize and operate on T-Mobile's network, including unlocked units sold directly from Apple.
Shortly after launching the handset in September, Apple revealed U.S. pricing for out-of-contract, or factory unlocked, iPhone 5s would be $649, $749 and $849 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, respectively. Non-contract units purchased from AT&T and Verizon would carry comparable prices.
Unlike the micro-SIM card used in last year's iPhone 4S, supply of the iPhone 5's nano-SIM card is somewhat strained as Apple's device is the first smartphone in the world to use the newly-minted standard.
In June, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute chose Apple's nano-SIM design to be the official fourth form factor (4FF) SIM card, with the design beating out a rival proposal from RIM and Motorola to become the successor of the micro-SIM.
The nano-SIM is 40 percent smaller than the third-generation micro-SIM architecture, and was supposedly needed to maximize space in the iPhone 5's cramped uni-body chassis.