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T-Mobile's iPhone 5 to support AWS, will ship unlocked in April

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
For its debut on T-Mobile, the iPhone 5 is being reworked straight from the factory to take advantage of the carrier's Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) bandwidths, a modification that reportedly cannot be done with a simple software update.

iPhone 5


Apple confirmed to Engadget on Tuesday that the T-Mobile version of the iPhone 5 carries the same A1428 model number as the AT&T iteration, but has AWS enabled thanks to a factory tweak. The change can't be duplicated by a firmware update, meaning current AT&T iPhone 5 owners must buy the newest version if they want AWS functionality.

As a consolation, the new A1428 model will be factory unlocked when it ships on April 12, the same day as T-Mobile's launch date for the device. Apple will reportedly be selling the unit at full MSRP prices in a "SIM-in unlocked fashion." While the handset has been customized for T-Mobile's AWS bands in the U.S., AT&T customers will be able to take advantage of the slightly revamped model on their 4G LTE network.

The publication goes on to say that Apple is phasing out the older A1428 model in favor of the T-Mobile-compatible version, suggesting that AT&T iPhone 5 units sold after April 12 will support AWS.

T-Mobile announced on Tuesday that it will be offering the iPhone 5 as part of the company's unsubsidized payment plan, which allows users to pay a low $99 up front fee for a 16GB version of the smartphone, with the remainder of the unit's cost spread out across 20 additional monthly payments of $20.
post #2 of 17
I'll just wait for the 5s or whatever it's called when it comes out later in the year. This year I will finally upgrade my iphone 4 - 'bout time! But might not stick to AT&T... hate their poor coverage in my town and in a lot of places I go to.
post #3 of 17
With tmobiles possible acquisition of metropcs this year, their coverage will,improve by leaps and bounds.
post #4 of 17
@marokero Still using my 3gs here. I figure on getting new phones as well but am not locked into either the iPhone or AT&T this time around. I am going to look at %u2122 and I also want to take a look at the Z-10. I may hang in until summer to see if there are and Ububtu OS phones available.

I know I am going to get flamed for this, but I am not looking at Android or Windows based phones for my own reasons. Android is a kludged together OS and I don't like the Metro interface on the Windows phones. Just my opinion on both of those and I don't mind saying so.
post #5 of 17
Interesting that they would make another iPhone 5 that specifically supported AWS. They did this once before with the iPhone 4 when they released it with CMDA/CDMA2000 support for Verizon mid-cycle. Last time Apple included Qualcomm's Mobi chip which supported CDMA and GSM-based networks in the next model. It makes me wonder if Apple will support a variable radio chip so they can reduce the cellular HW models with the 7th gen iPhone.

If Apple can do this for T-Mobile USA they can surely support the HW needed for China Mobile so the hold up has to be about what Apple is going to allow China Mobile do with Apple's iPhone.

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

 

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post #6 of 17
I think the modem inside every iPhone 5 supports AWS, however I think they removed the amplifier, so it doesn't get any reception. This must be a really small change in the factory line, and most likely not something that will need Apple to restructure it's entire factory, or change component manufacturers, etc.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrrodriguez View Post

I think the modem inside every iPhone 5 supports AWS, however I think they removed the amplifier, so it doesn't get any reception. This must be a really small change in the factory line, and most likely not something that will need Apple to restructure it's entire factory, or change component manufacturers, etc.

AWS is just a common name given to UMTS Operating Band IV. There was nothing removed from the iPhone to keep it from working, the spectrums were simply not added as to the design as we can see per the FCC filing. As you can see from the link there are many operating bands not included with the iPhone, or most other phones. Hopefully Qualcomm will have a variable frequency chip that can cover all the major spectrums as needed, or at least wit a certain baseband update.

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post #8 of 17
It will supports 3G on AWS. The AT&T iPhone already supports LTE on AWS. It's really a calibration/certification issue, the hardware already supports it as is but the phone doesn't come calibrated or have the FCC certification to do that.

It does have the FCC certification to do LTE over 850/1900 though.
post #9 of 17
edit: Reading comprehension error.
Edited by SolipsismX - 3/26/13 at 4:45pm

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post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

In no way is this simply resolved with calibration. It's missing HW, period.

See the class 2 permissive change letter in the latest article. Straight from the words of Apple
Quote:
The change filed under this application is:
Change #1 – Adding UMTS Band IV (1700 MHz)
The addition of this UMTS band does not require any hardware changes to the approved
device.

The architecture of Qualcomm's RF transceivers is that it doesn't care what signal goes out over what port. And if you read the spec sheets for the power amps Apple used, the Avago band IV LTE module already supported UMTS.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by konqerror View Post

See the class 2 permissive change letter in the latest article. Straight from the words of Apple
The architecture of Qualcomm's RF transceivers is that it doesn't care what signal goes out over what port. And if you read the spec sheets for the power amps Apple used, the Avago band IV LTE module already supported UMTS.

I just read that on AnandTech. So they did include the proper HW with the original iPhone 5 despite not having it active. Mea culpa on that point, but it's not correct to think that all operating bands are just "tuning" like you would a car radio, which is commonly assumed, hence my reply to you. There is specific HW that needs to be added to support that feature if you do plan to use it.


PS: This is not the first time Apple has done something like this. I think it was the iPhone 4 in 2010 that had a 5th operating band that was tested by the FCC but they never mentioned it on their site. It was one for Japan's largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo, which I still don't think they have contract with.
Edited by SolipsismX - 3/26/13 at 5:00pm

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post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

PS: This is not the first time Apple has done something like this. I think it was the iPhone 4 in 2010 that had a 5th operating band that was tested by the FCC but they never mentioned it on their site. It was one for Japan's largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo, which I still don't think they have contract with.

That was the Japanese 850 band, which is a strict subset of the US 850 band, so unlike this case, there were absolutely no changes necessary to anything. I remember RIM did the same thing, they just edited their marketing materials.
post #13 of 17

What exactly does AWS do over non-AWS? Wikipedia is rather vague about what exactly is it.

post #14 of 17
Damn, I renewed wife's contract with Verizon in December 1frown.gif Epic fail. Could have her on my network.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unicron View Post

What exactly does AWS do over non-AWS? Wikipedia is rather vague about what exactly is it.

it's just a specific radio spectrum that has a common name. Most don't but AWS does. I think Wikipedia explains why. Think of it how the UHF spectrum has a common name. It's just easier than saying UMTS-DD Operating Band IV.

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

 

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post #16 of 17
Is there any chance of someone being able to install the radio firmware from the new T-Mobile iPhone 5 in other unlocked iPhones? I apologize if I sound like an idiot, I am just curious if it is plausible.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaNnYElLoCO View Post

Is there any chance of someone being able to install the radio firmware from the new T-Mobile iPhone 5 in other unlocked iPhones? I apologize if I sound like an idiot, I am just curious if it is plausible.

It's the same HW so I don't see why it's not possible but baseband firmware isn't the same as doing a firmware update on a PC. I think it's up to the JB community to figure out.

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

 

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