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T-Mobile Woos Unlocked iPhone Owners
Though They Won't Offer Latest LTE Version
by Karl Bode 06:34PM Tuesday Sep 04 2012
While it looks like T-Mobile won't be getting the new iPhone when it launches later this month, the carriers has been deploying HSPA+ in the 1900 MHz band so unlocked iPhones can use their faster network, and they also hope that their recently announced return to unlimited data can also help differentiate the carrier. Now it appears that T-Mobile is ramping up their marketing pitches to unlocked iPhone owners, telling them that if they come into T-Mobile stores and switch to the carrier from AT&T, thanks to unlimited data they have the potential to save up to $1,500 during the life of a two year contract. It remains unclear if this sales pitch to unlocked iPhone owners will help what have been very sluggish postpaid subscriber numbers for T-Mobile.

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mmay149q
Premium
join:2009-03-05
Dallas, TX
kudos:48

Question is though

How long with T-Mobile offer "truly unlimited"? Will this just be a 1 year thing like Verizon did before they locked it down to caps and overages? Only time will tell...

Matt
--
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Question is though

If anyone has the network to do it, it's T-Mobile. It's very modern, has densely spaced sites, and relatively few users. The problem is still that as soon as you leave the city, you've basically go nothing, whereas AT&T and Verizon are still chugging along.

whfsdude
Premium
join:2003-04-05
Washington, DC
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: Question is though

said by BiggA:

The problem is still that as soon as you leave the city, you've basically go nothing, whereas AT&T and Verizon are still chugging along.

That's definitely a consideration but for me I would prefer a really good network 90% of the year and I can survive with EDGE the other 10%. Considering most of the US population lives in urban areas, there is a viable business model for this.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Question is though

I'd rather have service when I travel- that's the time that mobile data is the most useful...

Metatron2008
Premium
join:2008-09-02
united state
You mean Verizon is still chugging along. If you leave the city with At&t you either get edge or nothing.

mmay149q
Premium
join:2009-03-05
Dallas, TX
kudos:48

Re: Question is though

said by Metatron2008:

You mean Verizon is still chugging along. If you leave the city with At&t you either get edge or nothing.

So true, I've actually seen it in action, told the person they should get VZW and showed them the full signal on my phone.

Matt
--
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein

Metatron2008
Premium
join:2008-09-02
united state

Re: Question is though

said by mmay149q:

said by Metatron2008:

You mean Verizon is still chugging along. If you leave the city with At&t you either get edge or nothing.

So true, I've actually seen it in action, told the person they should get VZW and showed them the full signal on my phone.

Matt

I currently have a galaxy s3 (upgraded from a 4s) on at&t and a droid charge on verizon, so I've seen it myself too

mmay149q
Premium
join:2009-03-05
Dallas, TX
kudos:48

Re: Question is though

said by Metatron2008:

said by mmay149q:

said by Metatron2008:

You mean Verizon is still chugging along. If you leave the city with At&t you either get edge or nothing.

So true, I've actually seen it in action, told the person they should get VZW and showed them the full signal on my phone.

Matt

I currently have a galaxy s3 (upgraded from a 4s) on at&t and a droid charge on verizon, so I've seen it myself too

High five me bro, I'm rockin' the S3 as well on VZW

Matt
--
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein

whfsdude
Premium
join:2003-04-05
Washington, DC
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by mmay149q:

How long with T-Mobile offer "truly unlimited"? Will this just be a 1 year thing like Verizon did before they locked it down to caps and overages? Only time will tell...

I'm on a grandfathered unlimited plan and doing anywhere from 50 - 200 gigs a month. I've been doing this for years now without a peep.

JigglyWiggly

join:2009-07-12
Pleasanton, CA

1 recommendation

Re: Question is though

you used 2 terabytes in a thread in the comcast seciton
what are you doing
seeding child pr0n?

DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000

2 recommendations

Re: Question is though

I've found the first to accuse without basis are the most guilty.

It's almost as predictable as gravity.

mmay149q
Premium
join:2009-03-05
Dallas, TX
kudos:48

2 recommendations

said by whfsdude:

said by mmay149q:

How long with T-Mobile offer "truly unlimited"? Will this just be a 1 year thing like Verizon did before they locked it down to caps and overages? Only time will tell...

I'm on a grandfathered unlimited plan and doing anywhere from 50 - 200 gigs a month. I've been doing this for years now without a peep.

I can understand 50 gigs over "4G" but 200? WTF are you doing? Downloading every pr0n you can find?!

Matt
--
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein

whfsdude
Premium
join:2003-04-05
Washington, DC
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit

Re: Question is though

said by mmay149q:

I can understand 50 gigs over "4G" but 200? WTF are you doing? Downloading every pr0n you can find?!

I feel like that would be more than 200 gigs.

Streaming music (FLAC) via my Subsonic server. Some light tethering. I have a CLEAR data stick so tethering is rare. Lots of podcasts. I would HDMI out to a monitor and watch well I fell asleep. I also streamed TWiT live fairly frequently.

Screenshot of the data counter (last month it worked for my plan): »willscorner.net/tmp/3g_bragging_rights.png

mmay149q
Premium
join:2009-03-05
Dallas, TX
kudos:48

Re: Question is though

Wow, I will applaud you, most I've ever done is 30GB's, and that was on my 1st ever LTE phone from VZW (Unlimited grandfathered, and every time I go in they want to take it away >:O) -bows-

Matt
--
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein
ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ
Reviews:
·voip.ms
·CenturyLink
I have "unlimited" data now, "unlimited" up to 5Gb. It's too slow to ever use that much though. Are they saying that 3G iPhones will be able to get 3G on the 1900Mhz network? I kind of doubt that will work since my 4G Samsung Exhibit II can't get 3G on 1900Mhz now and it was sold for use on T-Mobile!

Bahamut X
Premium
join:2000-12-09
Fort Worth, TX

3 edits

Re: Question is though

said by ArizonaSteve:

I kind of doubt that will work since my 4G Samsung Exhibit II can't get 3G on 1900Mhz now and it was sold for use on T-Mobile!

Maybe because at the time they didn't have the refarm of the 2G spectrum in place, so all the 3G/4G connections were AWS based?

I could blow 5 GB out of the water on occasion... hell, 2 GB only lasts a couple of hours if Charter goes out... :\ All on a device that's HSPA... so none of the really fancy modifiers like +21 or +48.. you know, high speed phones.

In regards to your unlimited comment... perchance, recall the story posted recently here. Seems like you can choose now between 5GB limits (but unlimited transfer, just not all at the maximum speeds your phone can go) and the ability to tether, or no tethering, and the ability to go absolutely nuts with data usage...
--
I work at T-Mobile. I play games and enjoy time off of work. I've been a member here longer than I've worked there. I have my own opinions, they do not hold anything to T-Mobile USA, etc etc etc...
clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
I have seen people post about this before, and I think many readers are very confused. For simplicity's sake, let's use the proper terminology for the network technology here. There are currently 3 GSM network types available:

1. Original 2G GSM which includes GPRS and EDGE data standards. T-Mobile runs a GSM/GPRS/EDGE network in the PCS 1900MHz band. It uses a TDMA-based air interface.

2. 3G GSM. This is actually called UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System). This includes HSDPA/HSUPA (which combine to form "HSPA"), and HSPA+21, HSPA+42, and HSPA+84 data standards. T-Mobile currently runs a UMTS/HSPA network, which in many areas is upgraded to HSPA+ (21, 42, etc.) in the AWS 1700/2100MHz band. It uses a Wideband (5MHz channel) CDMA air interface called, wait for it, WCDMA.

AT&T runs one of these networks, too, and they also call it 4G (even though it's a 3G network at heart). It runs in the 850MHz Cellular and 1900MHz PCS bands. This is important, as every iPhone ever made is designed with 850/1900 in mind for AT&T users. This is why T-Mo is starting to offer *limited* UMTS service on the 1900MHz band, so they will be compatible with the other large UMTS carrier in the United States.

3. 4G LTE. This is the "Long Term Evolution" network. Completely IP-based. Includes the LTE Advanced standard. T-Mobile does not have one of these, yet. Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint currently have live LTE networks in the United States.

T-Mobile's 3G and 4G service are exactly the same service/network/cell sites, etc. The "4G" service is just a term their marketing department is using to describe their HSPA+network. HSPA+ is just software revision of their original 3G standard. So if your phone is compatible with T-Mobile 4G, it is also compatible with T-Mobile 3G.

So, why would you even want 3G on 1900MHz (PCS), when you are already getting it on 1700/2100MHz (AWS)?

Iin T-Mobile world, if you have any UMTS/WCDMA based service (short of the very few cities currently offering UMTS on PCS), from standard UMTS data/voice all the way up to HSPA+42, you are using the same network and towers as every other T-Mobile 3G/4G user.

All that being said, I don't believe T-Mobile is decomissioning any UMTS-based services in the AWS band as of yet. Considering 100% of their installed userbase (that is not still using a GSM-only handset) is currently using UMTS in the AWS band.

Bahamut X
Premium
join:2000-12-09
Fort Worth, TX

Re: Question is though

said by clone:

So, why would you even want 3G on 1900MHz (PCS), when you are already getting it on 1700/2100MHz (AWS)?

A) International telephones/the iPhone.

Take any Eurospec phone (International Galaxy devices pre-GS3, HTC devices) or an iPhone, and since the T-Mobile AWS frequencies are typically not supported on these phones. Opening up the 1900 MHz freq. to greater than EDGE speeds means these phones can/will work to their full capacity.

B) The LTE rollover.

Almost all of the newer T-Mobile phones released actually do support both AWS and PCS 3G/4G frequencies. It is easier for customer usage to upgrade the GSM network finally instead of building into the AWS frequencies. This permits new phones to continue using their fully capable high speed radios whilst giving the ability for T-Mobile to free up the AWS spectrum for LTE deployment. Just have to look at those customers still using older GSM telephones and potentially upgrading them to something... newer.

3) Penetration:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't 1900 MHz spectrum give "marginally" better building penetration than a 2100 MHz spectrum buildout?
--
I work at T-Mobile. I play games and enjoy time off of work. I've been a member here longer than I've worked there. I have my own opinions, they do not hold anything to T-Mobile USA, etc etc etc...
clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US

Re: Question is though

I was just referring to the OP, who was concerned that his T-Mobile branded AWS compatible phone won't work on PCS 3G/4G. There is no reason to be concerned about 1900MHz UMTS on a phone that will probably be an artifact by the time AWS is deprecated.

I realize there are huge benefits to using compatible frequencies both for handset availability/cost and roaming, etc, and that the AWS spectrum will eventually be re-farmed for LTE. T-Mo's spectrum plan is a good one, I just wonder why some people are so concerned about it.

As for penetration, the base station-to-handset channels in the current AWS spectrum should theoretically provide better in-building coverage than PCS, while the handset-to-base station channels are theoretically worse. In everyday use, I don't see much difference between AWS and PCS.
ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ
Reviews:
·voip.ms
·CenturyLink
Clone said: "T-Mobile's 3G and 4G service are exactly the same service/network/cell sites, etc. The "4G" service is just a term their marketing department is using to describe their HSPA+network. HSPA+ is just software revision of their original 3G standard. So if your phone is compatible with T-Mobile 4G, it is also compatible with T-Mobile 3G."
That seems to be a myth a lot of people are spreading but is Absolutely NOT TRUE! Use the OpenSignalMaps site or the Android app and you can see the different locations of 3G and 4G towers.
In the Phoenix area 3G and 4G are on different towers even though both are on 1700Mhz and 4G is only available near T-Mobile stores while 3G is not! 3G uses HSPA+ while 4G uses WCDMA. There are 6-7 2G and 3G towers around me but only 1 4G tower about 2 miles away so it's too weak to pickup. Note that OpenSignalMaps says T-Mobile 4G is 3.5G.
My 4G Samsung Exhibit II gets only 4G with WCDMA and CANNOT get 3G using HSPA+ even though they are both on 1700Mhz. Yes, I know they are similar protocols but certainly not interchangeable.
clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US

Re: Question is though

Please, do some research before you make yourself sound any more uninformed. Not to get into a pissing match, but trust me. I know what I'm talking about.

UMTS, Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (link)

Specifically, see the releases at the bottom. HSPA+ is the name of a revision of the data protocol. WCDMA is the air interface that protocol (and all of the UMTS family protocols) use.

Pro Tip: OpenSignalMaps data is garbage. I can force my phone to "GSM ONLY" mode (or have a European Android phone that has no USA 3G bands on it), then be the only person who has reported signal from a given cell site. Now, according to OpenSignalMaps, that is a "2G" tower, even if in reality the site is also an HSPA+84 site. (Just an example of how the data can be skewed.)

If your phone shows that you are getting "4G", that is 3G HSPA+. Marketing departments have utterly confused you (and most consumers).

Bahamut X
Premium
join:2000-12-09
Fort Worth, TX
said by ArizonaSteve:

Use the OpenSignalMaps site or the Android app and you can see the different locations of 3G and 4G towers.

If I use that site sitting at home... or work... or any other place I happen to travel west of downtown Fort Worth, then by THEIR site, I should have 0 signal. Nothing at all, be it 2G or 3G based services (UMTS, HSPA of any flavor, et al).

I'll sit here and believe my phone and my tablet, which is telling me that it has access to HSPA based speeds, over a 3rd party site that tells me I should have nothing at all...

Or better yet, the T-Mobile engineering map (which the link is liberally posted around here), which also shows I should be able to max out whichever device I have sitting around me.

@clone: This gentleman (ArizonaSteve) has had many times been shown how his information can be... flawed, but yet, continues to state that somehow his UMTS based device can only get "4G" service, can fall back to EDGE, but cannot somehow access "3G" towers, despite the fact that both the marketing "4G" and the factual "3G" are the same thing. One example can be found here where, once facts started coming out, esp comparing frequency bands on various phones, he kinda... disappeared.

Facts are facts. Marketing says the new stuff is "4G" (although true 4G comes next year... wonder how they'll spin it, even though it's just 3G with a supercharger attached), but it all uses the same base UMTS setup on the AWS spectrum (and soon PCS spectrum). There is no differing "3G" and "4G" towers, though it could be possible a tower has not been upgraded from 7.2 mb/s standard to the newer HSPA+ standard, but even then, the phone would still show potentially only a "4G" signal (unless rooted, then Cyanogen might show either "H" or "3G", I've seen both on my rooted Galaxy S2).
--
I work at T-Mobile. I play games and enjoy time off of work. I've been a member here longer than I've worked there. I have my own opinions, they do not hold anything to T-Mobile USA, etc etc etc...
WhyMe420
Premium
join:2009-04-06
kudos:1
said by ArizonaSteve:

I have "unlimited" data now, "unlimited" up to 5Gb. It's too slow to ever use that much though. Are they saying that 3G iPhones will be able to get 3G on the 1900Mhz network? I kind of doubt that will work since my 4G Samsung Exhibit II can't get 3G on 1900Mhz now and it was sold for use on T-Mobile!

I have a factory unlocked 4S on T-Mobile and I get full strength 3G ("4G") in my house!

3G covers a good bit of the city but a lot of EDGE when I go too far out... Covers a good 90% of areas on my daily commute...

Here's my post at T-Mo forum :-

»support.t-mobile.com/message/175790#175790

Lone Wolf
Retired
Premium
join:2001-12-30
USA
kudos:1

Neglected

TMo says you can save up to $1,500 during the life of a two year contract if you switch to them with an unlocked phone. They neglected to say that if you switch from any postpaid carrier, including themselves, to a prepaid carrier you can save big bucks. I figure I saved over $1600 in the past 2 years by using an unlocked phone and prepaid service.

Hopefully, someday the USA carriers will ditch the CDMA technology and join the rest of the world with GSM (which has about 75% of the world's phones). Then you will be able to use any phone with any carrier.
--
»www.teamovercome.net/
»www.galaxynexusforum.com/

tiger72
SexaT duorP
Premium
join:2001-03-28
Saint Louis, MO
kudos:1

Re: Neglected

They offer some dirt cheap prepaid plans already. They advertise those as well.

»prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/monthly-4g-plans

$30/mo for 5GB data, unlimited text, and 100min
That's $720 for TWO years.

The lowest plan on ATT to offer 5GB of data and unlimited texting comes with 450 minutes (which I don't use) for $110/mo.
That's $2640 for two years.
Even if I went down to 3GB/mo, that would be $2160 for two years.

That means I save from $1440 to $1920 over two years.

Lordy me. That's a down payment on a nice car.

My Galaxy Nexus is on ATT right now, but i'll be back to (reliable) T-Mobile quite soon.
--
"What makes us omniscient? Have we a record of omniscience? ...If we can't persuade nations with comparable values of the merit of our cause, we'd better reexamine our reasoning."
-United States Secretary of Defense (1961-1968) Robert S. McNamara
clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
said by Lone Wolf:

Hopefully, someday the USA carriers will ditch the CDMA technology and join the rest of the world with GSM (which has about 75% of the world's phones). Then you will be able to use any phone with any carrier.

This line is getting tired. Which major USA CDMA carrier isn't currently in the middle of a transition to the GSM standard? LTE is 4G GSM, and Verizon, Sprint, and US Cellular are all in the process of rolling LTE.

RARPSL

join:1999-12-08
Suffern, NY

Will They Support the Apple Unlocked iPhone 5?

Apple directly sells the unsubsidized iPhone unlocked. If I were to buy one, would T-Mobile support it like an unlocked AT&T iPhone?
TechWhiz

join:2004-10-30
Phoenix, AZ

Re: Will They Support the Apple Unlocked iPhone 5?

If they can provide a nano-SIM or you can cut it to fit, I wouldn't see why not. Depends on what you mean by "support", though.

djdanska
Rudie32
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
San Diego, CA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Cox HSI

Re: Will They Support the Apple Unlocked iPhone 5?

T-Mobile has had "unofficial" apple support for a while now. (They have over a million iphones on their network now) Including it's own department. It's unofficial as in apple doesn't approve. Other than sim unlock, they will help you setup your own iphone now. No reason why they wouldn't for the iphone 5.
--
The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult. The day he forgives himself, he becomes wise.
Alden Nowlan

djdanska
Rudie32
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
San Diego, CA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Cox HSI

1 recommendation

Good options, but buyer beware.

This is good news, and for many people t-mobile works for them. Yes, they are not for everybody. But if it works, then you can save a bundle.

Check here for 4g coverage. (Yes, its aws coverage but it will give you an idea. They plan more announcements soon regarding iphone coverage)
»maps.eng.t-mobile.com/pcc-retail-default.php
--
The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult. The day he forgives himself, he becomes wise.
Alden Nowlan

dzl18

@lingtontelecom.net

can't wait for 1900mhz tmo hspa

please come to Burlington VT TMO!

$40/mo TMO 42mbit HSPA and a local municipal fiber provider...a match made in heaven

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1

3 edits

Good idea, but won't do anything for postpaid.

The article mentions wondering if this move to advertise to unlocked iphones users will help postpaid subscriptions, but it obviously won't. If you already have an unlocked phone, why would you sign up for a postpaid account when the unlimited prepaid is $20 cheaper for the same plan.

My Mistake, just found out you still do need to sign the 2 year contract to get unlimited data on the value plan, but it's still $70

Still I think the move to support 1900 Mhz and unlimited data is a great idea for t-mobile, they may just get me to switch to t-mobile prepaid, not for the iphone, but because with 1900Mhz support they really open up the range of Android phones I can use on t-mobile and t-mobile has good coverage in NJ.

linicx
Caveat Emptor
Premium
join:2002-12-03
United State
Reviews:
·TracFone Wireless
·CenturyLink

CDMA

Two of us traveled from IL to OK and back (1000 me) with three cell phones: AT&T GSM, VZN iPhone, and Sprint CDMA.
Sprint and VZN worked all the way down. iPhone worked all the way down. AT&T in most communities but not in-between. My cousin used my Sprint most of the time and played games on iPhone. It was the same thing returning except when we stopped at Rolla, MO., a small college town. Only AT&T worked.

Sprint and VZN roam on each others CDMA towers - although VZN claims they own the towers. Without roaming enabled Sprint doesn't work well outside of Chicago. in a US Cellular saturated state like IL. T-Mo doesn't work in USCellular either.

iPhone users have the same problem locked or not. The $30 Apple plan is what is unlimited: that's iTunes. Anything T-Mo provides is added cost -- at VZN. I paid $10 bucks for the same free 1000 messages Sprint charged $1. And tech support at Sprint that was 100,000 times, friendlier and more helpful at Sprint. I just dumped VZN. If I ever go back to a contract phone I'll go to Sprint. I would go to T-Mo too except it does not work well in rural America, either.
--
Mac: No windows, No Gates, Apple inside