iPhone 4 coming to T-Mobile UK
T-Mobile USA to follow?
The iPhone 4 is coming to T-Mobile UK.
T-Mobile has not said when the Jobsian handset will arrive on its network, but the carrier is now advertising the thing on its website. UK carriers O2, Orange, and Vodafone have already said they will offer the phone on June 24, the same day it debuts in the US.
Meanwhile, at least one observer is now convinced that the iPhone will also be coming to T-Mobile USA. In the US, AT&T still has an exclusive on the Jobsian handset.
Wu cites no insider information or "persons familiar with the matter" — he's merely using that tool shunned by so many rumor-mongers: reason.
He notes that both #1 Verizon and #3 Sprint Nextell have CDMA-based networks, and the iPhone is a GSM/UMTS handset. #2 AT&T runs its 3G UMTS service in the 850MHz and 1900MHz bands; #4 T-Mobile USA's is at 1700MHz and 2100MHz. Both the iPhone 3GS and the new iPhone 4 support both 850MHz and 2100MHz UMTS.
Score one for T-Mobile USA in that Apple wouldn't have to make any modifications to the iPhone to enable it to run on #4's service, as it would for #1 and #3.
Another of Wu's arguments is less technical — namely, that the rising popularity of Android-based phones is edging Apple's bête noire du jour, Google, closer to market parity than Cupertino finds comfortable. One way to boost market share is to broaden the pool of prospective customers — and one analyst has said that US iPhone sales could more than double if Apple ended its exclusivity pact with AT&T and added Verizon as a carrier.
Although T-Mobile USA has only around 34 million subscribers compared with Verizon's 93 million, according to Wu, that's still a hefty slice of potential customers — notably where AT&T service is either absent or execrable. Then Apple could add Verizon to the mix after LTE service rolls out, and further distance itself from the marauding horde of Googlephones.
All mere speculation, to be sure, but worth pondering — and our thanks to Mr. Wu for getting us to Think Different™ about the end of AT&T's iPhone exclusivity in the US. The Reg tires of the endless stream of "Verizon to offer the iPhone" rumors — so much so that we didn't even bother to report this week's version.
In our considered opinion, the iPhone won't move to Verizon until LTE 4G broadband becomes widely available. If then. ®
Oh dear oh dear oh dear
When we say that "AT&T uses 850MHz and 1900MHz", we mean that there are two distinct bands it can use, each of which contains both the uplink and downlink. That is, "850Mhz" means that both the uplink and downlink are around "850MHz", and "1900MHz" means that both the uplink and downlink are near 1900MHz. Similarly, when we say "European networks use 2100Mhz", we mean that both the uplink and downlink are near 2100MHz. However, when we say "T-Mobile uses 1700Mhz and 2100MHz", we mean 1700Mhz for the uplink and 2100Mhz for the downlink. This is not two bands, it is one, but the uplink and downlink are a fair distance apart. The idiot of an analyst quoted in this article does not understand this, and because he has heard "2100" in both the description of the iPhone and of T-Mobile's network, he has assumed they are compatible, which they are not.
In my mind it is better to refer to T-Mobile's network as using the "AWS" band (as it is referred to by US regulators) as this avoids the confusion. I wouldn't actually say that T-Mobile's setup is all that weird - it's just different from the world outside the Americas. The AWS band has actually been allocated throughout most of the Americas (excluding Brazil, which has allocated bands mostly on the European model, as have a few places in the Carribean). There are or will shortly be networks using that band in Canada, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and more before long.
Now, Apple's new iPhone 4 works for 3G/UMTS on the 850Mhz, 900MHz, 1900Mhz, and 2100MHz bands. That is every band in the world on which UMTS has been deployed *except* the AWS network used by T-Mobile. I think from this we should conclude the precise opposite of what the idiot analyst said: that Apple does not intend to offer the iPhone on T-Mobile for at least the next year. Apple could probably have fairly easily added support for AWS/T-Mobile if it wanted to - Nokia has managed to produce a phone supporting all five bands for UMTS and I suspect if they can so can Apple, but for now Apple has not done this. I suspect the issues are legal: it is widely believed that Apple signed a contract giving AT&T exclusivity for five years. Contracts are renegotiated all the time, but this likely likely has not been, so we probably have two more years of AT&T exclusivity.
gave it a try
I forcibly unlocked my iphone last year to escape O2 and trial the various other networks. Unfortunately, I found T-Mobile to be almost as bad as O2 (in London) - and that was without any bandwidth-draining iphones on their network of course. Something might have changed since then, but I'd strongly suggest trying out each of the networks with a PAYG sim before you lock yourself into an 18 month nightmare.
Well as it stands T-Mobile offer the best data plans by far, so O2's plan to cripple them when T-Mobile is about to launch could be a big mistake. They've just opened them selves up to loose a lot of business and T-Mobile now has an excellent level of reception in a lot of places.
Are selling the factory unlocked iPhone4 in the UK, you can pre-order from today.
What's the big deal with getting a factory unlocked one? None of the iPhones on sale in the UK today are branded in any way by the carriers, so if you buy a PAYG one then pay to have it unlocked you get the same phone.
No, those ones don't need to be unlocked again when you upgrade the OS because the unlocking process is done via Apple though iTunes. You pay your unlock money to the carrier & they tell Apple to unlock the phone, then you get a text/email/whatever saying the phone is unlocked and you need to connect it to iTunes to complete the process. Job done.
T-Mobile USA <> T-Mobile UK
If by "won't be able to use it properly" you are referring to the earlier post about different bands for upload and download then you have got your wires crossed a bit - it is only T-Mobile USA that does that; T-Mobile UK use 3G in the normal way.
I agree with the posters further up the thread - it is always a good idea to try out the different networks first if you are planning to switch, and most offer free PAYG SIM's with which you can try. The iPhone coming to 3UK as well is good news I think - they have a pretty good network for data and have typically had quite competitive tariffs too; it will be interesting to see if we simply see carbon copy tariffs again this time around or whether there will actually be a bit more variation.