iPhone Apple-unlocked GSM iPhone 5 vs. 3rd-party-unlocked iPhone 5

Discussion in 'Jailbreaks and iOS Hacks' started by profinite, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. profinite macrumors member

    May 1, 2009
    As we see on this Apple's official page, GSM models of iPhone 5 are built to support LTE bands 1, 3, 4, 5, and 17.

    I called a local Apple Store to have a clarification on which LTE bands are supported on an Apple-unlocked GSM iPhone 5. I was told that the Apple-unlocked iPhone 5 sold in the U.S. supports only those LTE bands used by official domestic GSM carriers, that is, AT&T as of December 8, 2012.

    This means that the Apple-unlocked iPhone 5 does NOT support LTE bands 1, 3, and 5 used by carriers outside of the U.S.

    As I stated earlier, GSM models of iPhone 5 are built to support LTE bands 1, 3, 4, 5, and 17.
    So, if I was to purchase a GSM iPhone 5 that is carrier-locked to AT&T at a FULL price to avoid a 2-yr contract and have this AT&T iPhone 5 IMEI-unlocked by a 3rd-party vendor, would this unlocked iPhone 5 support ALL of the LTE bands 1, 3, 4, 5, and 17?
  2. labman macrumors 604


    Jun 9, 2009
    Mich near Detroit
    it would be the same as the factory unlocked no better no worse.
  3. profinite thread starter macrumors member

    May 1, 2009
    I see.

    In order to have as much LTE access as possible (GSM or CDMA) in and out of the U.S., would it therefore seem reasonable to obtain a Verizon iPhone 5 that has its GSM radio already unlocked per FCC mandate?

    It would then mean that I can be on the Verizon LTE in the U.S. on LTE bands 13 & 25 and a wider selection of GSM carriers with LTE bands 1,3, and 5 outside of the U.S.

    I have no experience with Verizon, except that I have heard Verizon is more reliable than AT&T in general terms. I also have no information on which LTE performs better, if any, AT&T or Verizon.
  4. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    Purchase the iphone version for the network you plan on using it most of the time.
    Not if and when and maybe will be compatible with LTE networks that you might use for a few days, temporary or never use at all.
  5. Mr Fusion macrumors 6502a

    Mr Fusion

    May 7, 2007
    What you're suggesting sounds like the best route to take. I'm also in your situation, (e.g. traveling to multiple countries and would like to take full advantage of LTE support.) I would talk to Verizon and ask them if their off-contract phone will do exactly what you want it to do. Let me know what they say!! :)

    I don't know whose bright idea it was to fragment LTE support, (either Apple trying to stop black market sales, or Apple caving to cellphone carriers who would rather lock people into their network), but once again we're stuck with a half@$$ implementation of something that could easily be a lot simpler. :rolleyes:
  6. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    are you gonna travel the world w/ that iPhone 5?
    If it just a couple of countries that you know you are going to be traveling back and forth you could check their bands and decide. Also, check because I think a CDMA one can't do AT&T LTE band for example.
    The unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.
  7. profinite thread starter macrumors member

    May 1, 2009
    For the past 13 months, I have used an Apple-unlocked iPhone 4S on AT&T. I believe I paid a bit over $900 for a 64GB model.

    Since I am a long-time AT&T customer, my unlimited data plan has been grandfathered into my current plan (Nation 450 with Rollover; unlimited text and web). With a discount through my work, my monthly total bill is $90, including tax and such.

    I just went to a Verizon Wireless website and found that their 2GB data plan for iPhone 5 costs around $110 a month when tax and such are added. Of course, Verizon off-contract iPhone 5 is expensive at $850 for a 64GB model.

    Cellular customers with unlimited data plans have a psychological hangup on the unlimited data plan because, once they change plans, they will lose the unlimited data plan for good. I, too, fall into this category. However, it appears in practice that typical cellular users' data usage rarely exceeds 2GB/month.

    As I travel around the world and stay for a month, say in Vienna, I cannot possibly ask local friends to reach me by dialing my U.S. phone number. Whether I use an AT&T's overseas data plan and roam or I purchase a local SIM, I would pay about $300–$500 for a month-long usage of the iPhone overseas. That's the reality, and cell phone companies always win in taking a LOT of your money.

    And, to use a local SIM, I will of course need an unlocked iPhone (GSM or CDMA).
  8. profinite thread starter macrumors member

    May 1, 2009
    A major draw to continuing with AT&T is, of course, my grandfathered unlimited data plan. It would in theory be awesome to be on 4G LTE without worrying about hitting a data cap.

    What I would give up in exchange is, of course, GSM LTE access outside of the U.S., particularly Europe. It's a biggie.

    Given that the iPhone 5 has electronics inside to support all of LTE bands 1,3, 4, 5, and 17, I truly wish there was a 3rd-party vendor who could activate LTE on all bands.

    Why has a solution not surfaced yet?
  9. scoiattolo49 macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2009

    In most European Countries, you can buy aand use a local sim, with a reasonable amount of data (1-2GB a month) for FAR LESS.
    You will not spend more then 30-50 a month in most of Europe for the aforementioned amount of data. Just you need an unlocked GSM phone (CDMA is only used in North America and a few Countries in Asia).

    Also bear in mind that LTE as of now, is more a promise then e reality. Most European Countries are starting to implement it now and so far the coverage is limited to a few areas in major cities.
  10. profinite thread starter macrumors member

    May 1, 2009
    Thank you so much, scoiattolo49, for the information.

    You are right that 4G LTE in Europe is more of a promise now. :cool:
  11. jonslider macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2010
    > It would in theory be awesome to be on 4G LTE without worrying about hitting a data cap.

    I have ATT grandfathered unlimited Data. After about 3 hours of watching videos, I consumed the entire 5 gigabytes that my "unlimited ATT data plan" provides. After that, they throttled me, for the rest of my billing cycle.

    I get about 6mps on ATT 4G. After they throttled me, I got .5, yes 1/2 of 1 mps. That means after 5 gig, my speed dropped from 4g to Edge.. like being on Tmobile unlimited...
  12. profinite thread starter macrumors member

    May 1, 2009
    jonslider: I think that it is great that you marched up to 5GB without really worrying about overage. That's big. It's also good that the throttled period lasts only to the end of the billing cycle.

    You see, my hope is this. If I stay with AT&T and wait until a Jailbreak is complete for the GSM iPhone 5, I will continue to use tricks such as Personal Hotspot from Cydia as I travel in the U.S. with a laptop.

    Hotel Wi-Fi is notoriously slow though free most of the time. And, I will be able to get my work done on the laptop much quicker being on 4G LTE through the iPhone 5.

    That's the idea. But, we just don't know how long we wait for the iPhone Jailbreak.
  13. rabidz7 macrumors 65816


    Jun 24, 2012
    IMEI unlock not rider/ gevey sim

    You can IMEI unlock your iPhone to have an overseas sim.

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