Considering iPhone for T-Mobile

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by elguero, May 4, 2009.

  1. elguero macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2009
    Hello, I am considering an :apple: iPhone for T-mobile and was hoping some knowledgeable people could quickly comment or point me in the right direction on a few thoughts/questions I have.*

    Take the plunge? Or wait?
    Similar to the other thread, only for T-Mobile. I am currently not considering waiting until the new one gets unlocked because it will likely take time be prohibitively expensive for at least another year. My question is, what ideas do you have about how the price for the older version(s) will change once the new version is announced/released? Though I am ready to buy one today, I will gladly wait a few months if the market becomes saturated with mint.near mint (or new) 3Gs.

    2G or 3G?
    This is barely a question at this point. As I understand it, I can only get EDGE anyway, but I think the 3G may be worth it because the battery will work better as I do plan on using the phone for over a year (at least) and I'm more likely to find a 3G in mint condition. Do you need a data plan for the GPS to work?

    Internet connection
    I have read a few things about wifi working on a different frequency, but don't really understand it all. Will I have to change anything in my wireless home router for either model to work on wifi? If so, would I be out of luck if I try to connect at places like the office or library, where I can't change settings? Is it true that wifi works automatically at Starbucks? Finally, can you receive calls or messages while on wifi? This is important for deciding whether or not to sign up for a data plan.

    Unlocked? Jailbroken? Both? Neither?
    This is firstly a procurement question as there are (physical) stores I can go to get a second-hand &/or unlocked iPhone who claim a one-year warranty. If the prices are reasonable, would you recommend this over getting it online? My concern over the method of unlock leads me to the next question.
    As I understand it, there are different ways to unlock the phone: physical unlock or software unlock/jailbreak. Is this about right? For someone who isn't crazy over the apps (for now), is the Super SIM the best way to go? Is there something better? I would ideally like as little upkeep of the unlock as possible.
    Is there any reason to believe Apple (or other resellers) will continue to drop the price on no-contract iPhones in the run-up to the next version? If they drop it to $400 or below, only then would I consider buying it new and unlocking it myself. Is the Super SIM (if I understand it correctly) a way to keep the phone on warranty?


    *Just some background that I thought I'd add here without further cluttering the top of the post. I have been considering this for a while, but now that I need a new iPod (I definitely want the Touch) and because my family just renewed our T-Mobile Family Plan (which I do not pay for :cool:) a few weeks ago, I have never been this close to committing to the phone. What I am looking to do is spend about as much I would for new iPod Touch, only with the option of putting in my SIM and also using it to replace my crappy old phone.
  2. jdzialak macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2008
    i don't know about current prices. I bought a 2g in December, unlocked and jailbroken. I run it on tmo with no issues. wifi works fine, no changes necessary, but not for calls...just data.
    I recently upgraded the OS to the latest (at the time) 2.0 and chose not to Jailbreak again. The phone seems faster now.
    The phone was unlocked by the previous owner with pwnage tool, so upgrading to the new OS using itunes did not ruin the unlocked status.
    Not sure if it'll be that easy when 3.0 is available.

    Just do it!

  3. Abyssgh0st macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2009
    Don't wait, buy a 2G. The 3G won't work with T-Mobile, so don't waste your time.
  4. aok1975 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2009
    yes it will.
  5. elguero thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2009
    my concern with the 2G is that it has been almost a year since the last new ones were sold and I'm afraid they will be worn and have poor battery life before too long
    I don't particularly care that the 3G internet doesn't work on tmobile because I spend about half an hour on most days in non-wifi-connected areas
    ideally I would not even upgrade to the data plan as I can forseeably connect to wireless almost anytime I want

    thanks for the replies, keep them coming if you think you can answer anything in my first post!
  6. y0m0uth macrumors regular

    Dec 29, 2008
    the 3g internet wont work... but the 3g phone will work tho...
  7. Abyssgh0st macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2009
    I had poor wording, I was trying to say that the 3G SERVICE will not work. Just wanted to clarify.
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Some brief comments...

    - I think you're overestimating how quickly phones deteriorate -- an iPhone first generation isn't any more on its last legs than any other one year old phone... but if you can get an appropriate 3G iPhone, by all means....

    - The market's hardly likely to become "saturated," and if your dream is that you'll wait and have your pick of 16GB iPhone 3G's for $80 in mint condition, then you'll be waiting a long time.... Likewise on Apple offering you an iPhone untied to AT&T for less than $400.

    - No, GPS does not require a data plan.

    - No, Wifi doesn't work at a different frequency (unless you use something outlandish at home). As for Wifi at Starbucks, in order for it to work for free generally, you must do one of several things -- either pay for T-Mobile data services (in which it's included) or be an AT&T customer and pay for AT&T data services (likewise), or use a Starbucks card, in which case you can get free service too... It doesn't work automatically, though. You have to log in, at least with T-Mobile, using your T-Mo username and password.

    - You shouldn't have to modify your home WiFi setup.

    - Now, with respect to unlocking... as I understand it, no method is completely foolproof on the 3G -- even the methods using the TurboSIM or other special SIM cards need software changes to accommodate new versions of the firmware, don't they (because the 3G has revisions to its baseband still fairly regularly)? Anyway, though, if these places are providing you support on dealing with the SIM card, then by all means, go for that.
  9. actorkid macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2008
    You're in kind of a crappy situation. I'll answer your questions first then give my opinion.

    - I would buy now. iPhone 3G's with the updated carrier settings are not unlockable yet. You would need to get a new 3G from before the carrier update in order to unlock it (unless of course you want to pay the premium and import an unlocked iPhone from another country.) Your chances of finding an old enough 3G become slimmer each day. Any 2G is unlockable. So no problem there, as long as you can find one.

    - You seem set on the 3G, but honestly, in your situation I would go with the 2G. You'll be able to unlock any 2G. Plus the only advantages you'll get from the 3G is the GPS, and a slightly louder speaker. It's up to you to determine if those differences are worth it to you.

    - Wifi will work fine anywhere. Don't worry about that. You won't get free wifi at starbucks if you're on t-mobile. But you can pay for it and it will work. Wifi at starbucks is free only for AT&T customers. Yes you can receive calls while on wifi.

    - You're best bet is to jailbreak and unlock. Hardware unlock methods are kind of sketchy in my opinion.

    My opinion: You aren't going to be able to pull this off for the price of an iPod touch, so you might as well drop that thought now. Your options are as follows:

    Take the risk and purchase a user-unlocked iPhone 3G. These can be scams sometimes, so you'd have to be careful. Plus you would be paying a nice premium for such a service.

    Find a way to purchase an older 3G and unlock it yourself.

    Buy a 2G....I'm sure there are still some new 2Gs out there that are unused, or barely used. You really shouldn't worry about battery life. I still use my 2G. I've had it for over a year and a half and it still works just as well as the day I got it.

    Import an Apple-unlocked 3G from another country. You will be paying a HUGE premium for this, but it's probably the safest way to go about everything.

    No matter which method you choose, you're basically looking to spend at LEAST $285 unless you can find a sucker....

    I think you should go for the 2G, and unlock it yourself...Good luck!
  10. elguero thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2009

    thanks for the informative replies :)
    some people expect prices for 3Gs to drop as a lot more flood on the market, but still others expect the price to rise towards the price of the current non-contract phone
    I certainly hadn't heard about the newer 3Gs not being able to be unlocked (does this mean I can't unlock a new non-contract phone if I buy it at the :apple: Store?)
    this leads me to consider just buying an unlocked one at the store that sells them rather than risk getting it online and not being able to unlock it immediately
    I do assume that they will eventually be unlock-able, though

    I've decided to wait, just to see what happens with the hope that there might be more near-mint condition phones in my iPod Touch price range*

    you both make a good point about the 2G, which may be an even more attractive option if the 3G prices stay high, but my question shifts from the hardware to the software
    do you think the 2G will become dated with the 3.0 update? will it be able to take advantage of the new features moving forward?
    I plan on having the phone for between one and two years, so I'd hate to be left behind for the majority of that time
    I suppose we'll have to wait and see what the 3.0 offers over jailbreaking as well

    *let the record reflect that if none of this works out for me and I just get the Touch, I'd go for the 32G...for that price I'm willing to forgo the storage space if I can get a phone in almost-new condition
  11. phineasboggs macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2009
    I use the 3G for internet only / WiFi

    Interesting. I don't use the phone (the phone sucks IMO) and I onlyuse the 3G for the internet. (as I said previously, the iPhone is a terrible telephone IMO, so I use an old Motorola which is a great phone and lousy wifi) AND I use T-Mobile.
  12. phineasboggs macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2009
    I use WiFi via T-Mobile at Panera. It is automatic and I don't log-in. I DO, however, have the data plan.

    Abandon Starbucks and go to Panera. Better food. Better coffee. Better WiFi!

Share This Page