Do number of "LTE Bands" make a noticeable difference?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by stickybuns, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. stickybuns, Sep 13, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2014

    stickybuns macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    #1
    I wasn't planning to upgrade my 4S until Apple drops iOS support, but I'm moving to a neighborhood with *terrible* reception. The 4S functions somewhat OK on Verizon's network, but the other carriers have very spotty reception.

    I'm tired of paying a small fortune to Verizon and would love to switch to T-mobile. Apple's marketing for the 6 states, "iPhone 6 has up to 20 LTE bands. That’s seven more than iPhone 5s — which already had more than any other smartphone. That means iPhone users can connect to more high-speed LTE networks in more places. And when you’re traveling, more LTE bands help you benefit from the growing number of roaming agreements around the world." Would that provide enough of an improvement that I can switch to T-mobile?

    UPDATE: Decided to just stick with Verizon. My brother has T-mobile and is constantly dealing with dropped calls. I would have preferred getting a 5S because of the size, but the price is better for the 6 once you factor in the trade-in rebate. Hopefully I like.
     
  2. nickprete11 macrumors regular

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    Oct 5, 2012
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #2
    That will not make a difference. T-Mobile only uses a few different LTE bands for their network. What I would suggest is switching to T-Mobile (they pay off ETFs too) and get a signal booster, and use WiFi calling in the meantime. Also, give T-Mobile a test drive before you switch, it's worth it. Cheers! :D
     
  3. edlex macrumors 68000

    edlex

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    Miami
    #3
    Sprint is rolling out their Spark LTE service which is supposed to take advantage of a wider spectrum so I'm hoping it'll mean faster more reliable data.
     
  4. aziatiklover macrumors 68030

    aziatiklover

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  5. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    #5
    Bottom line is, the 6/6 Plus is set up such that a Verizon iPhone 6/Plus will work fine on T-mobile, as the LTE hardware between the two is the same.

    The "up to 20 bands" feature won't really make that much of a difference for most users, unless you're a user who travels a lot internationally and you want to take your iPhone everywhere you go, and use it.

    Oh, and it benefits Apple too, since they don't have to make as many different carrier-specific versions of the same generation iPhone.
     
  6. stickybuns thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 22, 2011
    #6
    Well, given that my 4S uses zero LTE bands, would being able to use the few that T-Mobile has make a difference? Mind you, I have no clue what a band is or how a band works. :) Are the extra bands just marketing hype or do they serve a purpose?

    OK, so if I want to test out T-mobile's network, any old LTE phone will work? I'll go pester my husband to unlock his Razr Maxx, so we can pop a t-mobile sim into it.

    Possibly dumb question: do they make signal boosters that work inside of one's car? New neighborhood, so I'll be relying on Siri for directions!
     
  7. stickybuns thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 22, 2011
    #7
    OK, so the number of bands would matter to me if I had an unlocked phone and planned to jump from carrier to carrier? But so long as I'm locked into *one* carrier, I am limited to whatever bands that carrier has available?

    What about roaming? I don't think I've ever needed to use roaming on Verizon, but I imagine it'll be necessary on T-mobile. Will the extra bands make roaming easier? Will I end up paying a small fortune if I have to roam all the time?
     
  8. macblitz macrumors member

    macblitz

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2014
    #8
    iphone6 does not make any difference for T-mobile compared to iphone 5s.
    verizon/at&t/tmobile are using the exact same model iphone6.

    iphone6 does make a difference for Sprint with improve spark signals. Sprint iphone6 is different model with different LTE bands than verizon/at&t/tmobile.

    Here are the details at apple website:
    https://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/
     
  9. kevink2 macrumors 65816

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    Nov 2, 2008
    #9
    This is where the test drive tmobile was mentioning back in August would come in handy. Have an iPhone sent to you on their dime. Use it for a week. If it works fine for you, order a new one of your own after this.

    Saves from signing up for service, and if it doesn't work out having to bother with transferring service someplace else.
     
  10. stickybuns thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 22, 2011
    #10
    I saw the Test Drive advertised on T-mobile's website, but the fine print says that the offer has expired and the link just takes me in a loop. :(
     
  11. macblitz macrumors member

    macblitz

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2014
    #11
    the tmobile 1 week test drive is great. I used it and returned the phone. No questions, no sales pitch, nothing.

    Tmobile worked great everywhere except my office buliding. Otherwise i would have went with them.
     
  12. Jwowbman macrumors member

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    Aug 29, 2014
    #12
    I know SPRINT is at the bottom but I think they have been putting a lot of work in to come back and I was all over the new deal for $50/month UNLIMITED data when SPRINT came out with that for the 6/6+

    Also...Im moving from a small area to a much larger market and any provider will do just fine out there so Im excited to see how great SPRINT is with all their upgrades
     
  13. nickprete11 macrumors regular

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    Oct 5, 2012
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #13
    Whatever you do, do NOT sign up for the Sprint "iPhone for Life" program. It's just as bad as an idea as a car lease. You are renting a phone, and that takes it to a whole new level. Financing is different than renting.

    ----------

    Works just fine. Here's the link: http://explore.t-mobile.com/test-drive-free-trial. Click start now, then input your address, then click next, then next, and finally the test drive phone will be added to your cart. :D
     
  14. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #14
    Exactly. IF the bands aren't used by the carrier, and you rarely or never go off-network, those extra bands *probably* won't benefit you.

    HOWEVER: If you unlock your phone, the extra bands will obviously add resale value to the phone if you decide to sell it off later. Also, if your carrier buys additional spectrum from the FCC or another carrier, or merges with another carrier, you might benefit too.

    Also: One thing that some LTE nerds are talking about is that the iPhone 6/Plus seem to lack LTE band 12 support. Some carriers have band 12 spectrum and plan on using it soon (T-Mobile being one), so this might be a concern. Though some are speculating that the support is there, it just has to be enabled by software update.

    In the US, casual roaming (where you pay extra charges) doesn't really exist as a concept anymore. Even with T-Mobile, a certain amount of roaming is allowed as part of your plan (excessive roaming over multiple months and they might cut you off entirely), and if the carrier in the roaming area doesn't have an agreement with your carrier for roaming, then you can't connect except for 911 calls. In such a case, you'd have to get a local SIM.
     
  15. kevink2 macrumors 65816

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    Nov 2, 2008
    #15
    I learned about it a little late before I made a trip out of state. If I had known, it would have been a good chance to check coverage on the road.

    Too late now. Renewed my ATT contract for the 6.
     

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