Return AT&T GSM Unlocked for T-Mobile AWSUnlocked?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by 9th Wonder, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. 9th Wonder macrumors member

    9th Wonder

    Mar 24, 2013
    Wow, this has come off as a surprise. Currently, I have the AT&T GSM unlocked iPhone 5, and I still have about two weeks to return the phone. Should I return it and get the tweaked T-mobile AWS supported version or keep it? I'm around the San Francisco Bay Area if anyone needs to know and the closest Apple store is 20-30 minutes.

    Current network: T-Mobile

    Any suggestions/comments would be appreciated!
  2. thadoggfather macrumors G4


    Oct 1, 2007
    If you're current network is T-Mobile, no brainer. Don't you want that LTE?

    Otherwise you're limited to stinky EDGE and if you're lucky, re-farmed AT&T 3G.

    Just hold onto it for a bit longer to minimize downtime between models though.

    Seems like you'd save too, since AWS Unlocked will be $579 instead of $649.

    Only snag would be if you're interested in jailbreak, it'll be a while/maybe forever until T-Mo version gets it since it will ship with at least iOS 6.1.3 if not a later version.
  3. rockitdog macrumors 68020

    Mar 25, 2013
    Depends if you are in a good 3G zone. I live just outside of a major city so my 3G coverage is great at times but also leaves me on Edge when I'm at home. The new AWS TMO iPhone 5 will give me the extended 3G coverage and will really keep me having the HSPA+ speeds that I haven't been able to get now.

    I think its worth it- a nice selling point later too should you choose to sell your iPhone down the road.
  4. barkomatic macrumors 601

    Aug 8, 2008
    Definitely exchange it if you intend to stay on T-mobile.
  5. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    A1428 model pre and post April 12 2013 are exact same iPhones except apple "enabled" the 1700 WCDMA function in the firmware.

    Apple is being apple again by not enabling A1428 ATT iPhone sold from Sept 2012-April 12 2013 in the firmware.

    Same exact hardware.
  6. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    The answer is pretty clear to any intelligent person. Geez.
  7. onthecouchagain macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    I'm in the same exact position. Even though the "Tmobile" version, as I've been dubbing it, only grants you a difference of HSPA (21 Mbs downloads) versus HSPA+ (42 Mbs download), I think it's worth it.

    If you're within your grace period, why the heck not?

    You'll also get HD voice calling, too.

    Your current unlocked iPhone 5 will run LTE after Apple releases a firmware update. It's only a difference of HSPA and HSPA+ (and HD voice calls). Worth it if it's within your bounds to get it changed for free.
  8. upnorth85 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2011
    MN, USA
    As I see it, unless you live in the downtown areas of refarmed areas, the current AT&T compatible iPhone 5 is a poor choice for use on T-mobile. T-mobiles AWS coverage on 1700/2100 covers 96% of the US population and is very good. Their refarmed 1900 Mhz PCS coverage is too sparse and is good only in high population density areas. So while you will get 3G and LTE on the current version, the newer one gives you the best of two worlds. You get the full AWS coverage and the PCS/LTE. The only thing I will miss is the fantastic Wi-Fi calling that T-mobile has on their Android and Blackberry devices. But for that, when ever I travel overseas, I plan to put my SIM back in to my SGS2 and use the iPhone 5 on the local SIM for local calls while using the hotel Wi-Fi to make and receive calls on my SGS2.

    I will be gifting my current iPhone 5 to my mother in -law on 12th April and when the 5S comes out, my missy has agreed to take my T-mobile iPhone 5. I can't wait for the T-mobile iPhone 5. I have been thoroughly disillusioned by the horrible PCS coverage in my town and had retired my iPhone 5 since end of December. So it will exciting going back to the iOs environment. I use MacBook Air, iPad etc and miss the smoothness of the iPhone swype.
  9. bidwalj macrumors 65816

    Feb 16, 2007
    Isn't it a bit cheaper from tmobile anyway? Doesn't make sense not to do it. You aren't losing anything but gaining.
  10. iPhonesandMacs macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2012
    You're wrong. The 4G LTE will work, However the "4G" HSPA+ 42 will not
  11. sundog925 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 19, 2011
    software doent affect what bands the phone accepts, hardware does. how would apple modify the hardware of every iphone 5 since Sept? no sense.
  12. Chocolatemilty macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Without a doubt, return it. Getting AWS HSPA+42 for free is important on T-Mobile. Take it back on April 4th to receive your credit or cash back, and preorder on April 5. You'll have a week of no iPhone (I hope you have a spare phone!), but that's a small price to pay to get AWS HSPA+ for free!
  13. 9th Wonder thread starter macrumors member

    9th Wonder

    Mar 24, 2013
    A man once told me to never stop asking questions. What exactly am I "losing" by making this thread? :rolleyes: Is it really that useless to hear the opinion of those in a similar situation as I am?

    Note, I did state that the closest Apple store was 20-30 minutes away. I'm extremely booked for the next month, so I may or may not have the time to go to the Apple store to return it. It all depends on whether I have any openings in my schedule.

    I would like to thank those for staying on topic. Your comments have greatly helped me understand the entire T-mobile situation for the iPhone 5.
  14. ffsjhcxa macrumors newbie

    Mar 27, 2013
    The only thing I will miss is the fantastic Wi-Fi calling that T-mobile has on their Android and Blackberry devices.[​IMG]
  15. AFDoc, Mar 27, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013

    AFDoc macrumors 68030

    Jun 29, 2012
    Colorado Springs USA for now
    Do you really need any one here to tell you to return a phone that is not optimized for your network.... a phone you say you can return without issue, and buy one that is optimized for your network? Really? Sorry but if YOU can't make that decision on your own, which iPhone to buy is the very, very least of your problems.

    Yeah, think we found the problem.
    Because it's your money, your plan, your life and you have 2 choices. Return the phone and get the new one or not. Maybe it's time to start making some decisions on your own? You will only get one of those 2 answers why rely on others to make that very very simple decision for you especially as it appears we have already received a few different answers, ones that are not correct related to the "new" t-mo i5. Just a thought.

    PLUS there is debate on if you can update it to use on t-mo, as you clearly say it's a "factory unlocked" i5, why return it when you can simply update it? OH NO another decision you need to make!! Better start a new thread.
  16. Ann P macrumors 68020

    Jun 29, 2009
    Jesus christ, why the hostility? What did this person do to you? :O
  17. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    Read the link I posted. The hardware is the same. Read it before making your statement.


    Its like the Nexus 4 shipped always supported LTE band 4 but Google/LG refuse to officially enabled it.

    Same with WCDMA 1700 on iPhone 5. Apple is just choosing to "enable" 1700 on iPhones purchased after April 12th.
  18. osofast240sx macrumors 68030


    Mar 25, 2011
    Old 1428 supports LTE bands 4 & 17
    New 1428 supports LTE bands 2,4,5, & 17
  19. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    That's not the debate.

    People are more concerned about getting WCDMA 1700/2100 AWS 3G/fake 4g on the old A1428 model as opposed the new A1428 model

    Apple has chosen not to "enable" the firmware to support the 1700 WCDMA/UMTS chip.

    The hardware supports it. Just apple being apple
  20. osofast240sx macrumors 68030


    Mar 25, 2011
    there must have been some legal issue between AT&T and apple.
  21. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    Must be. The more I think about it. ATT wants to make it as difficult as possible for current iPhone 5 users (or less attractive) to cancel their ATT contract and move their current iPhone 5 over to tmobile.

    What better way than having Apple not enable 1700 WCDMA 3G band which at this time is more useful to potential tmobile users.

    Even with the 1900 reframe. Most unlocked iPhone 5 in non tmobile lte areas are stuck with EDGE speeds. Exactly what ATT wants to prevent current contract holders from leaving.

    Of course all iPhone 5 A1428 including ATT and tmobile shipping April 12th will have full AWS WCDMA/HSPA access. But those are new phone owners.
  22. osofast240sx macrumors 68030


    Mar 25, 2011
    ATT will not go down quietly.
  23. rockitdog macrumors 68020

    Mar 25, 2013
    There's more to it than that. The AWS iphone will extend the 3G range of the iPhone 5. I live in a sub of Minneapolis and literally live one street over from where the 3G coverage ends and sends me to Edge. The AWS will give me the full HSPA+/ 3G coverage in my town as I am able to get on my TMO GS3.
  24. 9th Wonder, Mar 27, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013

    9th Wonder thread starter macrumors member

    9th Wonder

    Mar 24, 2013
    There are clear flaws with your line of argumentation. To simply assume that I am incapable of making my own decision is baffling. I created this thread with the sole purpose to clarify some aspects of both the AT&T and T-Mobile phones. I am definitely in a better position than I was in to make a more informed decision of whether it is worth my time to go back and forth to return my phone.

    I have an IQ of 132, thank you very much. It is wise to not judge a book by its cover, but by its chapters.

    Refer to the first quote and response.

    Thanks ... I am actually having second thoughts about joining this community. I don't see the point in staying in a community with so much hostility.

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