Carrier Sim-free: pros/cons (for T-Mobilers)

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by sr913, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. sr913 macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2016
    I've searched this forum up and down but can't find a clear answer, so here goes.

    I have T-Mobile, want an iPhone 7 but also want the option to sell (if iPhone 8 knocks everyone's socks off next fall) - but don't want to join apple's upgrade program.

    So I'm wondering whether it makes sense to wait for the "sim-free" version that's been mentioned in a few threads. Other T-Mobilers may also be in the same boat.
    • Anyone know whether the sim-free version is likely to perform as well, or better, or worse, than the currently available "T-Mobile version"?
    • Anyone want to speculate how long the wait will be? I've seen predictions ranging from "a couple weeks from now" to "January".
    • Is it likely to make a difference in resale value?
    • Are all versions (colors & memory) likely to be available in a sim-free model?
  2. kevink2 macrumors 65816

    Nov 2, 2008
    For someone with T-Mobile, as long as it is unlocked, you still have a large audience to sell to. ATT users. Pre-paid users using ATT and T-Mobile MVNOs. So I don't think anyone really knows.

    The Verizon model has a bigger market in the US. And people who may resell in China.

    I wanted flexibility to switch if my carrier upsets me, so the Verizon model is better. So I think it is more important for YOUR flexibility if there is any chance you may go to Verizon or Sprint. Companies tend to have offers to buy your phone to get you to switch anyway.
  3. Florida Gator macrumors regular

    Feb 26, 2004
    It should perform the same on the T-Mobile network. The T-Mobile/AT&T models (A1778 and A1784) have a GSM-only modem made by Intel and hence cannot work on CDMA networks like Verizon or Sprint and many in Asia. The A1660 and A1661 models have a Qualcomm modem, and will be compatible with pretty much all networks (except some in Japan). So if you don't plan on going to Asia, you should be fine.

    Now, I can't say definitively the Intel and Qualcomm modems perform identically on GSM networks, but I will assume Apple has assured they are indistinguishable.

    It's hard to. The iPhone 6 took 4 months. The iPhone 6s took 3 weeks. The iPhone SE was immediate. We know it's not immediate, but I would guess sometime in November. But that's just a guess.

    No. Not really. I've had SIM-free models for the last couple of years and noticed they are either exactly the same or only $15-30 more in resale value. This isn't a good reason to get the SIM-free version.

  4. sr913 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2016
    Thanks, that's a good breakdown. The only thing I wonder about is this post from another thread about something called "4X4 MIMO" that I can't even pretend I understand, but seems to affect network speed. Is the GSM-only version at a disadvantage to the sim-free version here?

    "The Intel XMM7360 doesn't support either technology. The X12 doesn't out of the box, but it can with upgrades. To support 256 QAM, Apple would need a software upgrade to the base X12 modem. To support 4x4 MIMO, Apple would actually need to include extra physical antennas.

    So that means while the iPhone 7 will be the fastest iPhone ever, it still may not achieve the network speeds that the Galaxy S7$669.99 at T-Mobile, S7 Edge, andNote 7 do, as those have the new technologies."
  5. Florida Gator macrumors regular

    Feb 26, 2004
    Right. The X12 needs a firmware update to enable 4X4 MIMO and Apple usually doesn't do that sort of thing post-launch.

    My advice to you would be if you need a new phone now, or need an unlocked phone (if you don't have one already) soon for international travel, get the T-Mobile one. If you're not in a rush, like me, just wait a few months. The SIM-free will come.
  6. sr913 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2016
    So am I reading this correctly that none of the 3 versions we're talking about (the AT&T/Tmob Intel version available now, the Verizon/Sprint Qualcomm version available now, and the sim-free version available in a few months) will support 4x4 MIMO?

    (And while we're at it, is 4X4 MIMO something that leads to appreciable differences in network speeds?)
  7. Florida Gator macrumors regular

    Feb 26, 2004
    Right, none of the iPhones support 4X4 MIMO. The A1660 has a radio that could support it with a software update, which is very unlikely.

    You're not going to notice a difference in performance over the next year between devices with 4X4 MIMO and ones that don't, especially since the rollout is very limited.

    Maybe, next year it will matter, but by then, they'll be other new radio technologies in iPhone 8 to justify an upgrade.
  8. se1000 macrumors 6502


    Sep 24, 2014
    LA, CA
  9. sr913 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2016
    The PCMag article linked above is dated 9/9 (two days ago) and suggests more info will come out next week....

    Meanwhile, this article says the 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM rollouts are happening pretty quickly (end of October). Seems to me like that increases the chances Apple will do *something* to avoid the iPhone being at a significant network-speed disadvantage to the Galaxy S7.
  10. Florida Gator macrumors regular

    Feb 26, 2004

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