T-Mobile USA Claims Next iPhone Chipset Will Support Carrier's AWS Bands

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With the launch of the iPhone 4S, T-Mobile USA is now the only one of the four major U.S. carriers to not offer the iPhone, due in large part to the carrier's use of the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum band for its 3G network, a situation that so far would require Apple to develop specific hardware compatible with the network. Some had hoped that the situation would be rectified over time by AT&T's planned acquisition of T-Mobile, but that deal has fallen apart in the face of scrutiny from regulators.




AllThingsD now reports on comments from T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm again acknowledging that the AWS issue is an important reason for the carrier's lack of the iPhone, but reporting that the issue will be addressed both by migration of T-Mobile's spectrum bands and by new chipsets supporting AWS.
"The key reason we didn't have the iPhone in the past is we are on different band than globally the market was," Humm said. "That is something which will change over time. Chipsets are also evolving to be able to allow for more bands."

As always, though, the decision is up to Apple, Humm acknowledges.
CNET has more on the topic from T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray, who specifically claims that Apple's plans for the next iPhone chipset include support for AWS.
Ray, however, said T-Mobile's unique spectrum would have required extra work to ensure the iPhone ran correctly on its network. But the next chipset that Apple plans to use will be able to overcome that hurdle, he said.

"The next chipset will support AWS," he said in an interview with CNET. "The challenge that existed in the past will go away."

Ray said he has seen the roadmap of chipsets that Apple plans to use, and knows it has that capability. But he noted Apple could choose to ignore that capability and not strike a deal with T-Mobile.
New LTE networks are another factor in the discussion, with rumors suggesting that the iPhone 5 may indeed support the faster technology with greater unification of network standards across carriers. But with LTE still being built out and carriers having achieved varying stages of progress on their efforts, the iPhone and other smartphones will continue to require compatibility with 3G networks as a fallback option where LTE won't yet be available.

Update: In a clarification to 9to5Mac, T-Mobile reports that Ray said only that Apple could use an AWS-capable chipset in a future iPhone model, not that he had specific knowledge of Apple's roadmap.

Article Link: T-Mobile USA Claims Next iPhone Chipset Will Support Carrier's AWS Bands
 

pilot1226

macrumors 6502a
Mar 18, 2010
595
13
USA
Big thumbs up for this. Would be great to have a nicely priced competitor like T-Mobile with the iPhone. My bill would be $40 less than Sprint for 2 lines on the Value family plan, with unlimited minutes and texts and unlimited data throttled after 2GB. I'd take that in a second.

Here's hoping.
 

pdjudd

macrumors 601
Jun 19, 2007
4,037
65
Plymouth, MN
Does this mean I can finally use 3G data on T-Mobile with my unlocked 4S?
No - the frequency is not available for use in the firmware (it's disabled) - even if you could unlock it (which you probably cannot legally do) - the hardware has not been programmed with T-Mobiles spectrum in mind and it it simply will not work properly if at all.

You are limited to 2G speeds no matter what.
 

pilot1226

macrumors 6502a
Mar 18, 2010
595
13
USA
Does this mean I can finally use 3G data on T-Mobile with my unlocked 4S?
I don't think so, because it sounds like it's a physical HARDWARE change that will be going into the iPhone 5.

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No - the frequency is not available for use in the firmware (it's disabled) - even if you could unlock it (which you probably cannot legally do) - the hardware has not been programmed with T-Mobiles spectrum in mind and it it simply will not work properly if at all.

You are limited to 2G speeds no matter what.
Well, there is some truth to the question. A few weeks ago people on T-Mobile were reporting getting 3G service in the southwestern United States in small parts. People have speculated it's because of a bandwidth/spectrum restructure from all the bonus revenue that came in from the failed merger with AT&T. Screen captures and speed tests seemed to verify that they were operating at 3G speed. Who knows?
 

nylonsteel

Suspended
Nov 5, 2010
1,076
194
re original article


word of the day - "unification"


"New LTE networks are another factor in the discussion, with rumors suggesting that the iPhone 5 may indeed support the faster technology with greater unification of network standards across carriers"
 

eagandale4114

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2011
1,011
1
I don't think so, because it sounds like it's a physical HARDWARE change that will be going into the iPhone 5.

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Well, there is some truth to the question. A few weeks ago people on T-Mobile were reporting getting 3G service in the southwestern United States in small parts. People have speculated it's because of a bandwidth/spectrum restructure from all the bonus revenue that came in from the failed merger with AT&T. Screen captures and speed tests seemed to verify that they were operating at 3G speed. Who knows?
In those cases t mobile was using the frequencies used for hspa+. Since the 4s supports those frequencies t mobile customers were able to get 3G.
 

chrmjenkins

macrumors 603
Oct 29, 2007
5,322
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CA
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

The Qualcomm radio in the 4S and Verizon iPhone 4 already supports AWS. There's just no accommodation for it hardware, software or firmware. We had this discussion when the Verizon iPhone came out a year ago.
 

danny_w

macrumors 601
Mar 8, 2005
4,380
179
Austin, TX
Big thumbs up for this. Would be great to have a nicely priced competitor like T-Mobile with the iPhone. My bill would be $40 less than Sprint for 2 lines on the Value family plan, with unlimited minutes and texts and unlimited data throttled after 2GB. I'd take that in a second.

Here's hoping.
That's great if you pay full price, but what they don't tell you is that the Value plans do NOT include any phone subsidies. You are going to pay either way, either more monthly and less for the phone or less monthly and more for the phone.
 

KPOM

macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
15,313
3,702
I would certainly appreciate the ability to go with T-Mobile on the iPhone 5. It would make the unlocked phone that much more compelling.
 

dagamer34

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2007
1,359
101
Houston, TX
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/9A405)

T-Mobile may get a shot at the next iPhone because AT&Ts 4G network uses AWS spectrum.
 

RotaryP7

macrumors 6502a
Aug 31, 2011
698
14
Miami, FL
I'm still confused as to why people are getting 3G on the 4S then? Is it because of HSPA+? I thought it was restricted to EDGE because of the bands.
 

chandra.hp

macrumors member
Jun 30, 2010
36
0
That's great if you pay full price, but what they don't tell you is that the Value plans do NOT include any phone subsidies. You are going to pay either way, either more monthly and less for the phone or less monthly and more for the phone.
Not true:

New contract on Sprint for two lines:
2 4Ss: $400
$150/month for 24 months : $3600
Total: $4000

T-Mobile Value Plan for two lines:
2 4Ss: $1300
$65/month (5GB data cap) for 24 months: $1560
Total: $2860

Total money saved with T-Mobile : $1140

That is quite a bit of money saved! So here is hoping the future version of the iPhone 4S and 5 support AWS.
 

dontwalkhand

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2007
5,380
1,481
GREAT NEWS

NOW THAT ALL Carriers will have an iPhone, the other carriers will have to all compete again. And it will definitely stir up innovation in the phone industry again.
 

google

macrumors regular
Sep 13, 2007
228
32
Not true:

New contract on Sprint for two lines:
2 4Ss: $400
$150/month for 24 months : $3600
Total: $4000

T-Mobile Value Plan for two lines:
2 4Ss: $1300
$65/month (5GB data cap) for 24 months: $1560
Total: $2860

Total money saved with T-Mobile : $1140

That is quite a bit of money saved! So here is hoping the future version of the iPhone 4S and 5 support AWS.
Where did you come up with a $65 family plan for Tmo?
 

danny_w

macrumors 601
Mar 8, 2005
4,380
179
Austin, TX
Not true:

New contract on Sprint for two lines:
2 4Ss: $400
$150/month for 24 months : $3600
Total: $4000

T-Mobile Value Plan for two lines:
2 4Ss: $1300
$65/month (5GB data cap) for 24 months: $1560
Total: $2860

Total money saved with T-Mobile : $1140

That is quite a bit of money saved! So here is hoping the future version of the iPhone 4S and 5 support AWS.
Look again, that should be $65/line, or $130/2 lines. So the calculations should be:

T-Mobile Value Plan for two lines:
2 4Ss: $1300
$130/month (5GB data cap) for 24 months: $3120
Total: $4420

I am on a T-Mobile family plan but it is an older grandfathered My Faves plan, and I have looked into the Value plan to see if it would save us money but it would actually cost more even on a monthly basis. Plus we would pay full price for the phones (I am the only one out of 5 lines with an iPhone).
 

Amazing Iceman

macrumors 68040
Nov 8, 2008
3,957
1,551
Florida, U.S.A.
Look again, that should be $65/line, or $130/2 lines. So the calculations should be:

T-Mobile Value Plan for two lines:
2 4Ss: $1300
$130/month (5GB data cap) for 24 months: $3120
Total: $4420

I am on a T-Mobile family plan but it is an older grandfathered My Faves plan, and I have looked into the Value plan to see if it would save us money but it would actually cost more even on a monthly basis. Plus we would pay full price for the phones (I am the only one out of 5 lines with an iPhone).
I have an even older T-mobile plan with Unlimited Data for $ 20.00 and unlimited Voice for 2 phones for $89.00. I know there's a new plan for loyalty customers, but requires getting into a 2-year contract, which I didn't want to do, as I want to get an iPhone.
Regardless how I calculate it, T-Mobile Plans are way much less expensive than AT&T, and that is the only reason why I haven't switched yet.

An iPhone for T-Mobile would be the best news in a long time, but I'm not sure it will happen. I've been hearing rumors like this for a long time already. I'll just be hopeful and wait a little... :rolleyes:

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Now if cellphone hardware was not so insanely expensive.
The new stuff is always expensive... Remember how much the first Radio Shack phones used to cost? Those big lunch boxes used to go for over $700.00. At that time, I don't believe there were any subsidies. You would have to pay full price with no way around it.

The good thing about Android devices is that these loose their original value very quickly. Today's $400.00 phone would be $50 in about a year; and sometimes free.

----------

That's great if you pay full price, but what they don't tell you is that the Value plans do NOT include any phone subsidies. You are going to pay either way, either more monthly and less for the phone or less monthly and more for the phone.
You are right about that, but I have noticed that long time customers get much better deals on new phones.
 

cvaldes

macrumors 68040
Dec 14, 2006
3,237
0
somewhere else
I'm still confused as to why people are getting 3G on the 4S then? Is it because of HSPA+? I thought it was restricted to EDGE because of the bands.
iPhone users on T-Mobile USA's networks are only getting 2.5G EDGE cellular data speeds -- regardless of which version of the Apple handset the user has (original iPhone, 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S) -- because the chipset doesn't support the AWS band (1700/2100MHz).

In preparation for launching their next-generation HSPA+ network, T-Mobile USA has been refarming some of their 1900MHz spectrum allocation and putting 3G cellular data there.

This is for an extremely limited portion of T-Mobile USA's coverage area. Some people in these limited areas are now seeing 3G cellular data connectivity with their iPhones (3G, 3GS, 4, and 4S, but not the original iPhone). This is not a nationwide change in the availability of 3G cellular data for iPhone users on T-Mobile USA's network.
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,179
3,441
Twin Cities Minnesota
Now if cellphone hardware was not so insanely expensive.
Sadly it's the cost of everyone wanting to have the smallest, and fastest possible (for whatever reasons justified or not) handset on the market.

Because phones are turning into both companions / status symbols (in some people's eye), they are going to be a bit expensive.
 

bretmartin

macrumors member
Jul 25, 2010
36
0
Boston, MA
Marketing names??? Those names have technical meanings.
I would say 3G and 4G would qualify more as "Marketing names".
Don't "3G" and "4G" have specific definitions determined by the ITU? (I know many carriers ignore those and just make up their own.)

Maybe I shouldn't have said "marketing names". What I am getting at is "Personal Communications Service" and "Advanced Wireless Services" are generically meaningless phrases that were assigned specific meanings. Using "PCS" to denote cellular telephony and data services in the 1900 MHz band implies that somehow communications services outside that band are not personal or not communications services, or whatever.
 
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