Which GSM iPhone 5 is best with T-Mobile?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by dalutulak, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. dalutulak macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2013
    Hi, I need some help with the different GSM iPhoine 5 models.

    I'm getting my sister an iPhone 5 from ebay and she's on T-Mobile. Because I'm looking on ebay I want as many buying options as possible based on the Phone's compatibility with T-Mobile's network, so I'm looking into unlocked, AT&T and T-Mobile versions.

    So my questions are,
    1-What's the difference between an unlocked iPhone 5, the AT&T version and the T-Mobile version (if they have a special one)?
    2-What's difference, if there is any, if I use an AT&T version or an unlocked version on T-Mobile's network?
    3-And finally how will I be able to tell them apart from their specs?

    Thank you for all your help in advance.
  2. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    I don't have exact information, but as far as I understand an unlocked AT&T iPhone 5 on T-Mobile won't be able to get LTE. You'll be limited to HSPA+. The coverage maps are also inaccurate because they had to buy up AT&T spectrum to support AT&T phones brought over (mostly older iPhones).

    Currently T-Mobile is sold out of the 16gb online, but they do have the 32gb for $99.99 down and $27/month in case you're interested.
  3. Minhimalism macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2012
    An unlocked AT&T iPhone 5 is able to get LTE on T-Mobile, it's the Verizon phone that can only pick up T-Mobile's 3G.

    The only difference I believe is AWS support if you use an AT&T phone that was manufactureed prior to April 2013, other than that there is no spec difference.
  4. JodyK macrumors 6502a


    Jan 29, 2010
    Northern Atlanta suburbs
    I am on Tmobile on the iPhone 5

    I bought an iPhone 5 on launch day last year. I bought the Att gsm version and got it sim free / contract free / factory unlocked.

    At the time Tmobile was not an official carrier.
    I put SIM card in (after cutting it down) and it just worked.

    Any gsm "unlocked" iPhone 5 will work on Tmobile. You might have to do a carrier upgrade on the phone w sim in and it connected to iTunes. I did that once Tmobile became an official carrier and it gave me 4G Internet ability.

    Hope this helps you!
  5. Vanilla35 macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2013
    Washington D.C.
    I literally just looked this up yesterday, as I'm going to be switching from AT&T to T-Mobile soon (haven't bought my new iPhone yet). Buy only the T-Mobile version. It used to be that you were okay to buy the AT&T one and just have it unlocked by AT&T and then sim swap. Now you will only get Edge-HSPA+ if you do that. As soon as T-Mobile announced their iPhone 5, all the people on T-Mobile using a previously AT&T iPhone 5 went from LTE speeds to Edge. This was back in April I think. They're also continuously changing stuff around with their new LTE network being tweaked and such too. I would not risk buying her an AT&T model.
  6. johnparjr macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2005

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