It's more than rumor. The program is already under way to shift their 3G/HSPA+ services from their AWS band (1700/2100) to their 1900 mhz band to free up space for an LTE deployment beginning in 2013. This will be augmented by additional AWS spectrum from AT&T, which is still awaiting FCC approval.
That said, having LTE service doesn't on its own guarantee iPhone compatibility, as the device still needs to support LTE on the AWS band, when the other carriers are using/going to different spectrum for their LTE services.
What we do know is that the process of moving 3G/HSPA+ to 1900mhz will enable those services on unlocked iPhones wherever the transition is made.
Yes, totally agree. It was noted that it would work, but not that TMO would actually invest into the iPhone. In the past, they blamed Hardware limitations as to why they could not aquire the iphone, but since aquiring LTE space from the failed merger, One can only guess if Tmobile will make another excuse, or actually go for liscensing.
I posted another message in this thread yesterday, offering a view on why TM won't make a move on offering the iPhone until 2013 at the earliest.
Because of the way that Apple require customers to commit to minimum spend over fixed periods, it is crucial that TM can hit the ground running with a stable configuration that will be marketable for a year or more. From what I can see, that won't be possible until next year.
Using some crude numbers, it looks like TM would need to commit to spending around $2.5 billion per year for four years to match what Sprint were required to spend. That means they need to shift up to 5 million iPhones in the first year, depending on the value placed on each unit by Apple: 45% of their current smartphone base. That's a tough sell when many people will still not be able to get 3G/HSPA+ service going into 2013.
You obviously need to do what you need to do. I am simply suggesting why it probably makes no business sense for TM to do anything with the iPhone before 2013, other than make it better for people to use an unlocked one on their network.
I'm not sure what it is that you are looking for. If you are prepared to wait until next year to make a change and the TM network is by then capable of supporting 3G/HSPA+ service for the iPhone, would you stay and buy it from Apple direct? Because that would seem to be a pretty likely scenario.
If not, why not? Over the course of a two-year contract it will be cheaper to buy the device full price and get a Value plan, rather than buying a subsidized phone and having to pay for the Classic plan.
If it costs too much to pay full price at one go, how about setting up an iPhone fund and save towards the cost each month from now until early next year, since you know that you are not going to may the outlay until then anyway?
Iphone 5 is coming to TMobile in July (June according to articles on line). I am loyalty member since 1995. Loyalty customer service told me without a shadow of a doubt iPhone is coming! He also stated my phone plan (which rocks - loyalty gets you some things in this life) will apply to iPhone. I asked if I can order the phone now! He said No. It's worth the wait in my eyes. TMo is going to scoop up a lot of ATT customers. I qualify for an early upgrade for iPhone. I can't wait!
This is where the use of the term 4G becomes confusing.
TM are currently re-farming their network to have 3G/HSPA+ (what they currently call 4G) run on the 1900mhz band, which is supported on the iPhone. In that sense, the iPhone 4S will already run at "4G" speeds where the network supports it.
However, if you are talking about the iPhone 5 supporting LTE when you say "iphone 5 will be on 4g", then there is no certainty that the iPhone 5 will support the AWS band, which is where TM plan to launch their version of LTE next year. So there is absolutely no possibility of an iPhone running LTE on the TM network until next year.
The best anyone can hope for in 2012 is that the refarming proceeds quickly and most of the main TM markets have their 3G/HSPA+ services shifted over to 1900mhz in time to support iPhone users.
Maybe I'm missing something, but I really don't see TM launching an iPhone until the large majority of their major markets are ready to support 3G/HSPA+ on the 1900mhz band. Not unless Apple break the mold on their pricing strategy and ask TM for a substantially lower commitment (proportionally) than they imposed on Sprint ($15.5+ billion over the first four years).
Do you really see people rushing to buy the iPhone from TM in markets where they can only get EDGE service, when they could get LTE/HSPA+ on an iPhone 5 over at Verizon or AT&T? Maybe the iPhone obsession is much greater than I can possibly imagine and people will do that, but it's a big gamble for TM.
There were internet stories almost a year ago that the 4S would be coming to T-Mobile. Anyone seen one in a TM store?
What we do know for certain is that more and more areas on the TM network will be capable of supporting unlocked iPhones at full 3G/HSPA+ speeds as TM re-farm their network in preparation for their LTE launch next year. That means that AT&T iPhone users will be able to defect at the end of their contract, when AT&T are now routinely unlocking their customers iPhone devices. It also means that people buying unlocked phones direct from Apple will be able to get full service from TM.
I would say the best indicator of strong rumors and accurate TM information is the TMoNews site and they have nothing about the iPhone 5 coming this way. In fact their top story today is about how TM are launching a new ad campaign, dropping an additional $200m in the budget. It says:
'Part of the new marketing will include a “Test Drive” web site, where T-Mobile believes it can show its devices can be faster the industry rivals, such as the iPhone. “We really want to set the record straight and say to the consumer they really should be taking a second look at T-Mobile,” DeLuca said.'
That doesn't sound like the kind of campaign in preparation for the iPhone 5 coming to TM in a few weeks time. Quite the reverse. It sounds like they are preparing to fight off the appeal of a new iPhone being offered by all their competitors.
Of course, this could all be mis-direction, but if TM really had an ace-in-the-hole with the iPhone 5, I doubt they would be letting people get further disillusioned by faking a high budget ad campaign against the iPhone. Would that make any sense?
TM I'm sure does not want people waiting to buy iPhones and not buying current models. For the same reason, Apple and many other companies do not give out details of new products until they are officiallly released.
As far as the network goes, I use an iPhone on Edge and it works fine. I'm sure it would be faster on a newer network, but if I had to use Edge for a year or so, that would be fine. Also, using it on Wi-Fi, which I do more often than not, works very good. Having the network in place would be a smart thing for TM, but putting off the sale of the iPhone by TM just to wait for a total new network in 2013 seems like a bad business move.
In a statement sent to 9to5Mac, T-Mobile said:
"Today we have more than one million unlocked iPhones running on our network. T-Mobile currently offers microSIMs for customers who already have a GSM phone they want to use on the T-Mobile network, including an iPhone. In order to set up an unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile's network, customers simply need to purchase a microSIM card and select a T-Mobile Value plan that suits their needs.
"In addition, we will continue to deliver more value to customers as we expand and modernize our 4G network. Beginning this year, we will introduce HSPA+ service in our 1900-MHz PCS spectrum. When we do, our 4G network will be compatible with a broader range of devices, including the iPhone."
This is all true, though owners of old iPhones shouldn't expect to see working 3G service from T-Mobile until very late in the year.
If it was simply a case of saying "yes, we want to sell the iPhone", then clearly it would be a bad business move. But - unless Apple change their model - the carrier has to commit to spending a minimum amount over a set period of time (e.g. Sprint $15.5 billion over 4 years).
Normally, for such a huge commitment, you would expect your product launch to have real momentum. If not, you are backing up your commitment into later years in ways that might not fit with the sales model that you operate. In TM's case (and other carriers') they operate from an average contract churn of 4.2% per month (based on 24-month contracts).
If they have an underwhelming launch, because they are selling the device in major markets that can only provide EDGE connectivity, they have blown that marketing advantage and backed up the heavy transactions you would expect during the launch into later months, whenever the network transformation is achieved in each of those markets. The delay will certainly fragment any future marketing effort and significantly reduce the overall sales potential.
I'm not suggesting that the TM iPhone needs to wait for LTE, just the provision of 3G/HSPA+ services in the 1900mhz band in a significant majority of TM's major markets. That could happen before the end of this year, though TM doesn't appear to have the same structure to the exercise as they had when implementing the HSPA+ upgrades.
I would say that this statement fits the approach I was describing exactly. They are aggressively pursuing customers with unlocked iPhones obtained either from Apple directly, or from AT&T, but they still need to promote their own product range in order to prepare for yet another assault, if and when the iPhone 5 launches without them on board.
I think you have beaten this to death! T-Mobile is not going to pull a Sprint and Risk be unprofitable for the high prices that Apple wants to create a phone specifically for their bands. This is why T-Mobile is refarming their spectrum to be compatible with AT&Ts iPhone. It would be less of a risk, cheaper, and would open them up to all the angry AT&T users looking to move, and probably allow them to get the iPhone cheaper this way.
There is VERY simple solution. Pay the 600 bucks and get an unlocked iPhone. Thats what my partner did. As soon as T-Mobile is done with their refarming the phone will have great speeds.
T-Mobile knows it needs the iPhone and is not purposely ignoring this situation.