14 Replies Latest reply: Jun 12, 2012 7:45 AM by mojosoul RSS

unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

I currently have a mytouch 4g (about a year old).  I really want an iphone 4.  I have been looked at getting a factory unlocked iphone 4g or iphone 4s.  I know that there are certain limitations using an iphone on T-mobile.  My question is.  Is it worth doing or after having the mytouch 4g am I just going to be frustrated with the iphone on T-mobile?  If it is worth doing should I get the 4g or shell out the $$$ for the 4s?  If there is anyone that has gone through this process and can provide me their thoughts I would appreciate it.



  • 1. Re: unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

    Got my daughter (17) a MyTouch 4g for Christmas and my wife an unlocked iPhone 4s for Christmas, both on TMobile.  Wanted to make sure my daughter had a supported phone, and the 4s was pretty pricey and a bit of an experiment, so didn't want to do 'em both that way.  As such, I'm familiar with them both:



    Got unlocked from the Apple website.  Went to TMobile, and asked about a sim card (since they use the microsims), and they just gave me one that I had to activate (didn't have to pay anything for it).  On Christmas day, gave her the phone, stuck in the new sim card, called TMobile, told 'em I wanted to transfer her previous phone number to this one, and in 30 minutes, the phone was up and working.  Could not use the contact app on the tmobile site to transfer contacts, so it was a bit of a pain to enter all these back in.  Everything on the phone worked except recieving pictures via text.  Data is only EDGE, so a bit on the slow side, but ok enough.  If you dig through this website, you'll find a procedure using "IBackupBot" to fix the picture MMS problem, and once I did that, that worked too (was not difficult at all, so long as you can use iTunes).  Siri works well, but slow when on EDGE (it uses the network to do everything, so slow network, slow Siri).  EDGE speeds about 200kbits/sec download at best.  My wife's biggest complaint is the touch screen with her long fingernails...


    MyTouch 4G:

    Got directly from TMobile and had to do nothing to set it up other then stick her sim in it (uses the normal sim). Gets about 5MBits/sec download, so much faster.  Screen is a little bigger.  You work it much like the iPhone with the touch screen, but the screen is a little laggy... meaning it doesn't move as smooth as the iPhone/iPod touches we have.



    The 4G is a nice phone.  It's 3G network connection is much faster than the iPhone EDGE connection.  Mytouch is MUCH less expensive than the iPhone (tripple digits less), and is directly supported by TMobile.  She's always on Facebook on the thing and really seems to like that.  It looks like an iPhone.  She sometimes refers to it as her "iPhone".


    That said, my daughter now hauls around both her MyTouch and her iPod Touch, because that has all her music and apps she's been using.  Only Apple really works with iTunes, and we've been doing that for a long time. I know you can stick music on the MyTouch, but it's too much trouble when you have years invested in iTunes/iPods, etc. We really like Facetime, but that's only on Apple products.  We downloaded Skype for the MyTouch, and it works with the Apple version of Skype, but on the mytouch, the camera display is upside down for some wierd reason and sometimes doesn't work.  My daughter is constantly playing with my wifes iPhone, and I know she really wants that one.  If it weren't for the price (scared to death it's gonna get broke), connection speed (it's bad enough when the internet takes too long to pull up something at the house on a computer), and the fact that I have to be the "customer support" for the iPhone (my wife understands that sometimes things don't work... kids often don't), I would have gotten them both the iPhone.


    Really hope TMobile will push the 1900 Mhz 3g refarming through in our area soon...


    Hope this helps...

  • 2. Re: unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

    Sorry... if your question was MyTouch 4G vs iPhone 4s, the above is my answer.  If your question is iPhone 4G vs iPhone 4s, there is no such thing as an iPhone 4G.  The previous version to the iPhone 4s was the iPhone 4, and the previous to it was iPhone 3G.  iPhone 4 from my understanding is the same as iPhone 4s without Siri, has a slower processor and the camera has less resolution.  It's cheaper (I think) than iPhone 4s.  iPhone 3G... I guess is similar to iPhone 4... maybe a little less features or something.  I would look at the Apple website.  As for the experience on TMobile, the above would apply to all... except the Siri part...  If you can get it cheaper, can live with EDGE speeds, don't mind supporting the thing yourself, and like Apple stuff, I like the iPhone.

  • 3. Re: unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

    Thank you for such a great response.  Did your wife use an android before the iphone?  I'm worried that I am going to get an iphone and then hate the speed difference!!  I am trying to decide if it's worth moving to the iphone at all and if I do considering the limitations with T-mobile should I go for an ebay unlocked 4g or pay full retail for the 4S.  I would hate to spend a bunch of money and find I can't stand the slow speed!  Itunes is a big plus for me and there seems to be an abundance of apps/games available for the iphone vs the android.


    Thanks for your advice

  • 4. Re: unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

    She never had a smartphone until this one...


    She primarily does simple web searches and email... nothing data heavy when not on wifi.  We tried Pandora in the car, and it was pretty spotty... it worked for a little while, then stopped.  I think if you're into video or audio streaming and you have to have that while not in a wifi area, you will probably not like the speed.  If you do facebook, email, pictures and stuff, you'll be fine.  It's data intensive things that cause problems with EDGE.  That's what you need to consider.


    I agree that iTunes and apps make it better than Android.  That's why my daughter is hauling around the iPod Touch with the MyTouch phone...

  • 5. Re: unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

    I am also considering and curious about this. I am tired of the phones T-mobile has to offer it seems like I am constantly having to send them back for a new one. My husband has an Iphone through work and it works great the battery life is outstanding so over the weekend we got Verizon and had planned to pay to get out of our contract with T-mobile but then Verizon started jerking us around and we still felt in our guts that we liked T-mobile have been with them for 8 years. I have had a week to play with the Iphone and I love it so my husband said just buy an unlocked one but I'm curious if the slower speed is really worth it. I called a customer rep on the phone the other day and flat out asked about them getting the Iphone and he seemed pretty confident so I called another rep just to see what he would say and he was way less confident about it. But your wifes experience with the Iphone has given me a glimmer of hope.

  • 6. Re: unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

    She loves the phone (except having to deal with the touchscreen issues with her fingernails).  The speed can be an issue but it's really dependent on how you use the thing when you are on the mobile network.  I also think TMobile is going to be upgrading their networks throughout the year, and will eventually get 3G coverage.


    One thing to consider is that the unlocked phone is GSM only, meaning you can use it on TMobile and ATT.  I do not believe it is CDMA capable, which is Verizon and Sprint.  That means if you buy an unlocked one, you will have to use it on TMobile or ATT, and will not be able to move it to Verizon. You need to think about that if you are considering moving to Verizon since they are expensive to buy unlocked...

  • 7. Re: unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

    We are actually considering staying with TMobile so thats why I'm interested. We are most likely going to give our Verizon phones back tomorrow and stay with Tmobile but I'm going to miss the Iphone!

  • 8. Re: unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

    I recently tried an unlocked 4S on T-Mobile as two reps at the local (Las Vegas) Apple store told me the phone would work on any GSM network and specifically would get 3G speeds on T-Mobile's network. Not true---EDGE speeds only despite Tmob having an extensive 3G network in this area. An Apple customer care supervisor confirmed that an unlocked iPhone is not able to use Tmob 3G,confirming my experience. It apparently is a hardware problem - the iPhone chip does not communicate on the freqencies used by Tmob for its 3G network, so there is no work-around. Why Apple is selling an unlocked GSM phone which cannot utilize the network of the only US GSM provider other than ATT is something of a mystery. So if you can tolerate EDGE speeds - which markedly reduce the functionality of some functions such as Siri - go for it. I returned mine ----

  • 9. Re: unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

    T-mobile is refarming their 1900 spectrum. So iphone will work at 4g speeds on t-mobile. Some markets are already refarmed (like mine).

    Most markets will be refarmed by the end of the year.


    Here's how it looks on my iphone:   http://home.comcast.net/~chickenstik/3gstmobile.jpg

  • 10. Re: unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

    So nice to see/read that an unlocked iPhone 4s will work with Tmobile and (AND!) that "refarming" might be accomplished by the end of the year to provide 4G speed.


    And, as I've just started reading forums about using an unlocked iPhone on Tmobile, there are a couple of questions I hope can/will be answered here ... by anyone with the knowledge.


    BACKGROUND: I currently have a plan that allows unlimited text, talk and data, priced at $79. It's an old account. I've had this plan for a long time. And, if I choose any other plan, like the new-to-me "business" plan (effectively 'leaving' this one), I will never be able to re-obtain my current unlimited for $79. So, here are my questions:


    1) Although the current 'working' data plan for an unlocked iPhone is EDGE - not 3G. *IF* the refarming upgrades the farming to 4G, will the unlocked iPhone instantaneously (well, what I mean here is "without any modifications on my end to the phone) work on the 4G network, too?


    2) Am I right in understanding that even though the EDGE is slow, I can use WiFi (wherever it's available - at my home, Starbucks, etc) and get better internet download?



    Thank you for the great discussion. And, I'd like to share with you a very enlightening discussion about setting up an unlocked iPhone with TMobile. The entire discussion started in November 2011, and is 5 pages long, but is very helpful and offers all kinds of valuable information.



  • 11. Re: unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

    I know this is a few mos old but still relevant.


    Until a few days ago I had mt4g for 1 1/2 yrs. I now have iPhone and my partner has my old mytouch.

    The slow Internet on the iPhone is a deal breaker for me. Very noticeable in use. Yes frustrating. Example: audible refused to dload an audiobook until I got to wifi.


    Dload Speed test results in same location at same time:

    IPhone .03 to .06 Mbps vs mytouch's 4+ to 7+ Mbps. 

    No, those are not typos.

    Ip on wifi gets 2.75 mbps download while mt gets 3.97 (AT&T uverse internet pro)


    All this talk of tmobile 3G on iPhone is not true yet. I'm in San Francisco where I'm supposed to get 3G according to the rumor mill and it's just 2g all the time.


    There is no such thing as an iPhone with 4g yet.


    Aside from that the iPhone is lovely to use. I got MMS and everything else working perfectly, easily once I found the correct info.

    The apps are both more elegant and more functional on iPhone. But far fewer free iPhone apps. Anything decent costs min .99 but commonly higher.

    Stock apple music player is awful (can't ff or rewind) and can't subscribe to podcasts from phone, must sync with iTunes.


    Main reason it will pain me to return iPhone is the battery life. Feels like double that of the mt4g.


    @z28man.geo there are apps like double twist to sync iTunes to android phone. No need to carry the iPod also.


    @virdel2 the iPhone doesn't have 4g capability. Where are u located that you're getting 3G?

  • 12. Re: unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

    other thing I do love about the iphone is the speakerphone clarity and volume. no distortion even at loudest setting, and plenty loud even in noisy environment. have not had any of the dropped calls my att friends have.


    I am sad that it's network speed makes it too slow for me to keep.

  • 13. Re: unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

    Virdel's photo indicates that he's in Massachusetts.

  • 14. Re: unlocked iphone 4g or 4s on T-mobile..is it worth doing?

    I had a MyTouch 4G and wouldn't trade it for an iPhone at all....now I've got a Galaxy S2 and it eats and poops any iPhone now because of the ICS update!...