For those wondering about using the iPhone on T-Mobile USA's network and it's network compatibilty, I have the correct answer for you.
For quite a while using the iPhone (or any non tmobile device) on t-mobile's network would only run EDGE (2G) data which is quite mind numbingly slow compared to 3g/4g and 4g LTE data speeds. Most of you have wondered if this will ever change, well over the past few months it does look like that change will actually happen. People have been reporting that they have gotten 3G/4G data speeds on their unlocked iPhone (or other device) running on t-mobile's network. It turns out t-mobile usa is upgrading their spectrum frequecy to support 3G/4G on the 1900MHz band meaning that if your unlocked phone uses 1900MHz then you will be able to run 3g/4g on t-mobiles network (this applies to all AT&T usa devices and most international models).
T-Mobile USA has also announced a deal that has been made with apple to carry apple products (the iPhone). For most this sounds like great news, but it may not be exactly what is expected. T-Mobile will begin offering the iPhone (along with other devices) at full price with no contract but lower monthly cost (this will save you more money in the long run actually). You may also bring your unlocked device to t-mobile to take advantage of it's value and classic plans as well.
Now back onto the topic of iPhone and other unlocked device t-mobile support. When you use the iPhone on t-mobile usa and are in an area that supports 1900MHz you will see in the top left corner the t-mobile logo and the 3G data logo next to it. Most of you are thinking "awesome, I have 3G" while others using a 4S or iPhone 5 are wondering "why does it only say 3G? I thought this was a 4G/LTE phone", well let me explain why this is. T-Mobile does not carry the iPhone (currently) and apple does not have built in support for T-Mobile USA in the iPhone/iPad's carrier bundle root files. Because it's not an official carrier of the iPhone, T-Mobile USA is part of the unkown carrier bundle so all you will see regardless of what data your actually getting, all you will see displayed is the 3G data logo next to the carrier logo.
Now with that cleared up, lets move onto network compatibiltiy. If your using an iPhone 3g, 3gs or 4 you will only be able to use 3G data as these device are not capable of 4G data, but if your using an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 you should be able to utilize both 3g and 4g data. But what about t-mobile's upcoming LTE data? will the iPhone 5 unlocked be able to use it? well the answer is yes but also no for certain models. If you have an iPhone 5 from AT&T USA and factory unlock it, you will be able to use t-mobile's LTE data once its available, but if your using an international iPhone 5 or Verizon USA's iPhone 5 then you will not. Why is that? well its simple, the reason why AT&T's iPhone 5 can use t-mobile's LTE network (when available) while others cannot is because of the LTE bands that the phone supports.
The AT&T USA iPhone 5 model number is A1428 and supports LTE bands 4 and 17 (t-mobile usa will use LTE band 4), verizon usa's iPhone 5 model number is A1429 and supports LTE bands 1, 3, 5, 13 and 25 and the international iPhone 5 model which is sold only outside the US has the model number A1429 (same as the CDMA based model) but only supports LTE bands 1, 3 and 5which are not compatible with t-mobile's one LTE band which is band 4. Apple recently "started" to sell unlocked iPhone 5's in the US which carries the model number A1428 (AT&T USA's model), but has actually sold them since launch (even though apple stated they not). All that was needed to do since 22-SEP-12 is to purchase an AT&T LOCKED iPhone 5 no contract and activate out of the box with anything but an AT&T sim card and there you go, you have a factory unlocked iPhone 5, but thats the past, now apple just admits they do sell it now.
But anyway, I hope that this post helps clear up any confusion about using an unlocked device on T-Mobile USA. The 1900MHz spectrum network upgrade applies to all devices that use 1900MHz, so its not just for the iPhone. I personally use an iPhone 5 originally locked to AT&T USA but factory unlocked it and now use it on T-Mobile USA, I have had absolutely 0 issues with it as far as calling, texting, MMS and data go. I do get 3g/4g data in some areas and when tested its an average of 8-10 mbps (fastest was 12.71mbps) so mostly 4G data and while in those areas i've noticed that MMS messages send almost instantly and the free wifi hotspot feature is actually usable (if you use an unlocked device on another carrier, if the phone supports a normally paid feature, you can utilize it for free without adding to your current plan such as wifi hotspot).
Provided below is the APN settings required for your iPhone to fully function on t-mobile usa (as of now iPhones and iPads running ios 6.0 are guaranteed to fully work without issue, ios 6.0.1/6.0.2 may cause sending mms messages to fail):
go to the settings app, general, cellular, cellular data network and enter these settings
MMS proxy: 18.104.22.168:8080
Max message size: 1048576
MMS UA prof URL: http://www.apple.com/mms/uaprof.rdf
Thanks for reading and happy new year Subscribe me on youtube or follow me on twitter: @6italia0
thanks for the thorough write-up. i wished i had known about this prior to purchasing verizon's version of the iphone 5. then again i could've done more research into what channels t-mobile lte would be using. in any case, i've activated the verizone iphone 5 on t-mobile and calling/text worked right away when i transferred the new nano sim. it's been a day and mobile data is still not working. i will give your settings a try later and hopefully that will fix the issue as i was about to call t-mobile cs.
Thanks for your post. There are some conflicts in T-mobile's document and the software. In particular the APN seetings on my working iphone 5 are below. you have tomobile, i have t-mobile.
@6italia0, that's all great info. However, there are still speed issues in some areas announced as having been upgraded...
I have a direct from Apple factory unlocked A1428 iPhone 5. I consistently get edge speeds (between .03 and .08mpbs) in Manhattan and Jersey City. There are definitely pockets where "3G" shows up, but I have not speed-tested when there (it's so sparse and I notice when I'm on the move). I do know someone who's office is located in a "3G" pocket, but it's a friend of a friend, so have not asked about/do not know actual speeds he's receiving.
I've had a few chats and phone convo's with T-Mobile support, who all just say 'engineering is working on it still.'
I encourage anyone having data speed issues in the NYC metro area, or any area listed as refarmed/3G/4G to open a support ticket, and to file a complaint with the FCC as well (it's easy to do online!).
TMO should not be advertising or issuing press releases like this unless it's actually factual: http://blog.t-mobile.com/2012/12/20/t-mobile-closes-the-year-by-enhancing-coverage-in-14-new-metro-areas/
I keep saying I'm leaving TMO, but haven't had the time to research other providers and argue with TMO about not charging early termination fees from the contract I was convinced was awesome for my new iPhone. Plus, part of me really want TMO to get their act together, as I've been with them and defended them for so long prior to this. We'll see.
With regards to the setting issue @nearmsp has brought up, in my conversations with support, I asked about this, as the store set me up with (and it's listed on this website as)
but the support was telling me to use
The tech told me to always use the dash, as in epc.t-mobile.com
Honestly, though, I've had it set both ways and haven't seen a difference...
My only problem with the 1900 network is the poor building penartion. I am constitanly getting dropped calls in my house. Its cold outside I dont want to leave the house just to talk. Hopefuly the 1700 LTE network will have better penartation. If not my contract is up this august i will just switch to ATT.
For data mms or tethering you only want to use epc.tmobile.com, factory unlocked iPhones will do data without it though, but mms and data tethering do require this APN. I wouldn't listen to any Tmobile rep that insist something like that as most of them have no clue about unlocked phones.
At places (metro Detroit) where I do get 3G, I also constantly get disconnected during calls because the 3G is weak (2 bar), and iPhone tends to get disconnected before it get onto EDGE!
When Sprint starts using 800 MHz (from decommisioned Nextel network) for their LTE coverage, T-Mo will be the only carrier that get stuck with higher frequency (1700, 1900, 2100), and since MetroPCS also don't have lower frequency, I believe T-Mo's future is bleak (I am crying for typing this here ), and Deutsche Telekom certainly knows this very well!
Noooo :( let's pray in a circle together
just tried the exact settings in op's post and nada - still no data connection. i'm using a verizon iphone 5 with ios 6.0.2. any ideas why?
Turn on data roaming, I forgot to mention in the post that Tmobile data on the iPhone requires data roaming to be on always (this will not affect your bill in any way, it just allows you to use tmobile's data)
data roaming, 3g and cellular data are all on
Ou may just need to have your account reset, I would also get a new SIM card (free at every corporate store). If you just activated recently this may also play a part as well, usually when you activate a new sim or new service it can take a few hours sometimes for data to start working. Also try doing a hard reset (hold home+power buttons until the iPhone shuts off an let go once you see the apple logo)
thanks for your reply. i just got off the phone with t-mobile cs and she verified that all of the info you gave me was correct. all except for the tethering part she wanted me to enter the following instead.
i'm not sure if that helped or not. she then had me power off the phone and remove the sim card for a few minutes while she "reset" my connection. i powered the phone back on with the sim re-inserted and data appears to be working now. thank you all!
No problem, but te tethering APN should be epc.tmobile.com, I don't know where they get the pcweb from (maybe they can charge for it that way) but epc.tmobile.com should work just fine (works for mine)
The bad part with T-Mobile announcing that they are getting Apple products is they are being too quiet about it. The #1 question we all should ask is will T-Mobiles official iPhone be just like the AT&T unlocked iPhone or will their iPhone include support for their AWS HSPA network? If it won't support the AWS HSPA network then they are far from being prepared to give a great iPhone experience because the PCS HSPA+ (1900Mhz) is awful unless you're outside point your phone to the sky!
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