Would an unlocked Surface 3 LTE work on T-Mobile?


    Last year it was announced that the Surface 3 would be sold by companies like Verizon and, you guessed it, T-Mobile, by as soon as August of 2015. Well we're well into the year 2016 and I haven't heard a word about the Surface 3's on T-Mobile. I'm guessing that the relationship between T-Mobile and Microsoft isn't very good right now, for whatever reason, so I'm not counting on Surface 3's to be popping up in T-Mobile stores anytime soon, unless there's someone here more informed about this than I am.


    So since I want (or is it "need") a Surface 3 with LTE capability I was wondering if it would work to use an unlocked Surface 3 with LTE with a T-Mobile data plan? I know that the new Microsoft Lumia phones (which I covet) such as the 950 and 950XL (did I say covet?) have issues with the T-Mobile network (or is it the other way around), and one of those problems is with a certain band of LTE. I think it was band 12 if I'm not mistaken. I don't know what all that means, so this is why I'm asking. I'd hate to spend hundreds of dollars on a product and begin a data plan that's all doomed to failure.


    I was tempted to just buy an iPad Pro from T-Mobile. But I need to replace my 11 year old laptop, and something as portable as a tablet would be nice. There are several reasons why I can't use the iPad Pro. For one, I need to be able to manage my files. Hence, I need a file manager. So Android? Well I also I need to be able to use thumb drives and be able to connect to printers and other computers and cameras and external hard drives. The Apple and Android devices just wouldn't work for my line of work, no matter how good they be. If I buy an Apple or Android tablet I'd have to buy another laptop. And if I have to buy another laptop and am seeing I now need mobile 4G LTE data, I'd have to buy two plans. And since I wouldn't be able to do everything I want on an Apple or Android tablet, I'd be wasting money getting one.


    On the other hand, I was thinking of just getting a Surface 3 with perhaps a mobile Wi-Fi device from T-Mobile. But that's not quite as handy since I only need internet for one device. My Lumia 925 from T-Mobile already has 4G LTE. So with the hot-spot device I'd have to worry about charging and carrying around two devices. Add my phone and that now becomes three devices. Not that it can't be done, but is this really my best choice?


    So can you help me? Would there be any issues using one of Microsoft's unlocked Surface 3's with LTE on my favorite network, T-Mobile? Many thanks in advance!

      All replies

      • matesny

        Re: Would an unlocked Surface 3 LTE work on T-Mobile?

        that coveting of 950XL is felt here too, FYI!

        Surface 3 LTE supports most, if not all, of T-Mobile USA LTE Bands including the 700MHz band 12

        Network (Wireless and Cellular)

        Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) • Bluetooth 4.0 • UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+: 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz • 4G LTE7: 700, 800, 850, 1700, 1800, 1900, 2100, 2600 MHz • LTE Carrier Aggregation

        I would assume it should work fine with T-Mobile. As per T-Mobile support policy, though, you'd be on your own if problems arise, however, I heard Microsoft is doing a pretty good job fixing connectivity issues with these devices, even on a case-by-case basis.

        What's the worst that could happen? You'd end up buying a mifi device!

        • mr_l84

          Re: Would an unlocked Surface 3 LTE work on T-Mobile?

          It looks like the answer is a yes and no. I took my SIM out of my LG G-Slate (is my tablet really 10 years old?!) and put it in a friends unlocked iPad Air. Instead of 4G, like I get on my G-Slate, I can only get "E" (isn't that 2.5G?) on the iPad. Maybe it's the iPad that doesn't support the frequency, but I'm guessing it has something to do with not being a T-Mobile certified product. In which case the same thing might happen to a Surface 3 LTE.

          • mr_l84

            Re: Would an unlocked Surface 3 LTE work on T-Mobile?

            Well I finally bit the bullet and got an unlocked 128GB Surface 3 LTE. But I haven't gotten it to connect to mobile broadband yet. So far I'm getting a "no cellular service" message (even though the bars go up and down just like it would if it were connected). Also after running diagnostics it says the PIN2 on the SIM is locked and preventing mobile broadband access. Any ideas of where to go from here?

            • mr_l84

              Re: Would an unlocked Surface 3 LTE work on T-Mobile?

              From what I've researched this happens on a carrier locked tablet. But mine is supposedly carrier unlocked. So now what?