T-Mobile users, you can now buy the iPhone 5. As we wrote yesterday, the iPhone today has finally come to T-Mobile and it is available to buy now at T-Mobile stores or online at T-Mobile’s site. Pricing for the iPhone 5 starts at $99 down (with $20 monthly payments for two years) for the 16GB version, with the 32GB and 64 GB versions costing $199 and $299, respectively (also with $20 monthly payments for two years). If you want to buy full price– remember, T-Mobile doesn’t do two-year contracts anymore– you can for either $580, $680 or $780 depending on if you get the 16GB, 32GB or 64GB iPhone 5.
Now if you look at T-Mobile’s site you will notice that the iPhone 4 and 4S are listed, but depending on where you live you might not be able to actually buy either one. The reason for this is that the 4 and 4S don’t have the right chips inside to fully support T-Mobile’s 4G network. Ever since the first iPhone launched in 2007, all unlocked iPhones could be used on T-Mobile’s network. While they all could work, those phones only could use T-Mobile’s 2G network and not it’s fast 4G one. This had to do with fact that the iPhone didn’t support the right radio band needed to use T-Mobile’s faster networks (known as the 1700 MHz band).
Last year T-Mobile began switching their 4G HSPA+ network from that 1700 MHz band to the 1900 MHz band their 2G network used so that the iPhone 4 and 4S could get 4G. Unlike the 1700 MHz band, this 1900 MHz band is supported by the iPhone since AT&T uses it for some of their own 4G HSPA+ network. Apparently this changeover hasn’t yet happened everywhere, and in those places where the iPhone 4 and 4S won’t get 4G HSPA+ T-Mobile won’t sell the iPhone 4 and 4S. The iPhone 5 has been updated to support T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network on both the 1700 MHz and 1900 MHz bands and can work wherever T-Mobile has 4G HSPA+ which is why it can be bought from anywhere. The T-Mobile iPhone 5 also supports T-Mobile’s new 4G LTE network, so you have an added benefit of that as well.
T-Mobile users the wait is over. Tomorrow the iPhone 5 will finally be available to buy in T-Mobile stores and online. And while it is pretty much the same iPhone 5 that the other carriers have sold, as you’d expect the T-Mobile iPhone 5 will work with T-Mobile’s new and upcoming 4G LTE network and their current, fast 4G HSPA+ network. This means you can expect 4G like speeds on your iPhone even if where you live hasn’t gotten T-Mobile 4G LTE yet (and it likely hasn’t. T-Mobile’s 4G LTE has only launched in seven cities, though much more are expected by the end of the year). If you already have an unlocked iPhone 5 and are on T-Mobile you should also see a software update in the Settings app that will bring these 4G improvement to your iPhone as well.
T-Mobile’s iPhone 5 will be available in both white and black and in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, though when it comes to pricing things get a little more complicated.
T-Mobile is hosting a big event tomorrow in New York City, and when we say big event we mean it. New plans, new 4G LTE network and possibly the real announcement of the long awaited T-Mobile iPhone.
Expected to be announced are new plans and an update on when their 4G LTE service will be available. The new plans are said to go against everything cell phone carriers have done in the past– dropping contract plans entirely and only offering no-contract service. This means your cell phone service will be cheaper and you if you’re unhappy with T-Mobile you can switch to another carrier without having to pay costly early termination fees (usually a couple hundred dollars). The downside to not pay for a contract means the price for getting a new phone isn’t subsidized, so a Galaxy S III for example would be $549 instead of just $100 with a new contract like it is on other carriers.
Also expected is the announcement of the T-Mobile 4G LTE launch cities. T-Mobile was a few years late in launching their 3G network when compared to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint and today are a little late to the 4G LTE party as well. And while T-Mobile has done some really impressive things to make their current 3G network have 4G like speeds (and in some cases even faster than 4G LTE), tomorrow T-Mobile looks to finally officially unveil their LTE network. PC Mag has even reported on eight cities where T-Mobile’s network has been discovered, including Denver, Las Vegas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York, San Diego, San Jose, and Seattle. These can very well be some of the first cities to get T-Mobile LTE.
Of course the thing you probably care about most are the phones. T-Mobile has already announced a few 4G LTE phones— the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (which gets LTE support once you download a software update) and the upcoming BlackBerry Z10, HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4– but it is also now rumored that T-Mobile will finally share more details on when you’ll be able to buy an official T-Mobile iPhone.
Late last year T-Mobile and Apple announced that they have agreed to allow T-Mobile to sell Apple products like the iPhone. This was in December and in January of this year T-Mobile said they will sell the iPhone within “3-4 months.” As the calendar turns to April it looks like T-Mobile will follow up on that promise, and according to CNET tomorrow’s event will also feature a T-Mobile iPhone 5. The CNET report says the iPhone wouldn’t be available right after the event, but hopefully we’ll find out a price and release date for when it will finally be available. We know how badly a lot of you want a T-Mobile 4G LTE iPhone.
Unfortunately we won’t be able to make it to T-Mobile’s big event to cover it live, but as always we’ll have everything you need to know about whatever they announce later this week.