T-Mobile Getting Its Network iPhone-Ready

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-06-03 Print this article Print


While T-Mobile was unwilling to confirm the rumors that iPhone service was going to be announced soon, a company spokesperson did tell eWEEK that the company is ready to work with iPhone owners who want to make the switch.


€œToday, T-Mobile has 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,€ the spokesperson said in a prepared statement. €œIn 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,€ the statement said.


The spokesperson did confirm that T-Mobile was in the process of making spectrum available so that iPhones will be fully functional. €œIn addition, we will continue to deliver more value to customers as we expand and modernize our network,€ the spokesperson said. €œBeginning this year, we will introduce HSPA+ service in our 1900 MHz PCS spectrum. Deploying HSPA+ service in [the] 1900 spectrum makes our network compatible with a broader range of devices in the market today and going forward €“ including the iPhone.€


Apple does make it possible to buy an iPhone that will work on T-Mobile€™s network, or any GSM network, without a contract. You can buy an unlocked GSM iPhone for prices ranging from $649 for a 16GB version to $849 for a 64GB version of the iPhone 4S from Apple€™s Website or from an Apple store.


You€™ll notice that the price for a GSM iPhone is about $150 higher than the price of a no-contract iPhone from Cricket. While the Cricket phone is sold without a contract, it is not unlocked. As is the case with all CDMA phones, you can€™t just swap a SIM card to change carriers.


The Cricket phone is in fact locked to Cricket. Whether Cricket plans to unlock it so you can use it with Sprint or Verizon isn€™t known, but it€™s clear from the price difference that there€™s some sort of subsidy involved, so it would seem that Cricket is betting that enough buyers will keep using their iPhones to make it worth their while.


Apple has also been making the iPhone available to smaller regional carriers on plans that are similar to the three national carriers that offer the iPhone. The move to prepaid phones with Cricket is a new approach. There has been speculation that Apple is trying out the prepaid model with Cricket in preparation for broadening its base of customers, especially outside the United States, where prepaid phones are the norm. 

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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