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T-Mobile Announces iPhone Friendly 1900 Mhz 3G at Mobilize

T-Mobile USA uses the rather obscure 1700 MHz band (UMTS Band IV) for 3G and HSPA+ pseudo 4G. Unfortunately for T-Mobile, iPhones don't support that frequency. T-Mobile wants iPhone users so badly that they are refarming their spectrum to offer 3G data on the 1900 MHz band (Band II) that the iPhone does support. Testing has been going on for months and there have been lots of reports of T-Mobile iPhone users seeing 3G pop up on their phones in random areas across the country. Up to now T-Mobile has never confirmed where 3G on 1900 is active.

Today at GigaOM's Mobilize conference in San Francisco, T-Mobile's chief technology officer, Neville Ray announced that 3G data is now live on the iPhone friendly 1900 MHz band in Las Vegas. Ray said that T-Mobile plans to roll out 3G on 1900 in many more markets by the end of 2013. He didn't say which markets but other sources have mentioned San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Washington. There's a crowd sourced map of places where iPhone users have spotted T-Mobile 1900 3G. The new 1900 Mhz 3G service will be available to both postpaid and prepaid subscribers.

Users with current T-Mobile phones that only support 1700 Mhz 3G will not be effected by the refarming. 3G on 1700 Mhz is not going away, at least not in the next few years.

Moving on the T-Mobile's LTE roll out, Ray confirmed that LTE deployment will start early next year and will be nationwide by year end 2013. No word on if and when T-Mobile will allow prepaid customers to use LTE.

4 comments:

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  1. how can I know if my phone work in 1900 Mhz or 1700 Mhz

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Go to phonescoop.com and look up your phone's specs. Look for the line starting with "WCDMA" like:
      WCDMA 850 / 1900 / 2100
      The numbers after WCDMA are the 3G frequencies that the phone supports.

      Delete
  2. I'm new to this, but I keep reading from various sources that 1700 is an "obscure" band, but doesn't each U.S. carrier use a different band anyway? Seems like it is only obscure to Apple.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe "less common" would be a better description. 1700 Mhz is used by far fewer operators with far fewer customers compared with 850, 1900 and 2100 Mhz.

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