back to article iPhone 4 coming to T-Mobile UK

The iPhone 4 is coming to T-Mobile UK. T-Mobile has not said when the Jobsian handset will arrive on its network, but the carrier is now advertising the thing on its website. UK carriers O2, Orange, and Vodafone have already said they will offer the phone on June 24, the same day it debuts in the US. Meanwhile, at least one …


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  1. JWS
    Thumb Up

    Data rates

    Well as it stands T-Mobile offer the best data plans by far, so O2's plan to cripple them when T-Mobile is about to launch could be a big mistake. They've just opened them selves up to loose a lot of business and T-Mobile now has an excellent level of reception in a lot of places.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      gave it a try

      I forcibly unlocked my iphone last year to escape O2 and trial the various other networks. Unfortunately, I found T-Mobile to be almost as bad as O2 (in London) - and that was without any bandwidth-draining iphones on their network of course. Something might have changed since then, but I'd strongly suggest trying out each of the networks with a PAYG sim before you lock yourself into an 18 month nightmare.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Network quality

        Second the above. I'm so sick of calls dropping or having zero data access that I'll now happily pay a bit extra for a more reliable network. T-Mobile is cheaper, but just remember that you get what you pay for.

    2. chr0m4t1c

      I'm with the other guys

      I have a T-Mobile 3G dongle that I bought because it was the cheapest on the market and I couldn't be sure how much I would actually need it.

      Turns out that I haven't needed it very often and that turned out to be a Good Thing. I think the most charitable way to describe the performance would be "not very good".

      30-35 minutes to sign into MSN - they're joking, right?

      1. jackharrer
        Thumb Down

        Me too!

        Another one Me Too Post. I've been on T-Mobile for 3 years. Their infrastructure is abysmal. Phone calls cut every now and then, but what is really bad is their data access. I used to switch to GPRS because 3G signal was so unreliable. Even on GPRS average speed was around 4-8kb (yes, bits) out of 56kb. Baaaaddddd. Good I don't really use that phone much nowadays, just to answer some calls, and such.

    3. Number6

      The other way...

      Until O2 announced their decent data plan degradation, I was considering moving there from T-Mobile in the hope that I'd get better 3G coverage when my current plan finishes. However, now I need to look at all the offerings again because they're all changing. Whatever happens, I won't be using an iPhone.

  2. MacRat
    Thumb Up

    iPhones in use on T-Mobile USA

    Keep in mind that many unlocked or jailbroken iPhones are already in use on T-Mobile in the USA.

    Granted the networking is only GPRS/EDGE, but it still works.

  3. RichyS

    Possible snag

    I think the possible snag with this theory is that TMUS have a very weird 3G setup. While the downlink is indeed 2100 (and supported by the iPhone), the uplink is in the unusual 1700MHz band. Not supported by any iPhone.

    So, unless the baseband on the iPhone can do some weird hybrid 2G/3G thing (and this would need support on the network too, I think, or you'd have to keep two simultaneous sessions open), then I can't see it working.

    You'll be fine using the iPhone 2G only though. As you have been able to on T-Mobile's US network since day 1.

    Happy to be corrected by anyone with better knowledge of TMUS' RAN.

  4. Michael Jennings

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear

    When we say that "AT&T uses 850MHz and 1900MHz", we mean that there are two distinct bands it can use, each of which contains both the uplink and downlink. That is, "850Mhz" means that both the uplink and downlink are around "850MHz", and "1900MHz" means that both the uplink and downlink are near 1900MHz. Similarly, when we say "European networks use 2100Mhz", we mean that both the uplink and downlink are near 2100MHz. However, when we say "T-Mobile uses 1700Mhz and 2100MHz", we mean 1700Mhz for the uplink and 2100Mhz for the downlink. This is not two bands, it is one, but the uplink and downlink are a fair distance apart. The idiot of an analyst quoted in this article does not understand this, and because he has heard "2100" in both the description of the iPhone and of T-Mobile's network, he has assumed they are compatible, which they are not.

    In my mind it is better to refer to T-Mobile's network as using the "AWS" band (as it is referred to by US regulators) as this avoids the confusion. I wouldn't actually say that T-Mobile's setup is all that weird - it's just different from the world outside the Americas. The AWS band has actually been allocated throughout most of the Americas (excluding Brazil, which has allocated bands mostly on the European model, as have a few places in the Carribean). There are or will shortly be networks using that band in Canada, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and more before long.

    Now, Apple's new iPhone 4 works for 3G/UMTS on the 850Mhz, 900MHz, 1900Mhz, and 2100MHz bands. That is every band in the world on which UMTS has been deployed *except* the AWS network used by T-Mobile. I think from this we should conclude the precise opposite of what the idiot analyst said: that Apple does not intend to offer the iPhone on T-Mobile for at least the next year. Apple could probably have fairly easily added support for AWS/T-Mobile if it wanted to - Nokia has managed to produce a phone supporting all five bands for UMTS and I suspect if they can so can Apple, but for now Apple has not done this. I suspect the issues are legal: it is widely believed that Apple signed a contract giving AT&T exclusivity for five years. Contracts are renegotiated all the time, but this likely likely has not been, so we probably have two more years of AT&T exclusivity.

  5. BatCat
    Jobs Horns

    why oh why...

    doesn't apple just sell its handsets unlocked and SIM free in the UK like HTC does? Surely, if I want to pay the full hardware price for a phone and put, lets say, a t-mobile PAYG SIM in it with unlimited internet & txt for £10 per month (sorry, they don't do that offer anymore, but I got on when they did ;o) ) then I should be allowed to.

    People ought to realise that if they're paying more than £10 per month for a phone contract, what they're actually doing is paying for the "free" handset on monthly installments...

    1. ThomH

      At a guess...

      ... it's because Apple calculated they'd be more likely to end up at the Nexus One end of the spectrum (per the original, direct sales model); people complaining about the price and then feeling inadequately supported. Check out the price brackets that Apple compete in on the Mac side — they're more than willing to ignore market segments that other people are extremely successful and profitable in if they don't see how they can make it work.

    2. chr0m4t1c

      It's not difficult to get one unlocked.

      O2, for example will unlock a PAYG iPhone for £15:

      I'm pretty sure the other "official" networks offer similar deals.

      And people already realise that they're buying the phone on credit, which is why very few people pay full price for sim-free or unlocked phones. Usually there's some kind of additional incentive from the provider that you can't get on a non-contract phone (such as free access to wi-fi hotspots).

      I'm not sure what your actual beef is here, other than Apple not wanting to sell sim-free phones, but the reason they don't do that is because they want the networks to support the phone properly, with add-ons like the free wi-fi and visual voicemail.

      There's not much point in buying a BlackBerry and sticking it on a network that doesn't support their push e-mail, because that's their main selling point, for the same reason there's not much point in using an iPhone on a network that doesn't support its features.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      They do sell them unlocked. They started with 3G in 2008 I think it was. They're quite spendy unlocked - £499 for a top of the line 3GS.

      1. BatCat


        ... so who's selling a factory unlocked 3GS for £499? Expansys are charging at £665.

        After-market unlocked ones don't count because every time the software gets updated they need unlocking again and the unlocking software always lags the updates.

        Who's selling the iPhone 4 factory unlocked in the UK?

        1. chr0m4t1c


          Are selling the factory unlocked iPhone4 in the UK, you can pre-order from today.

          What's the big deal with getting a factory unlocked one? None of the iPhones on sale in the UK today are branded in any way by the carriers, so if you buy a PAYG one then pay to have it unlocked you get the same phone.

          No, those ones don't need to be unlocked again when you upgrade the OS because the unlocking process is done via Apple though iTunes. You pay your unlock money to the carrier & they tell Apple to unlock the phone, then you get a text/email/whatever saying the phone is unlocked and you need to connect it to iTunes to complete the process. Job done.

    4. RichyS
      Thumb Up

      You can

      You can get an unlocked phone from places like Expansys. They're horribly expensive though, so no-one does.

      As someone above points out, it's much cheaper to buy an O2 PAYG iPhone and then pay the £15 unlock charge (which is a bit of a rip off, but there you go). That's what I did. Works a treat.

      Oh, and you can flog the O2 SIM for £40-50 on eBay, on the basis it comes with a year's free data and WiFi access.

  6. ThomH

    UK market share?

    What's the UK market share for the iPhone versus all comers? It could shed some light on the US-centric claim that Android, etc, are gaining in part because of the carrier exclusivity situation in that country.

  7. joshimitsu

    T-mobile 3G

    yeah mobile web on t-mobile has been poor on my Samsung i900, i do regularly get a 3G signal in London but it's still slow, and have only ever seen the HSDPA icon light up like, 3 times

  8. Kevin Dyas

    It's coming to 3 UK too!

    How cool, cannot wait!

  9. bobbles31

    you know....

    I swear that if a mediocre celebrity dropped an iPhone Reg would cover it.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Summarisng then...

    iPhone 4 coming to T-Mobile UK but you won't be able to use it properly. And thats before you start getting bandwidth capped.

    No thanks. I would love to be able to increase my 1MB/s landline speed by using 3G, but mobile comms (still) doesn't offer anything competitive. It doesn't look promising either, especially as the networks converge into monopolies and the useless regulators do nothing to improve the situation. Good job OFCOM :/

    1. Simon Says

      T-Mobile USA <> T-Mobile UK

      If by "won't be able to use it properly" you are referring to the earlier post about different bands for upload and download then you have got your wires crossed a bit - it is only T-Mobile USA that does that; T-Mobile UK use 3G in the normal way.

      I agree with the posters further up the thread - it is always a good idea to try out the different networks first if you are planning to switch, and most offer free PAYG SIM's with which you can try. The iPhone coming to 3UK as well is good news I think - they have a pretty good network for data and have typically had quite competitive tariffs too; it will be interesting to see if we simply see carbon copy tariffs again this time around or whether there will actually be a bit more variation.

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