T-Mobile carrier update coming this week to enable LTE on existing iPhones

While nearly two million people have brought iPhones onto T-Mobile's network over the years in spite of the fact that the carrier won't actually offer the iPhone until the 12th of April, they've been saddled with service that's not as good as it could have been. Those existing iPhones have come mostly from AT&T and unlocked direct from Apple, and AT&T and T-Mobile are both GSM/HSPA/LTE networks, iPhones programed for AT&T don't utilize the same set of bands as they ideally would on T-Mobile. That's resulted in less than ideal service quality, even if T-Mobile's network is good in the area. According to TmoNews, that's set to change on April 5th, when T-Mobile plans to push a carrier update to iPhones on the network that will bring official visual voicemail and MMS to such devices as well as enabling LTE access for unlocked iPhone 5 users.

T-Mobile's LTE network is still in its early stages, offering 4G service in just a few markets under their new service plans. iPhone users on T-Mobile, be they unlocked or new purchasers of the upcoming T-Mobile iPhone 5, will still have access to Magenta's HSPA+ network. Enabling visual voicemail brings one of the iPhone's early marquee features to T-Mobile users, and while the iPhone has supported MMS for a few years now, that support is dependent on the carrier - and until there was an official Apple-T-Mobile relationship, that carrier support wasn't going to be there.

It's interesting to see that T-Mobile will be issuing a software update to unlocked devices on their network. Those iPhones have come from a mix of sources, primarily customers that have broken free from AT&T and Apple's own unlocked iPhone sales, which Apple started selling in the US two years ago.

Source: TmoNews

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Derek Kessler

Managing Editor of Mobile Nations, occasional web designer, Army musician, armchair pundit, news addict, all-around nerd, professional ranter, and user of many phones.

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Reader comments

T-Mobile carrier update coming this week to enable LTE on existing iPhones


I hace a question does this Lte/ hspa account for the iPhone 4s. A friend of mine has a iPhone 4s on AT&T with 4g, if I Where to buy a iPhone 4s instead of the 5 will I get 4g / hspa on T-Mobile ?

Don't listen to him. Depending on your area you may or may not get hspa+21 speeds. It depends on wether their network has undergone the reframing process in your area. If it has you WILL get hspa speeds. If you live in a major city then most likely you will.

Awesome! Glad options are becoming more and more varied. I hope T-Mobile can ramp up their LTE roll out. I seriously would like to ditch verizon.

This is great news, T-Mobile is starting to break out. I hope they get the subscriber base to afford rapid LTE and full network expansion. It would be more tempting to people than Cricket in the US. Cricket plans are a little cheaper but you have to pay full price for the phones.

Free at last, free at last thank god almighty we are free at last.
Lol but seriously as someone who has an iPhone on t-mobile this is great news. Now I will finally get visual voicemail, and have other parts of my phone work properly. Hopefully they can take 3rd place from sprint and steadily move on up.