T-Mobile US waiting on Apple, AWS-capable iPhone

T-Mobile US waiting on Apple, AWS-capable iPhone

While Apple has launched the iPhone 4S on AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, and is even about to launch on regional carrier, C-Spire, T-Mobile says they're still waiting for their turn, and for a version of world's most popular handset that runs on their rare AWS high speed frequencies.

T-Mobile thinks the iPhone is a good device and we’ve expressed our interest to Apple to offer it to our customers. Ultimately, it is Apple’s decision. The issue remains that Apple has not developed a version of the iPhone with technology that works on our fast 3G and 4G networks. We believe a capable version of the iPhone for our 3G and 4G networks would offer an additional compelling option for our customers on a fast 4G network. However, the iPhone is not the only option to experience the benefit that smartphones offer.

Note: When T-Mobile talks about 4G, they mean HSPA+, not the truly next-generation LTE. Like several smaller carriers in the US and Canada, T-Mobile operates their higher speed network on the AWS frequencies, which means the current iPhones can't run on them. (An unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile can only run on their older, slower, 2G EDGE network.)

Maybe Apple doesn't want to complicate their current one-model-rules-them-all strategy of a single GSM/CDMA world phone, and simple adding AWS to the radio stack isn't an option, or maybe they're waiting to see how the AT&T-Mobile merger pans out before deciding.

All we know for sure is that T-Mobile customers remain among the increasingly smaller group without access to a fully functional iPhone on their carrier of choice.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

TomTom updated, now optimized for iPad

Next up →

OtterBox Defender Series Case for iPad 2 only $49.95 (50% off!)

Reader comments

T-Mobile US waiting on Apple, AWS-capable iPhone


I've been a tmobile customer for about 5 years now and I can tell you that in the last year or so things have gone downhill really fast. I just cant wait till my contract is up so I can move to sprint and finally give an Iphone a try.

I just want T-Mobile and all its representatives to shut up and not say anything about the iPhone until they say "we're selling the iPhone". Trying to defend themselves just makes customers more angry.

"Still waiting"... how hilarious is that?? It also will get to a point with Apple that they will tell you to stuff your Androids in your shorts... you'll NEVER get an iPhone even if you're part of ATT !
The CMO of T-Mumble making the statements he did about "...waiting for Apple's call" has GOT to be one of the lamest things ever to come out of a CMO's mouth in human history... The whole management team at T-Mumble should be summarily dismissed for gross incompetence.

I honestly think that they are waiting for the "AT&T-Mobile" merger to play out. If it gets settled sooner rather than later, then Apple would have wasted a bunch of money on the antenna that AT&T is planning on giving the ax to in order to expand their LTE network, anyway... that's just my opinion.

Well the option is make a t-mobile specific iPhone like they did for Verizon, and then deal with the fragmentation they actively try to avoid, or add an AWS radio to all of their millions and millions of phones and hope t-mobile sales will offset the cost. But seeing as how sprint had to pay out absurd amount of money to carry the iPhone even though apple didn't have to change anything, I doubt that's going to happen.
Sorry T-mobile, you just suck too much.

I hope T-Mo get the iPhone. I have a lot of friends on that network who would be all over the iPhone.