Tmobile 4g rollout

Posted Dec 20, 2012 at 11:55 am in Threads > Smartphones & Tablets

I was hoping someone could clarify something for me on t-mobile rolling out their hspa+ to some cities. We are not yet in a city with it but I plan on going to t-mobile as soon as my nexus 4 arrives. My wife however is staying with her iphone 4. What I am interested in is with her phone not supporting hspa+ would she be able to take advantage of 3g speeds on those rolled out networks once they arrive? Or will she still be relegated to 2g if she switched like she would be without the roll-out. T-mobile offers a much better plan for us and she is currently off contract with Att so a switch to cheaper prices would be very welcome. If she can only get 2g speeds does anyone have any other suggestions for what she could do? Straight talk was a thought for a bit but she does not want to jailbreak and relies heavily on mms/sms. A sim card swap would probably be too much as well for if she ever had to restart her phone so any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • Sambomojo

    From what I understand, theres hspa+ on 1700/2100 mhz bands (normal tmo frequencies) and now theres hspa+ on 1900 in some markets. I think the plan is to support hspa+ on 1900 mhz in all markets but for now it’s only in a handful of cities. OK more than a handful, but not everywhere.

    What city are you guys in? I know here in Seattle we have 1900mhz rolled out so you should be able to get pretty fast speeds with an iphone or other unlocked phones.

  • NamelessTed

    There is a map of reported sightings of the new 1900MHz towers on T-Mobile so it should give you an idea of where it is available now. And they should continue to upgrade their towers moving forward, but I don’t think there is any way of knowing what markets will be getting it first.

    If you are in one of those locations, the iPhone should work fine. I use an AT&T phone on Solavei (which used Tmo towers). A couple of months ago I would only get EDGE data, slow as shit. Now I get 3G/HSPA in most places but it will still jump down to EDGE once in a while.

    One option you might have is to take your Nexus 4 and put it on Solavei so it is only $50 a month for you. And if she really needs to keep the iPhone and still have good data then stay on AT&T for the time being until a new iPhone releases that is compatible with the TMo bands in your area or she gets a different phone, or Tmo adds 1900MHz to your area.

    Personally, the EDGE is useless but I had access to WiFi most of the times that I needed to use data. the 3G/HSPA is mostly useful when on the road and needing to get some directions as anything text based like email and messaging uses so little data that it didn’t matter if I was on EDGE. Though streaming music isn’t the best over EDGE.

  • kinderdm

    So I think i get it then. When they bring it, her phone should work at 3g speeds. I was just worried that because she only had an iphone 4 and it does not support hspa+ that she would not get 3g, but it sounds like it is there as well as the hspa+ correct. Thanks for the responses.

    • jaxidian

      I think you’re using some incorrect terms and language here.

      The iPhone 4 DOES support HSPA+ but it only does so on AT&T’s frequencies and not T-Mobile’s frequencies. You are right to be conscious of this and asking questions so some of your understanding is correct. Specifically, if you try to bring an iPhone over to T-Mobile in an area that hasn’t been “Refarmed”, it will only get Edge speeds (which vary in speeds but tends to be ~100-300kbps).

      Now what is this “Refarming” thing? This is NOT T-Mobile deploying 3G or HSPA+. This is T-Mobile taking an area that already has 3G and/or HSPA+ and making it work on an additional frequency (i.e. AT&T’s).

      Why is this important to you? It sounds like you think your Nexus 4 will also get 2G until T-Mobile finishes “refarming” in your area. This may be very incorrect. If T-Mobile is planning on refarming their network in your area soon, then it likely means that your Nexus 4 will already get a good HSPA+ connection right now while her iPhone would indeed be at 2G. As far as I’m aware, all of the areas that T-Mobile is “Refarming” already has HSPA+, and they’re just adding the one additional frequency.

      Think of it like this. Imagine it’s a TV station instead of a cellular provider. Imagine Fox airs The Simpsons in HD on channel 18 but you have a TV that’s stuck only on channel 19. Any TV that is capable of tuning into channel 18 can watch The Simpsons in HD. But if Fox decides to also broadcast The Simpsons on channel 19, then all-of-a-sudden, your TV that’s stuck on channel 19 can then also watch The Simpsons in HD. In this case, your iPhone is stuck only on channel 19 and is at the mercy of Fox to broadcast the show on that additional frequency.

      The only other thing to keep in mind is that the iPhone 4 only supports HSPA+ (21mbps) and not HSPA+ (42mbps). This means that the iPhone 4 will always be a bit slower than your Nexus 4. It’s still HSPA+, just a bit slower.

      • kinderdm

        From what I’ve read the iphone 4 does not support HSPA+, this only started with the 4s which neither of us has. I am aware that my nexus 4 will run at full speed since it works with multiple frequencies but thanks for the info on the 21mbps vs 42, wasn’t aware of that. As long as my wife can get 3g speed on the t-mobile network then we will be happy. I see what your talking about with then activating the hspa+ on the network that’s already in place. It seems maybe she could get 3g right now and if that’s the case then the time to switch is fast approaching. I just don’t see any point on paying ATT full subsidized prices when we are off contract. No offer from them to lower the bill to keep us either so their loss. And since we are off contract there is no real penalty to try it out and then switch her back if it doesn’t work out, just need to put in to have her phone unlocked. Also thanks for the very detailed response.

  • jaxidian

    Also, to help you know what to expect, I encourage you to go get a 1-month prepaid SIM (do the $30 100 minute 5GB data plan) and try it with both your phone and her phone (just share that one SIM). This will allow you to very quickly, cheaply, and easily figure out what to expect for each of you before you lock into any plans or make any major decisions.

    • WlfHart

      Great idea! Thanks for the tip. I might be moving to another state next year and think I’ll use that trick before settling on a new plan (if I don’t stay month to month).

    • kinderdm

      Thanks, this is definitely the plan and with my nexus 4 I will not lock into any plan. if she decides to upgrade eventually we will have tried it out for sure. The $30 plan is what I’m looking at getting to start.