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'You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means'

T-Mobile is certainly making a splash on the U.S. carrier scene lately. And if you believe even half of what you read on places like Google+ and Twitter, a lot of folks are considering switching from where they are now to the John Legere dog-and-pony show. For some folks that will work well, for others not so much. All we can say is to check things out very well before you do anything permanent, and to remember that T-Mobile loves your money more than they love you — just like the rest.

But right now, we want to talk about the networks and what it takes to be fully "T-Mobile compatible." When the Google Play edition Moto G was announced, Google said it was T-Mobile compatible. It's right there on Google Play in the footnotes even. The Galaxy S4 Google Play edition says the same thing in the footnotes on its page, too.

But these two phones will act very different for most T-Mobile customers. We mentioned network support when we told you about the GPe Moto G the other day, but we want to take a few minutes and explain how all this mess works.

We're not talking about LTE, or the lack of it on the Moto G. We're talking the difference between 21Mbps HSPA (or higher) 3G and EDGE. You see, compatible doesn't mean "good."

For a phone to properly operate on T-Mobile's HSPA network — the fast 3G or faux 4G network that T-Mobile is known for — the device needs to support the correct bands in the radio. Look at the detailed specs of the Google Play edition Moto G and HTC One versus the Galaxy S4, and you'll find the network support section. The Galaxy S4 reads 850, 1700, 1900 and 2100 MHz for "3G", while the Moto G and HTC One read 850, 900, 1900 and 2100 MHz.

The missing 1700 on the Moto G and HTC One makes all the difference.


For a phone to support fast 3G (technically, EDGE is still 3G) on T-Mobile in most of the U.S., it needs to have both 1700MHz and 2100MHz support.

For a small but growing portion of users where 1900MHz spectrum was repurposed from EDGE to HSPA by T-Mobile, this won't apply. But once you leave any of those areas — find them here — you'll be stuck on the big E and have poor speeds. Technically, the phone is still compatible because you have a voice and data connection, but its a data connection that sucks. Nobody wants a network that sucks.

LTE support, while a different animal, is also something to consider. T-Mobile uses the 1700Mhz frequency on channels D, E and F. That's E-UTRA (Evolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access) Band 4 and is commonly known (by folks to whom this sort of thing is common) as AWS-1. If your phone doesn't support it, you won't get LTE on T-Mobile.

This isn't really new. We saw the same thing with the HTC One Google Play edition. Great phone on AT&T, great phone with a not so great network for most people on T-Mobile when they weren't in an area with LTE.

Until phones that can support every GSM/UMTS/HSPA/EDGE/LTE radio are invented, or something happens that makes all GSM networks interoperable on all frequencies, this is something we have to deal with. We're just here to try and give the heads up before you start putting money into anyone's cash register.


Reader comments

When it comes to carrier networks, compatible doesn't mean good


Its true. I have HTC ONE GPe. I was unaware of this fact that I changed my phone twice and nagging Google and HTC for not having data on my phone.

1. it depends on where you live. If 1900 was refarmed where you live then obviously you aren't affected.
2. The moto X has 850/900/1700/1900/2100 so everything should work regardless of where you live.

There are very few refarmed areas. The only one near where I travel is Las Vegas. Otherwise it is so slow it is almost unusable. If not in a refarmed area, it seems slower than Verizon on 1x. Think of the old 14.4k dial-up. Not exactly usable on even an average modern webpage. Rather than seconds to load, it is literally minutes, if it works at all.

I am sorry, but Verizon 1X is theoretically and realistically a LOT slower than EDGE speeds. CDMA has the slowest 2G speeds anywhere. I recently changed from Verizon to AT&T for this very reason. I was sick and tired of the on/off behavior when travelling and switching between 4G-LTE and 1X. This is not the case with AT&T or any GSM based network where the handover from LTE/UMTS to their 2G/Edge areas is seamless and just works. There is absolutely no comparison. Sorry if I seem blunt but I assure you its not an opinion, its a fact.

A lot of T-Mobile's network around here is GPRS, which is basically as fast as Verizon 1x. So you might be onto something.

Which has no relevance to this conversation, since it wasn't one of the phones mentioned and has all the needed bands.

All you have to do is to change the AWS file in whatever phone you have to TMO version. It's all on the Web. Get the qualcom software, download the TMO AWS file and the you go. It's really simple. I have an unlocked att GS4 I changed the radio to TMO AWS and am now enjoying 4G :) child's play!

Um, you can't alter your phone's hardware by changing a file. If you have a phone whose radio chip/antenna is physically incapable of communicating at AWS1 frequencies, nothing you download off the net is going to fix that.

Did you know you could convert a T-Mo or AT&T variant of the HTC ONE into a dev edition or GPe edition?

Supposably AT&T and T-Mobile HTC Ones are compatible with the GPe ROM, based on a little reading at xda-developers. There are also T-Mobile Radio firmwares on the T-Mobile One section, so maybe it's possible to flash the radio to the AT&T or GPe version in order to support the right T-Mobile bands?

Some phones the Bands ARE THERE some not.

AT&T Galaxy S4 i337 has the bands which can be enabled for TMobile.

TMobile/Metro Galaxy S4 SGH 919 has Bands open so you can use fully on Both Carriers (if unlocked) .

I am trying to figure out if Galaxy S5 Mini will have the 1700/2100 Bands present , to be enabled by the AWS Software Unlock Procedure OR Bands not there...

The Nexus 5 completely supports both AT&T and T-Mobile on all various bands and technologies. Makes sense considering T-Mobile sells the Nexus 5 directly.

Yeah, that chip seems to be what all phones should start using. It even supports Sprint. Who cares about Verizon.

I believe it supports the Verizon LTE bands as well, but I think Verizon manually prevented any Nexus 5's from connecting to its network. A lover's spat between them and Google, it would seem.

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Doesn't matter, though, as at the moment, Verizon does not have VoLTE and the phone is not compatible with it anyways so it could not make phone calls even if the LTE network works on the N5.

Not really. First, the whole idea of different "bands" is fairly technical. Much of the general populace probably doesn't even know the difference between GSM and CDMA, much less frequencies. Second, finding information on which frequencies are supported by a phone and which ones are used in what area is not exactly easy. Yeah, you can usually find phone support if you look hard enough. But carrier band information can be nearly impossible to find. It's hard enough to get a decent estimate of data coverage at a 3G, HSPA/+, LTE level, much less actual bands.

Okay, well, that helps on the phone side, if you know to look there. But what about the carrier side? Even if I can find out what is in use around me, what about places where I might travel or even move? How do I decide which bands I need?

Really, it comes down to, if it says GSM or even "works with T-Mobile" (or AT&T), why doesn't it just (all) work?

Biggest question is why does the GPe Moto G not have 1700MHz while the one from Motorola does? That just doesn't make sense.

Quote: "Biggest question is why does the GPe Moto G not have 1700MHz while the one from Motorola does? That just doesn't make sense."

For whatever reason, the Moto G GPE seems to be based on the "Global GSM Model", not the "US GSM Model", if you compare the bands to the Moto G Website:

Global GSM Model:
GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+ up to 21 Mbps (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)

US GSM Model:
GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+ up to 21 Mbps (850, 1700 (AWS), 1900 MHz)

Wonder why Moto went w/ the global version for the GPE. Are GPE devices even available overseas?

Not everyone will know to look there.

Posted via VZW Moto X on the Android Central App

While I agree that it may be technical information. If you are going outside of your carrier's store for phones you should understand the concept of what bands you need on a phone.

However, T-mobile is partially to blame for the fact that some users are confused by this, they advertise that any unlocked AT&T user can bring their phone to T-mobile and fail to mention that AT&T phones may be incompatible with certain portions of their network.

They really should develop two classifications that would be clearer. something like 100% compatible and some version of partially compatible ( I know that's not the best way to say it)

I don't know how to best word it, but it should be fairly easy to say
For full compatibility ensure your phone supports AWS and 1900 Mhz HSPA and AWS LTE.
If they simply advertised the bands people would know what to look for.
I've never seen a phone for sale off contract anywhere that didn't have the bands in the description.

Maybe put it like "T-Mobile Compatible" for those that will technically work (GPE HTC One and Moto G) and "T-Mobile Optimal" (or Optimized) for devices like the Nexus 5 and the GPE Galaxy S4. I think those two phrases carry the kind of connotations we're looking for here (especially if you have them side by side "is your phone Optimized or just Compatible?")

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Phones that support ridiculous numbers of frequencies/network technologies exist - think the iPhone 5S, Nexus 5, etc. It's just an area where device manufacturers and the carriers who order the phones can cut cost.

I thought the 5S had the same chip as the iPad Mini 2 and the iPad Air: the chip that supports all US carrier networks?

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

The AT&T 5S. But the T-Mobile 5S supports all bands. If you had a T-Mobile 5S and it didn't work everywhere your nexus does, it was broken.

You're right about it not supporting all frequencies, but if you bought your iPhone in the US and it wasn't a Sprint iPhone, which would be locked anyway, it worked just fine on T-Mobile.

The Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile iPhone 5S and 5C all have the exact same hardware. And since all LTE Verizon phones ship unlocked, if you were to pay full price on a 5S or 5C to use on either of those three carriers, your best option is to buy the Verizon model. That way it will will work on AT&T and T-Mobile just like an unlocked model from each of those carriers, but it will also work on Verizon.

Actually there are only 4 different models. There's an A1533 GSM and A1533 CDMA. Both have the same internals. It's just that the GSM model has its CDMA hardware disabled since CDMA carriers typically don't activate phones on their network that didn't originate on their network.

Technically speaking, you could use an AT&T iPhone 5S on Verizon, but Verizon would never activate it.

I thought that to get 42 HSPA+, you needed 1700 and 2100. If you had only 1700 or 2100, you only get 21 HSPA+. Am I wrong?

One of the 1700/2100 bands is for upload and the other for download. You need both.

As for 21/42 speeds, that depends on if your device supports channel bonding--it should specifically mention 42 Mbps as a theoretical speed in the device spec sheet if it supports it. In this mode, your device and the carrier tower have two channel-widths in each 1700 and 2100, effectively doubling capacity... from 21 to 42. Think of it as using a four lane highway instead of a two lane highway.

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I don't mean to be rude but I'd like to clear a few things Jerry didn't clearly mention. When the band 1700 MHz is written, the name refers to UMTS/E-UTRA Band 4. Band 4 aka AWS-1 is a paired spectrum (a requirement in FDD networks) that uses 1710–1755 MHz for uplink and 2110–2155 MHz for downlink.

2100 MHz band that we are identifying as necessary is incorrect. 2100 MHz is an entirely different band. 2100 MHz (IMT) is UMTS/E-UTRA Band 1, which uses 1920-1980 MHz for uplink and 2110-2170 MHz for downlink. This band is primarily used in Europe and Asia

This means if we see support for 1700 MHz not 2100 MHz, the phone will still work. We do NOT need both bands.

Frequency bands for FDD networks are scattered all over the spectrum although they may be simply called 1700MHz 1900MHz and 2100MHz because the uplink and downlink frequencies are separate and spaced out. I think manufacturers should use the Band numbers (like Band 1 for 2100MHz, Band 4 for 1700 MHz) instead of frequencies to ease the confusion.

EDGE is considered 3G? That's news to me! I always thought EDGE was 2G, and the first 3G technology was UMTS.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Yeah, that's news to me. I'd never call EDGE 3G.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Edge is not a 3g technology, author is mistaken. UMTS is T-Mobile's real 3g tech (3.5g as they used to say). Hspa+ could be said to be 3.9g since it's almost faster than a lot of the early 4g tech.

I have never seen my phone on Sprint LTE get higher than my friend's T-mobile HSPA+ phone.

Sprint LTE still needs some work. My friend's S4 on T-Mobile almost always beats my Sprint Nexus 5's LTE, whether he's connected to LTE or HSPA+

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Either way, for me, edge was just as fast as Sprint 3g most of the time. On g it gets better than Sprint and on hspa it already starts surpassing 6mbps. Only area I get edge is a small area on way back to my house. The other 95% of the time I get hspa+ or LTE.

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Yep you are right - edge is 2g and UMTS 3g
Edge was limited to around 236 kbs and first 3g was around 356 and up, bringing the streaming capability to networks for the first time and phone to phone direct video calls.
I remember ordering a few Sony Ericsson models from EU back in 05 and disappointments when realized that I was stuck w Edge on Tmo and later Att.

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Technically yes. The progression was AMPS->GSM->EDGE->UMTS->E-UTRA (LTE). There's also the CDMA line of succession as well. EDGE, UMTS and early versions of LTE are considered "3G" technologies.

I thought LTE-A and WiMAX 2.0(or whatever the latest version is called) were the only official 4G techs...Sprint WiMAX and all existing versions of LTE are merely jazzed up 3G

Hmm I'm confused. On Google Play my Nexus 5 is listed has having 850/900/1800/1900 MHz GSM bands but Phone Arena also lists 800, 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz under UMTS bands. The Moto G is also listed as having those UMTS bands. To be honest, I don't even know what UMTS is but I seem to get HSPA+ or LTE just fine most of the time on T-Mo.

GSM and UMTS are different. GSM is the 1G/2G network that currently carries voice and all data up through EDGE. UMTS is what carries the 3G (4G?) HSPA/HSPA+ data. In order to get HSPA/+ data, you need a phone that has 1700 and 2100 UMTS. Or, if you live in an area where T-Mobile has repurposed their 1900 MHz holdings, you need a phone that supports the 1900 MHz UMTS bands.

In the US, you don't really need to worry about the GSM bands. Pretty much every GSM phone out supports both T-Mobile's and AT&T's GSM bands. That's why back in the day, before 3G, it was really easy to switch between them.

EDGE is not for voice, it is only for data. GSM is voice only.

And it goes GSM > GPRS > EDGE (3G)> WCDMA (UMTS)> HSPA > HSPA+ > LTE CAT3 > LTE CAT4 > LTE-A

Wow, I'm actually in before the T-Mobile bashing, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I'm surprised that Richard hasn't replied to this, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

It was sarcasm, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

It should be more hate for manufacturers than T-MO.
If the $350 NEXUS 5 has all these bands why can't your $650 GPe device?
Either do it right or don't do it all
That's how I'm feeling anyway.

Google doesn't care about making money on the phone. There is no way those manufacture's are making 100%+ profit on phones.

Have you seen a Nexus 5? No way that phone costs $350 to make.
I'm positive LG is still making a a bit of profit on these.

I believe it costs somewhere between $200 and $250, but when you consider marketing fees, labor, and other factors, the price can add up. I'm sure they're still making some profit, but it isn't much.

I think you mean "carriers only want to buy devices that support their existing network tech...then OEMs build to that standard" made it seem that Carriers themselves are the OEMs

This just irks me. Pentaband GSM/EDGE/3G/HSPA+ radios with LTE have existed for a very long time now. They are not new. They are not a big deal. In fact, they are built into the most common chipsets (snapdragon S4/S4Pro/400/600/800). I get corners need to be cut to keep costs down, but COME ON, think how much money a manufacturer could save by sticking in a couple extra antenna and then only having one device, Hardware-wise, that could have whatever carrier's software on it. Something like the Moto G not having at least pentaband HSPA+ is frankly ridiculous. No LTE? there are plenty of rest excuses that could be made. But seriously, who here would gladly tack 10 more dollars onto the price of a moto g, and be able to get HSPA+42? would make all the difference in the world.

Not to be rude, but I believe the people 'here' are not the target market for the moto g. Motorola is trying to reach the other 5 billion people who dont have smartphones and are accustom to using feature phones with NO HSPA speeds, or LTE. So that $10 bucks could be the difference maker for them

"Not to be rude, but I believe the people 'here' are not the target market for the moto g"

Actually, when it comes to the GPe version of the phone, we are the market. Who other than phone geeks cares if they get the pure Google UI?

the price point IMO is what marks the target audience not the pure google UI, because geeks like us wouldnt want something with such low end internals. But who knows, you could be right. Google is the only one that knows who they reach with this device

I was gonna say, I actually think the Moto G has a large target audience. I'm seriously considering switching from Verizon to T-Mobile and picking one up to tide me over until the next Nexus phone comes out and I have more money to throw at a new phone I don't *really* need. According to my latest Speedtest results, HSPA+ might actually be faster than the LTE I get on my i535 GS3. Both have 720p screens and the Moto G has a quad-core processor--the only thing I'd be sacrificing would be the camera, and the photos that come off my GS3 aren't exactly print quality anyway...

You can't go wrong with the US Nexus 5 and Tmobile. I'm on the $30/month prepay plan and it's great. Speed is excellent. I had a Nexus 4 before and it was also great with only HPSA+ and no LTE. The N5 is even better with both on Tmobile. I can't imagine paying for Verizon... it would cost me more than double what I pay now and I don't think you can say any longer that their LTE network is any better than tmobile unless you live in the boonies... If you did live in the boonies AT&T might be best to actually get a signal.

I actually rooted and put a hybrid radio on my Nexus 4 and the LTE signal is great both in Orlando and closer to my house. In fact, Tmo just turned on LTE at my house and the upload speeds are faster than cable. I've hit 40mbps sustained in Orlando and around 25mbps at home. I'm also on the $30 prepaid plan, using Sparephone for VOIP via Google Voice...although sadly that will soon cease to work.

I used to have Sprint and the data speeds were horrible. In fact, HSPA+ is faster than their WiMax ever was, even in a great coverage area like Seattle, WA. Tmobile is awesome until I hit EDGE, at which point only calls, texting, and Google voice work. No streaming audio/video on EDGE, not even MAPS. Luckily, EDGE signals are becoming rarer.

What I can't figure out is what the "3g" symbol means on my Nexus 4 when it also has the "H" and "H+" symbols in addition to the 4g (LTE).

Does the moto g which is sold through motorola also feature these discrepancies? I know they have 2 versions they sell and I assumed the one on google play was the global variant not the US
Edit: I checked it out on the motorola site and apparently the US version does NOT have this discrepancy. I wish they sold both versions on the play store so that the average consumer gets the benefit of knowing about this, instead of being stuck with the slower speeds :-/

While it may not APPEAR to have these discrepancies, it does not support Channel bonding for some ungodly reason (even though it's chipset/radio does) so it's limited to HSPA+21 on t-mobile, and cannot access the far better HSPA+42 network. (Or LTE, but I think we all knew that)

Never knew what all this meant. However this made stop and think. I was prepared to make the move to t-mobile, with all the craziness I actually thought about the big jump. When I did a check on our area I found that we live in a small Cove and couldn't even get 3g. I called and asked them and they tried to pull me aboard by telling me we would be fine. Ha! I know first hand how bad carriers want you to abandon ship. I say stay with what you know works. Att actually have us a free micro cell to stay with them.

...and Sprint will give you an Airave. And T-Mobile has seamless WiFi calling on almost every Android phone (excepting the Nexus ones).

Yeah, it shocks me that AT&T and Sprint give you a device yet T-Mobile just uses Wi-Fi. Why do the others not have their own Wi-Fi calling?

I apologize that you're an American-hating dick. =)

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I don't get that guy Marius comment, it isn't Jerry's mobile standards, it's the ITU, which is also made up of Europeans.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

@Jay Holm I don't get it, either. Instead of taking the opportunity to join the discussion and offer some constructive information, he took the opportunity to insult an entire country. I wouldn't waste time worrying about that idiot and his idiotic opinion.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

By "your" I'm assuming you mean "human" because the standards body defining the "G's" is global - not US only.

So I'm curious, what race are you and what planet do you come from? What's it like there? How long do you intend to stay with us?

huh what do the ITU know? ;) seriously though I've had edge and 3g and edge ain't 3g in the real world.

I agree! But they are the people who make the standards.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Wow if GPRS was considered 2.5 g w it's 54kbs + then Apple should Have called it's first phone 4Gs.
I had no clue it was like that - in Europe my carriers were talking different language I guess. Live and learn
Sincere apology :)

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Based on Wikipedia edge is just enhanced gprs not 3g so apologies can go back and forth :))

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Because we all know that Wikipedia's definition overrides the ITU's. In fact, I think Wikipedia is actually the one writing the standards.

I am using a moto g on tmo. In my city, I am almost always on 3g. If I travel, I see edge frequently, but I am willing to live with it. Still happy with my purchase. I am on WiFi 90 percent of my life anyway

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If you buy the "US unlocked" version of the original Moto G from Motorola, you get 1700 (AWS) HSPA+, which gives you full service on T-Mobile.

I am using a moto g on tmo. In my city, I am almost always on 3g. If I travel, I see edge frequently, but I am willing to live with it. Still happy with my purchase. I am on WiFi 90 percent of my life anyway

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Wow it seems that ATT just dropped a couple of "sponsored" bucks to this writer to bash T-Mobile that bad.. Nasty, very nasty..

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That's exactly what happened. Excuse me while i go shopping for a racehorse with all this money ...


For the record, I'm a happy T-Mobile customer and have been for years and years. 

Thank you for the quick reply and much respect to you for taking the time to do it, I just switched from EVil Verizon to T-Mobile and couldn't be happier, but you did sound pretty harsh though, a couple of people here at work were reading the article with me and they said the same, but you're the writer and you know what's up and thanks again for replying, have a great day!

He wasn't being harsh. That's just the reality of the situation. One that not everyone is aware of. Because it is a somewhat technical and confusing issue for non techie types.

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If you agree so much that Jerry wasn't being harsh, maybe you should offer an apology. Just an observation.

One word: Nexus.

The Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 both are compatible with all the appropriate bands for AT&T AND T-Mobile. Yes, it can be done. Repurposing a carrier device with stock Android and putting it in the Google Play Store is kinda cool, but it's not a Nexus. Nexus rules all.

I'm confused because i just switched my at&t htc one to tmobile and i will pick up everything from h to 3g 4g and lte on my status bar. And the speed has gotten as high as 33mbps on my speedtest app. Looking at the radios that my phone should have, i dont understand how im getting these connections especially lte since it doesn't have aws. Im in birmingham, al. Anyone have and explanation?

Your AT&T HTC one has 4G-LTE Bands 2, 4, 5 and 17.
the 4 is the same one as T-MO. therefore you get LTE on T-MO
Problem solved

On the AT&T website. Go to their site and go to the HTC ONE. Look at the specs.

I actually found out about this when the N4 came out and you could unlock band 4 LTE and it only worked on a tiny AT&T market, T-MO, and Canada. So therefore all AT&T phones actually have band 4 since they actually use it in select markets.

Along 59, 459 and 20 towers have been switched to use the same 3G as AT&T, and you have a decent LTE network there.

You're in one of the places I mentioned where this doesn't matter as much.

What about refarming the 850mhz that EDGE is on???

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

T-Mobile has just one 850 MHz license. That's why they can't provide the same rural coverage or in building penetration as AT&T.

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In real world usage, EDGE is 2G and UMTS is 3G but EDGE can only be considered 3G in theory because it's got the same speed as UMTS which is 3G.

So how is EDGE 3G? Does this mean EDGE = UMTS /UMTS = EDGE? Mind you only real world usuage matters or is this a US metric?

This message was brought to you by the numbers 0 and 1

2G, 3G, 4G.. They're all just labels that can only be made "true" by the people defining these standards.
What does it matter anyway? Why is this even an argument? Call it what you want.

Sounds like you're taking a dig at T-Mobile. The same forum that just blasted at&t for attempting to monopolize the data world with sponsored data. Atleast I can see why with at&t. This article is unprofessional.


Sounds like you stopped reading the article once you saw "T-Mobile" & "something you deemed negative" in the same paragraph.

I definitely took that into consideration when I left Sprint. Left Sprint anyway and so far I'm really happy with T-Mobile. I will go with AT&T if I run into coverage issues but so far so good. I didn't have an issue with bands because I just bought a T-Mobile phone. I also had a nexus 5 which doesn't run into this issue.

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I also was with Sprint just switched my line to T-mobile yesterday. Before making the switch I tried pre-paid for a couple months on my Nexus 5 and was blown away by the speeds I was getting vs the garbage I was getting on Sprint with an HTC One. So far so good with T-mo and if I start running into issues (main concerns will be when I leave metro areas) I will give ATT a try. Hopefully it doesn't come to that though...

Good article, this is something a lot of people would probably overlook and then end up unhappy about.

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Does anyone know about a T-mobile Galaxy Note 3 going to AT&T? If anyone can give me any input on this, I would appreciate it!

If you still haven't purchased the note 3, just buy one for tmobile, if you already have a note 3 from att then just sell on swappa and then buy a tmobile version. If that doesn't work for you then the note 3 should work, it just has to be set to the att apn settings or something like that. I'm not too familiar with that but I'm sure plenty of forums on xda can help. good luck and definitely check out swappa

If you want to jump to T-Mobile and are not sure the phone to buy the simple answer is to buy one from T-Mobile and you will have no issues. My area has both LTE and also the refarmed towers along with obviously the 1700 frequency, I get faster speeds than any Carrier in my area and that means all of them. Now that Jerry has scared you away from T-Mobile, there is nothing to be scared of, simple, try it for a week, nothing to loose, if you get great service and most areas do, you will be thrilled. I'm getting 15-20mn down on HSPA+ network and 30-40mb on LTE. These speeds are consistant, not spiked. I have real unlimited data without throttling speeds. I also get free hot spot thrown in, all for 85 bucks a month. Sounds like someone is locked in on that ATT scum Carrier. That is your problem. Don't listen to anyone including me, try it you will be very happy you did.

This whole thing in US about compatibility is broken. No average guy is going to go through all the bands it supports while buying an unlocked device. That's the reason why carriers have such strong hold. Come here to India once. There is nothing called not compatible. All the phones released work on all networks and no need to think twice while switching carrier. Just purchase a sim for half dollar and switch. Its that easy.

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Yes, very simply. If you are moving to a new phone. That's the only way to get the speed. But, you will be thankful that you did. Unless, of course, you need coverage in the mountains or on the coast without walking into the water. Btw, coverage in the water on the Oregon Coast is awesome. Just check the tides. For most people in urban/suburban areas your data will BLAZE like never before! Tmob user for 12 years!

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I got burned on this with my unlocked HTC One. At least I am aware of this now and will not make the same mistake twice! That's why I have the Xperia directly from T-Mobile so when I travel, I won't have to worry about this issue.

I'd like Jerry to make a few changes in the article to correct some technical confusion.

First, We do NOT need both 1700 MHz and 2100 MHz, we only need 1700 MHz. I'll explain in the following paragraphs.

When the band 1700 MHz is written as supported, the name refers to UMTS/E-UTRA Band 4. Band 4 aka AWS-1 is a paired spectrum (a requirement in FDD networks) that uses 1710–1755 MHz for uplink and 2110–2155 MHz for downlink.

2100 MHz band that we are identifying as necessary for operation is incorrect. 2100 MHz is an entirely different band. 2100 MHz (IMT) is UMTS/E-UTRA Band 1, which uses 1920-1980 MHz for uplink and 2110-2170 MHz for downlink. This band is primarily used in Europe and Asia.

In order for the phone to work we need the Band# X to have support for both uplink and downlink frequencies and blocks within the spectrum. We can see that only 1700 MHz fully supports T-Mobile.

This means if we see support for 1700 MHz not 2100 MHz, the phone will still work. I repeat, we do NOT need both bands.

Second, the frequency channels that you are mentioning in the article are not channels but called blocks. Blocks are irrelevant to compatibility but Band numbers are. Blocks are something FCC designated as chunks of spectrum when it auctioned off its spectrum licenses.

When devices are listed as compatible with a specific Band (not frequency), the devices will support all the blocks that particular band supports. Example: for LTE, Band 17 supports block B and C in the lower 700MHz spectrum while Band 12 supports blocks A,B and C in the lower 700MHz spectrum. Support for Band 4 includes all blocks in the AWS-1 spectrum. Therefore, the so-called "channels" in the article isn't an issue.

This is why I believe manufacturers should write compatibility in Band numbers instead of frequencies.

So okay, I have a question...

I have an AT&T HTC One (Converted to GPE if that matters) and I had it unlocked so I could "test" T-Mobiles network with a Pre-Paid Sim Card...

Now this band stuff confuses me to know end.. Am I getting an accurate depiction of how T-Mobiles network is in my area? I live/work in the Cleveland/Akron area btw.

The AT&T version is missing 1700MHz (Band 4) for 3G/HSPA+. So you will only get 3G/HSPA+ where there is 1900MHz refarmed for T-Mobile. Good news though is that you will definitely get T-Mobile LTE with this device. Check the airportal website to see if your area is refarmed.

Very informative, Jerry. Before reading this, I would have assumed a device that's compatible with my carrier has all of the necessary bands to work well.

Posted via AC App on HTC One

Thank you for this. I was considering the jump but At&t is reliable, although very pricey.

AC App via Nexus 5

Most people reading Jerry's article will be so confused about the devices he mentionede, most know nothing of what he is talking about and more will never buy one of those. Why confuse so many people when 99% of people all b uy from their Carrier. Calling John Legere's speeches a "Dog & Pony show" is clouding and belittling the changes in this pathetic industry. If not for this "Dog and Pony Show" we would not have the Carriers giving out better plans and trying to undermind each other for the customers business. I think John Legere has done more for this industry in a few short months than any exec from any Carrier. Instead of belittling John Legere I think you should be very happy being a T-Mobiloe customer you are able to get real unlimited data without throttling for such a great price, not to mention the free hot spot they throw in. IMO no other Carrier comes even close.

This is a good read. I currently have a Nexus 4 and using a hybrid radio(27/98)but I get terrible t-mobile speeds where I am at. From edge right in town to roaming just outside and a little father out=no service.

I am so glad I don't live in the USA. here in Europe life is so much simpler.
Two GSM/GPRS/EDGE 2G bands (900 & 1800KHz, which can be reformed as UMTS).
One UMTS 3G/HSPA band (2100MHz)
Two LTE bands (800 & 2600MHz).

In most cases, providing a phone has the tuners for 900 1800 and 2100 the multimode radios can do GSM or UMTS on them.

And thus one phone can work anywhere in Europe. Just swap the SIM to use the local carrier.

Great Clarification.

To further complicate matters SOME AT&T Devices like the Galaxy S4 i337 HAVE THE 1700 /2100 AWS Bands for TMobile LTE ;

BUT these bands must be ENABLED which is a step BEYOND merely UNLOCKING .

First , unlock the Carrier THEN UNLOCK the FREQUENCY BANDS.

I am learning this as I search for a more powerful Android.

Most sales people, and most Sites like Samsung Store do not make this clear and
state "Factory Unlocked" compatible with AT&T and,TMobile- but as Author says NO,FULL LTE on TMobile.

Very Model Specific-

I suggested at TMobile Forums that they have a Database of Models, and people should be aware of which Phones have the Frequency Bands, but need to be ENABLED by a PROCEDURE, and which Devices do NOT HAVE the 1700/2100 bands for LTE TMobile/Metro at all.