Can I use my unlocked phone on T-Mobile? (Probably.)

Unlocked phones are becoming more and more popular, since they're affordable and give you the freedom to choose your carrier. However, not every phone is compatible with every carrier.

Cellular providers use particular radio frequencies or bands to transmit their data. If you want to join T-Mobile, you'll have to make sure that your unlocked phone supports the same bands that T-Mobile does; otherwise, you'll have to go with another carrier.

What exactly are 'bands?'

Bands are the radio frequencies through which mobile signals are sent. Think of them as the radio stations that your phone is tuned in to so that you receive calls and your precious LTE.

Each provider will use a few different bands with one band being their main vein for LTE.

Can I use my unlocked phone with T-Mobile?

T-Mobile happens to be the most welcoming of carriers when it comes to the bring-your-own-phone game, so that's likely the case.

In fact, they have a handy tool you can use to see if your unlocked phone is compatible with their network.

Either way, it's a good idea to make sure that your unlocked phone supports Bands 2, 4 and 12, which are T-Mobile's main LTE bands; this'll afford you the widest LTE coverage.

Which bands does T-Mobile use?

T-Mobile still supports one 2G band, but like other carriers are primarily focusing on LTE (4G) deployment.

2G bands

  • 2

3G bands

  • 4
  • 2

LTE (4G) bands

  • 12
  • 4
  • 2

You could be missing out!

When purchasing an unlocked phone, always keep in mind that some carrier-specific features, like Wi-Fi Calling or Voice over LTE (VoLTE) might not work. A lot of these features are programmed into the phones carriers sell, so you may be out of luck.

It's getting easier and easier to use an unlocked phone, but it's still a good idea to keep these things in mind.

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