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Old November 11th, 2011, 10:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question 3G/4G on US T-Mobile using ST18a or ST18i

Any ideas on this phone's compatibility on 3G or even 4G on T-Mobile data? What about if phone is allowed to data roam onto other networks, any possibility of getting higher speeds?

Which version would be ideal with roaming (ST18a?), and without roaming (ST18i?)?

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Old November 11th, 2011, 11:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Any ideas on this phone's compatibility on 3G or even 4G on T-Mobile data? What about if phone is allowed to data roam onto other networks, any possibility of getting higher speeds?

Which version would be ideal with roaming (ST18a?), and without roaming (ST18i?)?
The "i" version should work fine with T-Mobile. The "a" version is the one we would recommend to use with AT&T and they have different 3G frequencies than T-Mobile. So for T-Mobile we do recommend the "i" variant version of our phones.
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Old November 11th, 2011, 11:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The "i" version should work fine with T-Mobile. The "a" version is the one we would recommend to use with AT&T and they have different 3G frequencies than T-Mobile. So for T-Mobile we do recommend the "i" variant version of our phones.
With the "i" version can I get a US warranty? And with "a" version can I not roam onto AT&T's 3G even though I'm on T-Mobile?
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Old November 11th, 2011, 01:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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With the "i" version can I get a US warranty? And with "a" version can I not roam onto AT&T's 3G even though I'm on T-Mobile?
The "i" variant doesn't have warranty in the US. And if you are using T-Mobile's services you cannot roam onto AT&T's network.
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Old November 11th, 2011, 02:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Roaming on AT&T, and other networks

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The "i" variant doesn't have warranty in the US.
That's a little bit of a downside, but one that I'm willing to deal with.

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And if you are using T-Mobile's services you cannot roam onto AT&T's network.
Not true: hxxp://support.t-mobile.com/thread/7721

I'm still not sure what the real-world implications are given the frequencies available to either the i- or a-versions, and so I'm still in limbo about which version to experiment with. Or is it even worth trying, no matter how badly I want this phone?
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Old November 11th, 2011, 03:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That's a little bit of a downside, but one that I'm willing to deal with.

Not true: hxxp://support.t-mobile.com/thread/7721

I'm still not sure what the real-world implications are given the frequencies available to either the i- or a-versions, and so I'm still in limbo about which version to experiment with. Or is it even worth trying, no matter how badly I want this phone?
If you want an Xperia ray, the "i" will give you the best experience for 3G with T-Mobile. Obviously you must take into consideration your roaming situation, but otherwise, the "i" is for you.
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Old November 15th, 2011, 10:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Unhappy My conclusions

While Josh's assertions seem definite, I think they are wrong. My final assessments (as of now) are the following -- please correct where / if I am mistaken.

  • 3G (or 4G) will not be possible on either the ST18a or ST18i. It requires 1700MHz and 2100MHz, and then T-Mobile needs to allow phone compatibility. (Ref: hxxp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-Mobile_USA#3G_upgrade)
  • If the phone is allowed to roam onto AT&T (this is tower-to-tower dependent), it will only get 2G, even if the tower is capable of 3G on non-1700/2100 frequencies. The restriction on speed is based on the roaming agreement between T-Mobile and AT&T.
  • The last (and possibly only) Xperia that had 1700MHz was the X10. I do not know if that phone was able to get 3G on T-Mobile.

Some speculation for future -- if/when AT&T acquires T-Mobile bandwidth allocation over the various frequencies may be modified. Maybe the only good news is for T-Mobile customers is for those who buy the Xperia Arc ST18a. (Ref: hxxp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merger_of_AT%26T_and_T-Mobile_USA#Frequencies)
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Old November 21st, 2011, 05:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The Xperia Ray will only work on T-Mobile USA's 2G network. I too want this phone so bad but I do not want to pay through the nose tied to AT&T's contract. I've been trying to find out if it will work on T-Mobile's 3G network.

The Ray works on UK's T-Mobile (and i'm sure in other countries) and they have the i version. I looked at the specs that's being sold on Amazon and it does not say 1700Mhz so I came to a conclusion that it's pointless to get it if I can't use 3G on it. So now i'm shopping around for 2nd best (the Arc is too big for me).

For about $30 a month you can get this FREE in UK on a 24 month contract with 500mb-1GB data, 300-500 minutes, and 300-unlimited text! That's damn cheap! We are really getting ripped off here in the US! It will cost me over $300 to buy it and then $75/mo on AT&T for a 2yr contract with only 200mb of data! That doesn't make sense, might as well get the iPhone 4S for $200
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 03:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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1700MHz is only relevant for 3G on US T-Mobile. The i-version should be OK if you are traveling to Europe, where it seems they have standardized on frequencies and communication protocols. Wikipedia will tell you in more detail: hxxp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UMTS_frequency_bands

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The Ray works on UK's T-Mobile (and i'm sure in other countries) and they have the i version. I looked at the specs that's being sold on Amazon and it does not say 1700Mhz so I came to a conclusion that it's pointless to get it if I can't use 3G on it. So now i'm shopping around for 2nd best (the Arc is too big for me).
FWIW, a friend is using an unlocked AT&T iPhone on T-Mobile (US) and gets 2G reliably and almost everywhere he goes. He doesn't stream video, just data for email, web, and maps, and finds it just fine for his needs.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 03:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Did someone check if the ST18A is actually working on AT&T's 3G network?
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Old December 7th, 2011, 08:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I am using the ST18a on AT&T and getting the full benefit of HSDPA 7.2 speeds (same as iPhone 4). Wifi Hotspot and USB tether both work too.

You can go HERE for carrier APN settings. (see very bottom of thread for correct ones).

Here are some data speed results vs. my wife's Neo using speedtest.net app.

34 tests to 18 servers each for Neo and Ray (same servers). Tests were performed one after the other (alternating Ray and Neo) in an AT&T HSPA+ w/enhanced backhaul coverage area between 8PM to 9PM.


PHONE Download Upload Ping
Xperia Ray 1,735 868 402
Xperia Neo 1,722 875 420


USB TETHER
Xperia Ray 2,382 1,084 277
Xperia Neo 2,264 771 185

Good luck,

Bob H
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 01:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Did someone check if the ST18A is actually working on AT&T's 3G network?
I own the ST18a. It does not (work on AT&T 3G) if you are on T-Mobile, only 2G AT&T as a roaming client. On an AT&T SIM, it is designed for 3G. Not sure about 4G LTE.
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Old February 24th, 2012, 12:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I own the ST18a. It does not if you are on T-Mobile, only 2G AT&T as a roaming client. On an AT&T SIM, it is designed for 3G. Not sure about 4G LTE.
To clarify your doubt the ray is not a 4G phone.
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Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray
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Unveiled at CommuncAsia 2011, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray is a slim, svelt handset deigned with style in mind. The aluminum-framed design measures 9.4mm thick and comes in at less than 100g. The Ray features a 3.3-inch screen, 1GHz procesor, and 8... Read More

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