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Old October 8th, 2012, 07:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default HSPA+ and LTE phones

I'm planning on changing carriers and I'm looking into T-mobile (no annual contract plan). I'm a noob so please bare with me.

Would it be safe to say that with T-mobile's recent acquisition of MetroPCS, I should be looking for a phone that can receive HSPA+ and 4GLTE? I read that T-mobile wants to roll out its LTE service in the 1st quarter of 2013. I'm figuring with the Metro buy it will get the ball rolling even quicker. Their HSPA+ isn't going anywhere and seems to be plenty quick enough in the LA area from what I've read. I just want to future proof myself with this purchase since I'm not the kind that needs to swap out phones every year or two.

It seems that there are only a couple of phones on T-mobile's site that have the capabilities of HPSA+/LTE. The Galaxy S3 being one and I can't remember the other off hand. But my problem is they are not offered in the prepaid plans section.

Are there any other phones that can utilize both HSPA+ and LTE and be used with T-mobile? Unlocked AT&T phones maybe?

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Old October 9th, 2012, 10:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The Tmobile s3 doesn't have LTE, nor do any others of theirs. Also, LTE is just the technology. The frequency isn't the same on different carriers.
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Old October 9th, 2012, 11:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The acquisition hasn't been finalized yet, but even so you still have a decent amount of time before you would need to worry about it. In my humble opinion you'd be better off with a GSM phone as that tech doesn't appear to be changing as far as T-Mobile is concerned.
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Old October 10th, 2012, 07:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I've seen reports that the upcoming Note 2 will have support for LTE on T-Mobile. I'm not sure of the specs yet, but look for upcoming Nexus phones. They usually have the frequencies to work on T-Mobile and hopefully will have the tech for LTE.
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Old October 10th, 2012, 01:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Personally I am buying a new Nexus from Google Play as soon as it is released. That is probably your best option, especially if you want to go no contract. I am going to use my available upgrade to get a new phone just to sell on ebay.
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Old October 10th, 2012, 01:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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First, thank you all for the informative replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atmazzz View Post
I've seen reports that the upcoming Note 2 will have support for LTE on T-Mobile. I'm not sure of the specs yet, but look for upcoming Nexus phones. They usually have the frequencies to work on T-Mobile and hopefully will have the tech for LTE.
I like those two but the thing that gets me is that phones are getting huge nowadays. I don't want to have to wear a packpack for my phone. But I guess as the older I get, I'll need a screen that large! One of the phones that I was looking at before because I thought it would be good for both HSPA and LTE was an unlocked Note I-717.

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Originally Posted by Petrah View Post
The acquisition hasn't been finalized yet, but even so you still have a decent amount of time before you would need to worry about it. In my humble opinion you'd be better off with a GSM phone as that tech doesn't appear to be changing as far as T-Mobile is concerned.
I read an article from earlier in the year where it was mentioned that T-Mobile was to roll out their LTE network in Q1 of 2013, incidently coinciding with the projected finalization of the Metro acquisition. I would love to hear recommendations of GSM phones that you feel could suit my needs.

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The Tmobile s3 doesn't have LTE, nor do any others of theirs. Also, LTE is just the technology. The frequency isn't the same on different carriers.
Thanks for correcting me. I never saw the model number for the phone on T-Mobile site and assumed it was the same as others when reading GSM Arena. It must be the S III T999 which, doesn't show that it's LTE ready. Also, my naivete listening to the T-mobile reps on the phone and in-store led to my confusion. I'm assuming they may be on commission.



I guess I was just looking for something that may future proof me for a while, something that would be HSPA+ now and capable of LTE down the road. I'm currently with AT&T. Maybe I'll just use my ancient unlocked Samsung T-919, a T-Mobile phone originally, for a while with T-Mobile service until more phones roll out with what I'm looking for and need. Samsung T-919 - told you I don't change phones often.
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Old October 10th, 2012, 02:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrlswltrs View Post
Personally I am buying a new Nexus from Google Play as soon as it is released. That is probably your best option, especially if you want to go no contract. I am going to use my available upgrade to get a new phone just to sell on ebay.
That's a pretty nice phone. I was just checking it out as I was replying. I have a question about it though. If I get on T-Mobile no contract plan with this phone, will I be on the LTE network straight away (I'm in Los Angeles where I was told that LTE is already in place for T-Mobile)?

Also, from the specs page for the Nexus, they list 2 options for networks for the phone:
Option 1: CDMA/LTE
Option 2: HSPA+/3G/EDGE/GPRS

Wouldn't I want to have a phone that has the capabilities for HSPA+ (for now) and LTE (for the future)? Or am I asking for too much?
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Old October 10th, 2012, 02:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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But I guess as the older I get, I'll need a screen that large!
A few more years I'll need one the size of a television.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 04:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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As of right now the only phones that will work on T-Mobile's future LTE network are the Galaxy Note 2 and the AT&T iPhone 5.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 11:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolina Media View Post
As of right now the only phones that will work on T-Mobile's future LTE network are the Galaxy Note 2 and the AT&T iPhone 5.
Thanks for pointing them out.

Sounds more like I should wait it out while more phones come to market.
This was from an article today from gottabemobile.com ("t-mobile-our-lte-will-be-better-than-yours"):

quote:
"The carrier hopes to have its 4G LTE network up in 2013 and. The best part about the CNET report is that T-Mobile will be using compatible spectrum as rivals Verizon and AT&T, which could potentially allow unlocked smartphones from both carriers to operate under the T-Mobile-MetroPCS conglomerate."


I can only hope too.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 12:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolina Media View Post
As of right now the only phones that will work on T-Mobile's future LTE network are the Galaxy Note 2 and the AT&T iPhone 5.
You sure about the iPhone working on T-Mobile's "non-active" LTE network? Most LTE phones' radios are carrier specific, and there is no iPhone agreement for T-Mo. This would mean that the iPhone would support (2) different LTE bands.


http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/t-mobile-preps-iphone-5-carrier-defectors-nano-sim-cards-1C6337666

From the link:

"As a quick reminder, any unlocked AT&T or Verizon iPhone 5 device will work on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network, along with unlocked iPhone 5 devices sold directly from Apple," wrote David Beren in*TmoNews, which describes itself as an "unofficial T-Mobile blog."
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Old October 12th, 2012, 02:09 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colnago View Post
You sure about the iPhone working on T-Mobile's "non-active" LTE network? Most LTE phones' radios are carrier specific, and there is no iPhone agreement for T-Mo. This would mean that the iPhone would support (2) different LTE bands.
I read from a Wired article about the different variants of iPhones. Here's a quote from it:

Why Apple Made Three iPhone 5 Models and What That Means For You | Gadget Lab | Wired.com

"The GSM A1428 model appears to be made specifically for AT&T, which is the only carrier that uses both LTE Bands 4 and 17. It will also support T-Mobile’s U.S. LTE network as well as several Canadian networks. But don’t expect any LTE service outside of North America — currently no carriers in other countries use Bands 4 or 17. Even though GSM networks are more common worldwide, this particular iPhone 5 model is not a global phone when it comes to LTE support. Instead, Apple has opted to make a second GSM model for other countries. Model A1429 supports the three more common LTE Bands in places like Asia and Europe, but none for North America use."

Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought I read somewhere that T-mobile's proposed LTE will use Band 4? And isn't MetroPCS LTE networks similar to AT&T's and already in LA? Maybe T-mobile will use that existing network if/when they complete the acquisition?

I'm hoping that the LTE bands of AT&T and T-Mobile coincide. I am breaking down my choices for phones and even though I mind the size, I could get an unlocked, pre-owned Galaxy Note i717 (the AT&T model) for "relatively" cheap here. I've also read where users have been able to utilize T-mobile's HSPA+ now. And I'm hoping/trying to figure out if the i717's LTE will be compatible on T-Mobile's proposed LTE network. That's all I was originally looking for... something to used T-mobile's HSPA+ now and, in the same phone, their LTE network later on when it's available.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 08:29 PM   #13 (permalink)
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FWIW, the at&t Atrix HD supposedly has the 1700/2100 WCDMA bands. I bought it a few mos. ago, but at&t wasn't giving up the unlock codes yet, so I took it back. I have been using my T-Mobile branded Defy on both carriers 3G network however.
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Old October 16th, 2012, 03:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
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It seems like most things have been cleared up here, but here are my two cents.

- as many have said, the only phone we know will be able to use T-Mobile's upcoming LTE is the Note II that will be released in the coming weeks.

- Don't count on the new nexus having LTE. LTE is still fairly locked down which makes it impossible for google to provide open source drivers. Google has shown some room to bend here for Verizon/Sprint phones, but I highly doubt we'll see it in a play store sold nexus device (which is what a TMo/GSM phone would be).

- IMHO having LTE isn't a major concern. It uses a LOT more battery than HSPA+ and HSPA+ 42 is pretty danged good as it is. It's peaks are great. The only real problem is consistency which isn't terrible.

- In conclusion, the only truly future proof phone is the upcoming Note II. However, I wouldn't worry about it as most people won't even have access to their new LTE network for 1-3 years. By that point, you would likely have a different phone. I know I will.
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Old October 17th, 2012, 10:35 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zachavm View Post
...- IMHO having LTE isn't a major concern. It uses a LOT more battery than HSPA+ and HSPA+ 42 is pretty danged good as it is. It's peaks are great. The only real problem is consistency which isn't terrible.

FWIW, I have both at&t (LTE) and T-Mo (HSPA+) phones, and my LTE phone's battery drains at the same rate as the HSPA+ phone...given similar Singhal strengths (per dBm values). I don't think LTE "as a technology" has a higher drain rate, so much as it's am issue with LTE having a higher drain rate "with a weaker signal".

While idle on my desk at work, where I get "4 bars" for some reason, with a -97dBm LTE level, the battery will drain faster than when at home. Battery will last 2 days with dBm in the 70's.
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Old October 17th, 2012, 02:06 PM   #16 (permalink)
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However, I wouldn't worry about it as most people won't even have access to their new LTE network for 1-3 years. By that point, you would likely have a different phone. I know I will.
As I said before I'm new to this stuff. But could you tell me more why it would take so long when T-Mobile is planning a 2013 launch of their LTE? Is it a matter of contracting with phone manufacturers to produce an LTE line for T-Mobile, the manufacturing of the phones themselves or the withholding of the bandwidth to create demand?

Also, I'm kind of lost at looking at phone specs regarding frequencies (hence the asking of questions.) I was looking at the Note II on T-mobile's site and the Note i717 (AT&T's version) on GSMArena site and the specs look very similar to me. So even though they look the same, am I incorrect in believing that they would work similarly?

p.s. I still have a Samsung T919 . I probably won't be the one switching annually.
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Old October 17th, 2012, 03:23 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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As I said before I'm new to this stuff. But could you tell me more why it would take so long when T-Mobile is planning a 2013 launch of their LTE? Is it a matter of contracting with phone manufacturers to produce an LTE line for T-Mobile, the manufacturing of the phones themselves or the withholding of the bandwidth to create demand?

Also, I'm kind of lost at looking at phone specs regarding frequencies (hence the asking of questions.) I was looking at the Note II on T-mobile's site and the Note i717 (AT&T's version) on GSMArena site and the specs look very similar to me. So even though they look the same, am I incorrect in believing that they would work similarly?

p.s. I still have a Samsung T919 . I probably won't be the one switching annually.
Well, that is admittedly not a scientific number. It's more based on what other companies like AT&T have done. They've been rolling it out for several years already. I'm in OKC and we aren't normally one of the top targets (having the notoriety of the Thunder is helping that some). It normally takes several years for a network to transition.

I don't have any specific knowledge on T-Mobile All I could find was this story.

Las Vegas Network Refarm Now 75% Live, Nationwide LTE Network Coming By End Of 2013 | | TmoNewsTmoNews

T-Mobile claims a Nationwide network by the end of 2013. Now what that means is debatable. However, there is reason to believe that they can do it quickly. T-Mobile has been pretty danged fast with there HSPA+ 21 and 42 networks.

Even with this though, we're still probably looking at 1-2 years for the majority of customers. "Nationwide" probably only covers half their customers. If you live somewhere like New York, LA, San Fran, or DFW I would be you're fine. Me in OKC? Maybe 2013. Maybe not. Somewhere like Lubbock, TX? late 2014 and beyond.

Edit: Regarding your question on the Note II and difference between versions, it's difficult for everyone. Even experts (of which I am not). As long as you get the TMo version (which will likely be your cheapest option) you'll be fine. Other than the network radios, the versions of the Note II will likely be exactly the same. Manufactures have made a lot of progress on this in recent years. They have taken a lot of the power from the networks and now they can brand their phones rather than the carriers branding it for them.
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Old October 17th, 2012, 06:19 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zachavm View Post
Well, that is admittedly not a scientific number. It's more based on what other companies like AT&T have done. They've been rolling it out for several years already. I'm in OKC and we aren't normally one of the top targets (having the notoriety of the Thunder is helping that some). It normally takes several years for a network to transition.

I don't have any specific knowledge on T-Mobile All I could find was this story.

Las Vegas Network Refarm Now 75% Live, Nationwide LTE Network Coming By End Of 2013 | | TmoNewsTmoNews

T-Mobile claims a Nationwide network by the end of 2013. Now what that means is debatable. However, there is reason to believe that they can do it quickly. T-Mobile has been pretty danged fast with there HSPA+ 21 and 42 networks.

Even with this though, we're still probably looking at 1-2 years for the majority of customers. "Nationwide" probably only covers half their customers. If you live somewhere like New York, LA, San Fran, or DFW I would be you're fine. Me in OKC? Maybe 2013. Maybe not. Somewhere like Lubbock, TX? late 2014 and beyond.

Edit: Regarding your question on the Note II and difference between versions, it's difficult for everyone. Even experts (of which I am not). As long as you get the TMo version (which will likely be your cheapest option) you'll be fine. Other than the network radios, the versions of the Note II will likely be exactly the same. Manufactures have made a lot of progress on this in recent years. They have taken a lot of the power from the networks and now they can brand their phones rather than the carriers branding it for them.
If the merger with MetroPCS goes through (as I understand things), this could help T-Mobile push LTE deployment faster. Cities that currently have LTE service through MetroPCS would not need a full LTE network upgrade since, particularly in early stages (before most T-Mobile customers purchase LTE phones), T-Mobile customers can use the MetroPCS LTE towers. This will allow T-Mobile, in the early stages, to concentrate on more cities in the first phase (or even few phases), before having to upgrade cities that have MetroPCS LTE.

The fact that MetroPCS serves some of the largest US cities, such as New York City/Northern New Jersey, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco (as well as 12 other cities), should allow T-Mobile's first phase to include more areas.
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