T-Mobile USA Claims Next iPhone Chipset Will Support Carrier's AWS Bands

With the launch of the iPhone 4S, T-Mobile USA is now the only one of the four major U.S. carriers to not offer the iPhone, due in large part to the carrier's use of the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum band for its 3G network, a situation that so far would require Apple to develop specific hardware compatible with the network. Some had hoped that the situation would be rectified over time by AT&T's planned acquisition of T-Mobile, but that deal has fallen apart in the face of scrutiny from regulators.

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AllThingsD now reports on comments from T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm again acknowledging that the AWS issue is an important reason for the carrier's lack of the iPhone, but reporting that the issue will be addressed both by migration of T-Mobile's spectrum bands and by new chipsets supporting AWS.

“The key reason we didn’t have the iPhone in the past is we are on different band than globally the market was,” Humm said. “That is something which will change over time. Chipsets are also evolving to be able to allow for more bands.”

As always, though, the decision is up to Apple, Humm acknowledges.

CNET has more on the topic from T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray, who specifically claims that Apple's plans for the next iPhone chipset include support for AWS.

Ray, however, said T-Mobile's unique spectrum would have required extra work to ensure the iPhone ran correctly on its network. But the next chipset that Apple plans to use will be able to overcome that hurdle, he said.

"The next chipset will support AWS," he said in an interview with CNET. "The challenge that existed in the past will go away."

Ray said he has seen the roadmap of chipsets that Apple plans to use, and knows it has that capability. But he noted Apple could choose to ignore that capability and not strike a deal with T-Mobile.

New LTE networks are another factor in the discussion, with rumors suggesting that the iPhone 5 may indeed support the faster technology with greater unification of network standards across carriers. But with LTE still being built out and carriers having achieved varying stages of progress on their efforts, the iPhone and other smartphones will continue to require compatibility with 3G networks as a fallback option where LTE won't yet be available.

Update: In a clarification to 9to5Mac, T-Mobile reports that Ray said only that Apple could use an AWS-capable chipset in a future iPhone model, not that he had specific knowledge of Apple's roadmap.

Top Rated Comments

bretmartin Avatar
125 months ago
Man, I *really* hate the stupid marketing names for frequency bands like "PCS" and "AWS".
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cvaldes Avatar
125 months ago
i love how the US has all this different bands yet none seem to work perfectly ^^ why not just stick to one and try to make it better like the rest of the world
Too late. The FCC has already sold these frequencies to various carriers.

The real root of the problem was the FCC letting multiple cellular technologies proliferate, rather than imposing some sort of industry standard.

The EU made a wise decision in stipulating that GSM/UTMS would be the cellular technology deployed. Note that there will always be various frequencies in various parts of the world as legacy services may be occupying any particular part of the spectrum.

The 700MHz North American spectrum (ultimately acquired by Verizon and AT&T) was freed up after analog television terrestrial broadcasting was legally ended.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dontwalkhand Avatar
125 months ago
GREAT NEWS

NOW THAT ALL Carriers will have an iPhone, the other carriers will have to all compete again. And it will definitely stir up innovation in the phone industry again.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
yeah Avatar
125 months ago
Apple, if your hearing this, please don't upset your future iPhone costumers.
MILLIONS of people are patiently waiting for the iPhone to come to T-Mobile (including me). :)
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cvaldes Avatar
125 months ago
Now if cellphone hardware was not so insanely expensive.
If you want a cheap cellphone, they are out there, you just need to look. However most of them aren't all that good. A large percentage of inexpensive handsets aren't marketed on a worldwide basis, but are limited to certain markets, particularly southeast Asia.

There are major cellphone handset manufacturers that have almost zero market presence in the USA, yet are selling hundreds of millions of phones: Huawei, Pantech, ZTE, etc.

If the design is over a year old, chances are it'll be cheap no matter what the price was at the original release.

You can get unlimited talk/text/3G data for $45/month (no contract) from Straight Talk (a brand of TracFone Wireless): a refurbed Nokia E71 smartphone is $100, one-year warranty.

Heck, I paid about $30 for my Motorola dumbphone when I signed up for T-Mobile's Pay As You Go service about five years ago. It's no longer my primary phone, but it still works great. I keep a Truphone SIM in it for emergencies (T-Mobile USA unlocked this handset after a few months).

Again, inexpensive handsets can be found.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Amazing Iceman Avatar
125 months ago
Look again, that should be $65/line, or $130/2 lines. So the calculations should be:

T-Mobile Value Plan for two lines:
2 4Ss: $1300
$130/month (5GB data cap) for 24 months: $3120
Total: $4420

I am on a T-Mobile family plan but it is an older grandfathered My Faves plan, and I have looked into the Value plan to see if it would save us money but it would actually cost more even on a monthly basis. Plus we would pay full price for the phones (I am the only one out of 5 lines with an iPhone).
I have an even older T-mobile plan with Unlimited Data for $ 20.00 and unlimited Voice for 2 phones for $89.00. I know there's a new plan for loyalty customers, but requires getting into a 2-year contract, which I didn't want to do, as I want to get an iPhone.
Regardless how I calculate it, T-Mobile Plans are way much less expensive than AT&T, and that is the only reason why I haven't switched yet.

An iPhone for T-Mobile would be the best news in a long time, but I'm not sure it will happen. I've been hearing rumors like this for a long time already. I'll just be hopeful and wait a little... :rolleyes:

----------

Now if cellphone hardware was not so insanely expensive.
The new stuff is always expensive... Remember how much the first Radio Shack phones used to cost? Those big lunch boxes used to go for over $700.00. At that time, I don't believe there were any subsidies. You would have to pay full price with no way around it.

The good thing about Android devices is that these loose their original value very quickly. Today's $400.00 phone would be $50 in about a year; and sometimes free.

----------

That's great if you pay full price, but what they don't tell you is that the Value plans do NOT include any phone subsidies. You are going to pay either way, either more monthly and less for the phone or less monthly and more for the phone.

You are right about that, but I have noticed that long time customers get much better deals on new phones.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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