Apple Watch Series 3 Limited to 3G-Like Speeds on T-Mobile [Update: Now 4G LTE]
Sep 15, 2017 12:02 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's new Apple Watch Series 3 models support LTE and UMTS connectivity, but on T-Mobile, LTE connection speeds won't be available. The carrier is limiting the Apple Watch to a maximum speed of 512kb/s, which is more like a 3G connection than an LTE connection.

The speed limitation is noted in T-Mobile's fine print, which says the maximum wearables speed is 512kb/s. It's also noted on the pre-order page when adding an Apple Watch Series 3 to your cart.


At issue is T-Mobile's ONE plan, which limits both tethering and all wearable devices to 512kb/s. While most users are unlikely to be streaming video or doing other tasks that require high connectivity speeds on the Apple Watch, the Apple Watch is also unlikely to be a data hog, so it's unclear why T-Mobile has this limitation in place.

A T-Mobile representative told MacRumors reader Tony that its "High Speed Data with paired DIGITS" plan would provide 4G LTE data. DIGITS is priced at $25 per month without autopay, and $20 per month with Autopay.

No other major carrier in the United States, including Sprint, Verizon, or AT&T appears to be throttling Apple Watch speeds with their standard unlimited plans.

All four of the carriers are charging the same $10 per month fee to add an Apple Watch to an existing iPhone plan, and each one is offering a limited time promotion that waives monthly fees for the first three months.

The LTE Apple Watch Series 3 models became available for pre-order early this morning, with new devices slated to arrive on Friday, September 22, the official launch date for the device.

Update: T-Mobile CEO John Legere says T-Mobile has changed its policy. The company will now offer unlimited 4G LTE on the Apple Watch Series 3.



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Top Rated Comments

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23 weeks ago
Seriously. These watches are hardly going to use any data/bandwidth on any carrier. They should be full lte and 5 a month max.
Rating: 32 Votes
23 weeks ago
This is going to be bad for battery life.

If the device needs to transfer a chunk of data, it's best to power on the radio, transfer it as quickly as possible (even if it's a tiny amount) and shut off the radio again.

Throttling to 512kbps may not make a noticeable difference because the watch doesn't use that much data, but having to keep the radio powered up longer because those small transfers take time is going to hurt battery life.

T-Mobile shouldn't be doing this.
Rating: 22 Votes
23 weeks ago
Because #Uncarrier
Rating: 13 Votes
23 weeks ago

... I can literally watch HighDef YouTube on my laptop with 512k down... What are you possible doing on your watch that would make you notice a throttle like that?


512kBIT, not byte.
Rating: 11 Votes
23 weeks ago
... I can literally watch HighDef YouTube on my laptop with 512k down... What are you possible doing on your watch that would make you notice a throttle like that?
Rating: 9 Votes
23 weeks ago
0.5 Mbps? That's more akin to 2G EDGE or EVDO.
Rating: 8 Votes
23 weeks ago
T-Mobile is awesome.
Rating: 7 Votes
23 weeks ago
Oh no! Looks like people can't stream GoT on their watches now! o_O
Rating: 7 Votes
23 weeks ago
At those kinds of speeds, this really should be free to those people on T mobile...
Rating: 7 Votes
23 weeks ago

... I can literally watch HighDef YouTube on my laptop with 512k down... What are you possible doing on your watch that would make you notice a throttle like that?

Uhh, I’m not sure what kind of 512 Kbps connection you have, but that’s barely enough for 360p (and that’s if there is absolutely nothing else going through the network). I know this from experience because my home connection is capped at 512 Kbps. Streaming music, depending on audio quality of course, can go through fine.

(For anyone wondering why, my house is in a rural area covered by DSL only and basically falls into a crack between areas of better bandwidth. Physically, we probably shouldn’t even be able to get DSL.)
Rating: 6 Votes

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