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Thread: T-Mobile Cellular Bands

  1. #1
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    Question T-Mobile Cellular Bands

    I'm considering buying a GSM phone which is not marked T-Mobile (like those only available unlocked - e.g. high end Nokia or Sony phones - or those you find on eBay or CL). I understand that for T-Mobile voice and data to work the phone should support certain bands. I'm not sure which specs to look at if I want full 4G support.

    Help?

    The T-Mobile Galaxy S II (for example) lists the following in PhoneScoop:

    GSM 850
    GSM 900
    GSM 1800
    GSM 1900
    WCDMA 850
    WCDMA 1700
    WCDMA 1900
    WCDMA 2100

    I have also seen reference to:

    UMTS 1700
    UMTS 2100
    UMTS Band IV
    AWS 1700 MHz/2100 MHz
    AWS Band IV
    and, of course, all the HSPA+ numbers

    AT&T's Galaxy S II omits the WCDMA 1700 band. Am I correct in assuming that is needed for T-Mobile data?

    Is it correct that UMTS 1700 and 2100 are the same as WCDMA 1700 and 2100 and that the combination of those two can be referred to as AWS Band IV or AWS Band IV (1700/2100)?

    Does having HSPA+ with any speed number mean that the phone is compatible with T-Mobile AWS Band IV or do I need to research the specific bands of the phone?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    T-Mobile uses 1900MHz GSM and 1700/2100MHz 3G (also referred as AWS).

    WCDMA/UMTS/HSDPA/HSPA+ are all 3G (same network). HSPA+ is the fastest, so if you want full "4G" support you'll need a phone with HSPA+ that uses AWS (1700) band. There's HSPA phones rated at 7/10/14/21/42 mb... obviously the higher, the faster it can potentially be (it all depends how fast the towers are in the area).

    If a phone doesn't have AWS/1700, you'll only get slow 2G data.

    Here's a (partial?) list of smartphones that have AWS 3G/4G support. You'll have to click each phone to see exactly what HSPA they support... I believe most phones nowadays are 7.2mb.

  3. #3
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    ALL quadband gsm phones will work in at least 2gsm mode on Tmobile. There are more unlocked phones with Att /intl bands (850/1900/2100) then Tmobile type bands (1700) for 3g. They are out there though.

  4. #4
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    If you buy a non "T-mobile" Galaxy S II from amazon.com or some other site, you will get a AT&T 3g band handset, and T-mobile 3g won't work on it.

    I would recommend a Nokia N8, it works on both AT&T and T-mobile 3g bands and is much cheaper than the Galaxy S II (the upcoming symbian belle update rocks, I am already using a leaked version on my N8)

    The flip side is that as it has HSPA+ Cat9, the max download speed is 10.2Mbps vs. 21Mbps for Galaxy SII

    Hope this helps.

    Quote Originally Posted by HildyJ View Post
    I'm considering buying a GSM phone which is not marked T-Mobile (like those only available unlocked - e.g. high end Nokia or Sony phones - or those you find on eBay or CL). I understand that for T-Mobile voice and data to work the phone should support certain bands. I'm not sure which specs to look at if I want full 4G support.

    Help?

    The T-Mobile Galaxy S II (for example) lists the following in PhoneScoop:

    GSM 850
    GSM 900
    GSM 1800
    GSM 1900
    WCDMA 850
    WCDMA 1700
    WCDMA 1900
    WCDMA 2100

    I have also seen reference to:

    UMTS 1700
    UMTS 2100
    UMTS Band IV
    AWS 1700 MHz/2100 MHz
    AWS Band IV
    and, of course, all the HSPA+ numbers

    AT&T's Galaxy S II omits the WCDMA 1700 band. Am I correct in assuming that is needed for T-Mobile data?

    Is it correct that UMTS 1700 and 2100 are the same as WCDMA 1700 and 2100 and that the combination of those two can be referred to as AWS Band IV or AWS Band IV (1700/2100)?

    Does having HSPA+ with any speed number mean that the phone is compatible with T-Mobile AWS Band IV or do I need to research the specific bands of the phone?

    Thanks

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