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Thread: T-Mobile LTE bands and new phone that also works in UK

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    T-Mobile LTE bands and new phone that also works in UK

    I am thinking of getting a new phone. The first thing to mention is that I am not a great user of cellphones generally, so I don't need anything powerful or expensive. I don't watch video or anything like that. I am currently using a gen 2 Moto E perfectly happily if that gives a sense of my needs. The second thing to mention is that I prefer Moto phones because of their adhesion to basic Android with very little added proprietary software.

    I travel to the UK a lot and so would like to get a phone that will provide LTE support over there on my UK network (I keep a UK sim active; it's much cheaper than using my US phone there). If that is not possible, the very least acceptable thing would be that it should at least offer 3G service on my UK network (Giffgaff, an MNVO of O2). My current gen 2 Moto E only offers 2G speeds there which I can no longer deal with.

    Here in the US I am on Ultramobile, a T-Mobile MNVO. One of the phones I am looking at is the second generation version of the Moto X, (the XT1097), which offers 3G speed in the UK and two of the UK's three LTE wavebands (sadly, the one it does not offer is band 20, the one my UK company uses, but this may change). However the XT1097 comes with LTE wavebands 2,3,4,5,7,17,29 so it doesn't offer band 12. What I would like to know is whether this lack of LTE band 12 would be likely to have a real world negative effect on my use of the phone in the US. I live in Santa Monica in southern California, which is basically the western edge of Los Angeles and I don't travel much within California or the US generally. Does T-Mobile make a lot of use of band 12 or could I live without it? However useful it would be to have a phone that worked well in the UK, it is much more important that it should work well in the US.

    Finally, and just in case anybody has a great idea, if there is some non-Moto phone that I should be considering, I would like to hear about it. In my dream scenario, my new phone would have dual-sim capability so I could just keep both sims in there all the time.

    slamtry

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    As far as if you'd need band 12, yea it will make a difference. It could be the difference between having no signal once you go inside a building to having at least a usuable signal. For devices I'm not 100 percent sure on all the bands the u.k. uses, but have you looked at the honor 8? Dual SIM and supports lte 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,12,17 and 20.

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    T-Mobile LTE bands and new phone that also works in UK

    20+ year uk.telecom.mobile poster here, so I suspect I can help you.

    The UK uses bands 3, 7 and 20. If your phone supports them, you're all set. EE are the only provider with spectrum in all 3 bands.

    In practice, the UK's entire HSPA+ network was built on band 7 frequency. So just supporting that LTE band is going to provide you a very decent experience regardless of 3 & 20.

    Also, ditch GiffGaff, they're crap. O2 is a shell of the network it used to be when they were BT Cellnet. Whilst they use B20 for LTE, they have so little spectrum that outside of London or Brum you're going to be on UTMS.

    Personally, I would get your PAC from GG and migrate to an EE SIM (best coverage by a mile now) at £15 for 5gb SIM (https://shop.ee.co.uk/sim-only/pay-as-you-go-phones). You can also try 3 who offer the same deal, but also offer 12gb for £20. The Three SIM _never_ expires BTW. I've had my 3 UK sim now with a couple of quid on it for 5+ years here in the US now.

    Regarding a phone to buy. Get the Moto X4 from Amazon - http://a.co/54Uq0JW. It's unlocked, costs $329 (was $299 all last week!), AND supports all North American and European frequencies! Ironically, the Euro Moto X4 doesn't support any NA bands but DOES come with dual sim capability. Couldn't make it up.

    On a side note, what takes you to the UK so often out of interest?
    Last edited by SueZ_1; 11-29-2017 at 03:45 PM.

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    > What I would like to know is whether this lack of LTE band 12 would be likely to have a real world negative effect on my use of the phone in
    > the US.

    Yes! Do not use T-Mobile without a B12 phone. The experience is significantly reduced without their low band spectrum band.

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    Hi Suez, thanks for your input. I think the X4 is way more phone than I want or need. It's also too big and too expensive. I hate big phones and wish that my 4.5 screen E2 would work in the UK. As I said above I am not a demanding user. The most demanding thing I do on a phone is use Google's navigation to help me get around sometimes. I don't watch movies or play games. I am currently leaning towards a Moto G Play, in either single or dual sim format.

    As to Giffgaff, they may be crap, but they do what I need - other than have more than one LTE band. They allow me to keep a UK number without paying for it except when I am there. However, I will look into a switch to Three since you say I can do the same thing with them.
    I go to the UK to see family.

    slamtry

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    T-Mobile LTE bands and new phone that also works in UK

    The G would work just fine in the UK. It supports bands 3 & 7, which means it will work very well on EE and OK on 3 (it's missing 800mhz B20 which 3 and o2 use, though it's not remotely widely deployed).

    It does mean your GG Sim will receive no LTE coverage as O2 has only B20 LTE spectrum.

    Personally, like I said, I would abandon GG (O2 is a dying ship), and port out to EE or 3. You will get far better coverage with EE than either o2 or 3. At the 5gb for £15 deal, it's a no brainer. Just make sure you top it up every 6 months (same rule as GG have essentially).

    Get the EE/3 sim shipped to your British relatives and ask them to send it under to you in the USA.

    Good luck!

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    Hi Suez, thanks again for your input. I think I will probably get the G4 Play and will then probably leave GG as you suggest. I did not realise that other UK Telecoms offered the ability to use a phone in the UK and then leave the number dormant for a year. I assumed they would cancel the account as inactive, and recycle the phone number as happens in the US. All I have to do with a GG is keep a positive balance and send a text to the UK for 30P once every six months. If EE can do the same thing, I will be there in a heartbeat. I will just pick up an EE sim when I next go there.

    slamtry

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    T-Mobile LTE bands and new phone that also works in UK

    Make sure you get the sim posted to you in the UK via the link I supplied above. The £15 5gb deal is for online sims only. A store won't be able to enable that deal for you.

    Re expiration

    6.3 You must make a Connection Action at least once every 180 days. If You do not, Your SIM Card will be disconnected from the Network and You will not be able to use the Services. You will lose Your mobile phone number and any Credit on Your Account at the time of such disconnection will be forfeited

    ‘Connection action’ an action that must be taken to maintain connection. Connection actions include by way of example only, topping up Your Account, using data and making a chargeable call or sending a chargeable text. A full list of connection actions is set out in Our booklet of Charges

    [/end]

    So basically, just do exactly what you're doing with GG every 179 days but get a far far better network experience when in blighty.

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    Hi Suez,

    That is great and I'm 90% convinced. I have even ordered an EE sim to be sent to a mate in London for me. The only problem is that EE's package is 50% more expensive than Three's. Three offers a great 1GB and 3000 minutes for £10 package whereas EE charges £15 for a roughly similar deal (data matters less than phone minutes for me as I typically have wifi wherever I am in the UK).

    Do you know whether Three also allows one to keep a sim/phone number by sending a text every six months? And also, assuming I get the G4 Play, would I get similar service from them both or would EE be better?

    slamtry

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    Hi Suez,

    Another question regarding the Moto G4 Play. I currently have a Moto E2 and it offer HSDPA/UMTS support on 850, 1700 and 1900mhz. This works well with my T-Mobile MNVO as T-Mobile's 3G offerings are on the 1700/1900mhz waveband. If I get a Moto G4 Play, it only has HSDPA/UMTS on 850/900/1900/2100mhz. I can see this would work well in the UK where everyone seems to do their 3G on 2100mhz but would it work for me here in the US since it doesn't offer 1700mhz service?

    slamtry

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    Quote Originally Posted by slamtry View Post
    Do you know whether Three also allows one to keep a sim/phone number by sending a text every six months?
    You don't even need to do that. You just simply need to have a positive credit balance. That's it. It will never expire.

    And also, assuming I get the G4 Play, would I get similar service from them both or would EE be better?
    EE would be better as Three uses LTE bands 7 and 20. Your phone only has B3 (high band) and B7 (mid band). B20 is 800mhz (low band), so you'll get decent 3 reception outside but lousy indoor reception. EE has deployed the vast majority of their network on B7 (mid band) and they cover a _lot_ of the UK now using B7. It's their core network. Hence my statement you will get a better experience in general with EE, especially as they are by far the superior network (they hold 45% of all UK mobile spectrum).

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    Quote Originally Posted by slamtry View Post
    Hi Suez,

    Another question regarding the Moto G4 Play. I currently have a Moto E2 and it offer HSDPA/UMTS support on 850, 1700 and 1900mhz. This works well with my T-Mobile MNVO as T-Mobile's 3G offerings are on the 1700/1900mhz waveband. If I get a Moto G4 Play, it only has HSDPA/UMTS on 850/900/1900/2100mhz. I can see this would work well in the UK where everyone seems to do their 3G on 2100mhz but would it work for me here in the US since it doesn't offer 1700mhz service?
    I wouldn't be that bothered. T-Mobile's future is LTE(-A). It is certainly not HSPA+, nor ever was it. The vast majority of T-Mobile's network is LTE. They are refarming HSPA+ to LTE. I cannot think of a situation in years on T-Mobile where I have received a HSPA+ signal rather than LTE.

    As long as your new handset has T-Mobile's core LTE bands (2,4,12) I would purchase it.

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    Yes, you would not need HSPA on band 4 for TMO, anyway. The Moto G4 Play does VoLTE on TMO (including band 4).

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    Quote Originally Posted by SueZ_1 View Post
    > What I would like to know is whether this lack of LTE band 12 would be likely to have a real world negative effect on my use of the phone in
    > the US.

    Yes! Do not use T-Mobile without a B12 phone. The experience is significantly reduced without their low band spectrum band.
    Exactly, from the point of view of one who is rarely in territory that has T-Mobile bands OTHER than "Band 12".

    Eventually, in a year or two, the statement will be "Yes! Do not use T-Mobile without a B71 phone" but we aren't there yet.

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    Hi Suez,

    I was looking at a bunch of the UK MVNOs this afternoon. Is there any reason why I should not opt for a deal with Asda as they seem to have great rates and they use EE's network?

    Also. I just realised my current phone - a Moto E2 does not itself have band 12, so I appear to be coping without it anyway. So maybe I don't need to worry if my new phone doesn't have it. What do T-Mobile mainly use band-wise or does it vary around the country?

    slamtry

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