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Thread: Confused about T-Mobile branded S9 vs unlocked from Samsung

  1. #1
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    Confused about T-Mobile branded S9 vs unlocked from Samsung

    Was thinking of buying an unlocked S9 because even though T-mobile price seems identical, Samsung applies the trade-in credit to the purchase price right away instead of over 24 months like T-Mobile, plus T-mobile's claim of 50% off is misleading because they still charge tax on the full retail amount, while at Samsung there's no sales tax either way. Anyway, I reached out to Samsung support to find out if Band 71, Video calling, WiFi calling, HD calling, VOLTE, CA, Tethering, 4x4 MIMO, 256 QAM are supported. Unfortunately got a negative reply twice. I asked to have my inquiry escalated which it was, but again they informed me that these are carrier specific. If this really is the case, why would anyone want to buy the S9 from Samsung? Can anyone chime in on the specs of the unlocked device?

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    Quote Originally Posted by markwest View Post
    Was thinking of buying an unlocked S9 because even though T-mobile price seems identical, Samsung applies the trade-in credit to the purchase price right away instead of over 24 months like T-Mobile, plus T-mobile's claim of 50% off is misleading because they still charge tax on the full retail amount, while at Samsung there's no sales tax either way. Anyway, I reached out to Samsung support to find out if Band 71, Video calling, WiFi calling, HD calling, VOLTE, CA, Tethering, 4x4 MIMO, 256 QAM are supported. Unfortunately got a negative reply twice. I asked to have my inquiry escalated which it was, but again they informed me that these are carrier specific. If this really is the case, why would anyone want to buy the S9 from Samsung? Can anyone chime in on the specs of the unlocked device?
    The Unlocked model should have 4x4 mimo 256 qam down 64 qam up. Everything else I don't know. Don't see why it wouldn't have B71. Samsung doesn't have LTE bands listed yet either.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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    I think right now, everyone is confused. T-Mobile's specs don't even list any international 3G/4G bands beyond UMTS band 1. No international LTE bands.
    Donald Newcomb

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    I am so confused ! Are you? I am not going to buy a surprise in a bag. I will wait a bit after March 16 th it should all be posted all over internet. Be patient guys. I know I have the itch to buy a new device just like you. Only few more days

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    Technically, it's the same device, possibly different software enabling/disabling features? Will have to wait longer to find out I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markwest View Post
    Can anyone chime in on the specs of the unlocked device?
    It's best to wait until the unlocked device gets into someone's hand to get the confirmation. Usually the XDA forum is good at tracking these things.

    If the S8 is any example, the unlocked version had all of the bands and T-Mobile items included and readily usable on T-Mobile. The features appear once a T-mobile SIM is inserted. So I would assume they'll follow the S8's lead. I just think they have sloppy documentation for the S9. But if you have a concern, wait until the device is someone's hand before making a purchase.

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    I've got an unlocked model ordered which is scheduled to be delivered by March 14th. I will post my finding as soon as I get my hands on it. Like jet mentioned, you will have to insert a T-Mobile SIM before Service Mode will display supported LTE/UMTS bands. I am confident the unlocked model will support most, if not all the network features but especially B71.

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    After I chided T-Mobile on their support site, for either seriously crippling the S9 or posting the most misleading tech specs in history, they have now updated the band specs listed on their site. They've gone from showing only UMTS-2100 as the sole 3G/4G roaming band to now showing LTE bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 20, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46 (LAA), 66 & 71. They were also showing 25 & 26 but after I asked about roaming on Sprint, those bands disappeared. I really think the left hand there doesn't know what the right hand is doing and the support folks don't really have a clue and have to learn by RTFM and playing with sample phones, as they get them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    After I chided T-Mobile on their support site, for either seriously crippling the S9 or posting the most misleading tech specs in history, they have now updated the band specs listed on their site. They've gone from showing only UMTS-2100 as the sole 3G/4G roaming band to now showing LTE bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 20, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46 (LAA), 66 & 71. They were also showing 25 & 26 but after I asked about roaming on Sprint, those bands disappeared. I really think the left hand there doesn't know what the right hand is doing and the support folks don't really have a clue and have to learn by RTFM and playing with sample phones, as they get them.
    My S8+ that I ordered from AT&T received an update a while back which allowed it to boot up with SIM specific firmware. With my T-Mobile SIM inserted, the S8+ boots up with T-Mobile firmware and it displays the following bands in Service Mode. I expect the following bands to be supported on the unlocked S9/9+ including the addition of B71.


    Note: No B29 or 30 with T-Mobile SIM.

    Attachment 156923

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    Quote Originally Posted by markwest View Post
    Was thinking of buying an unlocked S9 because even though T-mobile price seems identical, Samsung applies the trade-in credit to the purchase price right away instead of over 24 months like T-Mobile, plus T-mobile's claim of 50% off is misleading because they still charge tax on the full retail amount, while at Samsung there's no sales tax either way. Anyway, I reached out to Samsung support to find out if Band 71, Video calling, WiFi calling, HD calling, VOLTE, CA, Tethering, 4x4 MIMO, 256 QAM are supported. Unfortunately got a negative reply twice. I asked to have my inquiry escalated which it was, but again they informed me that these are carrier specific. If this really is the case, why would anyone want to buy the S9 from Samsung? Can anyone chime in on the specs of the unlocked device?
    I had an unlocked S8+ on T-Mobile and unfortunately wifi calling/texting didn't work. Not sure about Volte

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottneon View Post
    I had an unlocked S8+ on T-Mobile and unfortunately wifi calling/texting didn't work. Not sure about Volte
    That's odd since those things work on the unlocked S7 Edge. I've done it myself.

    Sent from my SM-G935U using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by 10mm View Post
    I've got an unlocked model ordered which is scheduled to be delivered by March 14th. I will post my finding as soon as I get my hands on it. Like jet mentioned, you will have to insert a T-Mobile SIM before Service Mode will display supported LTE/UMTS bands. I am confident the unlocked model will support most, if not all the network features but especially B71.
    Looking forward to your results, Mark

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    I'll look forward to some full documentation of this but the recent pattern on Verizon, for example, has been to significantly cripple available bands compared to the unlocked phone. No such thing like the iPhone where you can buy one on Verizon and then switch it around as you see fit. With any Android you pretty much have to get an unlocked one to have maximum freedom of action. Frequency Check shows the unlocked models as having the full works, all the way from Verizon CDMA to T-Mobile Band 71, but after what happened to the S8 unlocked with several key missing bands and the S8 Active with the works but unfortunately also individual locking firmware for each carrier shutting out bands supported in hardware, I'm going to wait to see what actually happens.

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    Just found this and thought I'd share. Looks like all bands are covered, and WIFI calling appears to be supported as well. Unsure about VoLTE.

    "We tested the unlocked variant, and were happy to see that it has all the bands used by each of the US carriers, including (for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon) the new 5GHz LAA band that recently gave us speeds of over 500Mbps on T-Mobile. The phone has 4x4 MIMO antennas on bands 2, 4, 7, 30, 41, and 66. (If you're curious about the full LTE band list, including roaming bands used mostly in other countries, it's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12,13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 66, 71.)"

    "The phone supports both voice-over-LTE and Wi-Fi calling, although you may need a carrier-specific unit to get those features. The unlocked model supports Wi-Fi calling on T-Mobile and Sprint, but you'll need a carrier-branded unit for Wi-Fi calling on AT&T and Verizon."

    Full article:
    https://www.pcmag.com/review/359712/samsung-galaxy-s9

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    Anyone plan to use this with Shadow Web/Prefer Phone first plan?

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