By Stephen Schenck | December 20, 2011 1:41 PM
With its 3G services largely living on the 1700MHz AWS band, T-Mobile can sometimes feel like the odd man out among major carriers in the US. After all, while there’s a good chance you’d have some luck getting an imported smartphone to connect to AT&T 3G, finding a phone with T-Mobile support can be tricky. Changes are happening to the company, though, and frequency support is already growing. What will that mean for T-Mobile in the future?
Users who have brought iPhones over to T-Mobile, expecting to make do with WiFi and EDGE data, are getting some nice surprises in certain areas. As T-Mobile upgrades its network, it’s switching-on 1900MHz service where it’s needed to augment existing coverage. If you’re lucky enough to be in the right spot, you should start seeing your carrier-unlocked iPhone start to pick up the new 3G signal.
Then there’s news following the collapse of AT&T’s acquisition attempt, which will end with the carrier granting T-Mobile certain spectrum licenses, including the right to roam on AT&T’s 3G network. Of course, that’s no good without hardware that can handle the additional bands, so will we start seeing a lot of T-Mobile handsets with 3G support on 850, 1700, and 1900MHz? That would obviously be a win for subscribers, but there are also carrier and manufacturer concerns to consider.
When it comes to the US wireless market, those forces tend to make decisions that artificially restrict the ability of hardware to easily move from provider to provider. Still, there’s the chance T-Mobile could fully embrace this opportunity; for the benefits it would bring subscribers, we’re really hoping it does.