Currently T-Mobile USA is the only major carrier in the U.S that does not offer Apple’s iPhone on its network.
Until now T-Mobile has always maintained that the ball is in Apple’s court. However, in an interview with AllThingsD’s Ina Fried, T-Mobile USA’s CEO Philipp Humm revealed that it has not managed to get iPhone due to its unique band technology. AllThingsD reports:
“The key reason we didn’t have the iPhone in the past is we are on different band than globally the market was,” Humm said. “That is something which will change over time. Chipsets are also evolving to be able to allow for more bands.”
He acknowledges that at the end of the day, it will still be Apple’s decision to offer an iPhone that works on T-Mobile’s network.
While most GSM operators use the 850, 900, 1900 or 2100 MHz frequencies, T-Mobile uses the 1700/2100 MHz AWS band for its 3G. Unfortunately that means that mobile phone manufacturers need to use a chipset that works with the AWS band. So the 1 million or more unlocked iPhones users that are on T-Mobile’s network have to use the slow Edge network.
Interestingly, in an interview with CNET, T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray has revealed that Apple’s next generation iPhone will support the AWS bands.
Ray, however, said T-Mobile’s unique spectrum would have required extra work to ensure the iPhone ran correctly on its network. But the next chipset that Apple plans to use will be able to overcome that hurdle, he said.
“The next chipset will support AWS,” he said in an interview with CNET. “The challenge that existed in the past will go away.”
Ray said he has seen the roadmap of chipsets that Apple plans to use, and knows it has that capability. But he noted Apple could choose to ignore that capability and not strike a deal with T-Mobile.
It remains to be seen if Apple will finally offer the iPhone on T-Mobile USA’s network this year.
Would you switch to T-Mobile USA’s network if they start offering the iPhone? Let us know in the comments.