What is the difference between SIM-free unlocked iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus models and T-Mobile models?


iPhone 6 Plus

Earlier today, Apple finally started selling unlocked SIM-free versions of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the U.S.

Some readers did not get what was the big deal as the T-Mobile iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models were unlocked and could be used with any carrier. 

They also cost the same starting at $649 for the 16GB iPhone 6 model and $749 for the 16GB iPhone 6 Plus model.

I initially thought that the only difference between the SIM-free unlocked models and the T-Mobile models was that the later came with T-Mobile SIM, which wasn’t a big deal as you could remove the SIM and use a SIM from your preferred carrier.

Looks like I was wrong like many blogs reporting about the unlocked iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch (thanks to our reader for pointing it out). The T-Mobile and SIM-free unlocked models are different. From Apple’s website:

The unlocked iPhone 6 Plus model is A1524. The T-Mobile iPhone 6 model is A1549. The T-Mobile iPhone 6 Plus model is A1522.

So what does it mean?

The T-Mobile iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus support the following frequencies and bands:

  • CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29)

The unlocked iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus support the following frequencies and bands:

  • CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • TD-SCDMA 1900 (F), 2000 (A)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • FDD-LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29)
  • TD-LTE (Bands 38, 39, 40, 41)

As you can see the major difference (highlighted in bold) between the unlocked and T-Mobile models is the support for TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE Bands, which is required to be able to use the devices on the Chinese carriers such as China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.

According to Apple’s website, the unlocked models supports many more carriers than the T-Mobile models, which is intriguing as the only difference in the frequencies and bands that I can spot seems to be related to China.

So to conclude, if you prefer to use a local carrier when travelling abroad especially to China then it would be prudent to buy the unlocked iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus models from Apple’s online website rather than the T-Mobile iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus models, especially for LTE.

If you’ve been using the T-Mobile iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus while travelling abroad then it would be great if you can confirm if it works on any other carriers that hasn’t be mentioned below.

Carriers supported by T-Mobile iPhone 6 (A1549) and iPhone 6 Plus models (A1522)
United States

  • Aio
  • Alaska Communications
  • AT&T
  • Consumer Cellular
  • Cricket
  • Family Mobile
  • GCI
  • Net 10
  • Straight Talk
  • T-Mobile
  • Union Wireless
  • Verizon

Aruba

  • SETAR

Bahamas

  • BTC

Brazil

  • Claro
  • Nextel
  • Oi
  • TIM
  • Vivo

Canada

  • Bell (including Virgin)
  • eastlink
  • MTS
  • Rogers (including Fido)
  • SaskTel
  • Telus (including Koodo)
  • Videotron

Cayman Islands

  • LIME

Chile

  • Claro
  • Entel
  • Movistar

Colombia

  • Claro

Costa Rica

  • Claro
  • ICE
  • Movistar

Dominican Republic

  • Claro

Guam

  • DOCOMO PACIFIC
  • GTA
  • iConnect

Mexico

  • Telcel

Puerto Rico

  • AT&T
  • Claro
  • Open Mobile
  • T-Mobile

Peru

  • Claro
  • Entel
  • Movistar

Uruguay

  • Antel
  • Claro
  • Movistar

 

Carriers supported by Unlocked iPhone 6 (A1586) and iPhone 6 Plus models (A1524)
United States

  • Appalachian Wireless
  • Bluegrass Cellular
  • Boost
  • C Spire
  • Cellcom
  • Chariton Valley
  • Chat Mobility
  • Defense Mobile
  • MobileNation
  • Nex-Tech
  • NorthwestCell
  • nTelos
  • Pioneer Cellular
  • Sprint
  • STRATA Networks
  • Syringa
  • Thumb Cellular
  • United Wireless
  • US Cellular

Angola

  • Unitel

Australia

  • iiNet
  • Optus (including Virgin)
  • Telstra
  • Vodafone

Austria

  • 3
  • T-Mobile

Bahrain

  • Batelco
  • VIVA
  • Zain

Belgium

  • Base
  • Mobistar
  • Proximus
  • Telenet

Brunei

  • DST

China

  • China Mobile
  • China Telecom
  • China Unicom

Croatia

  • Hrvatski Telekom

Czech Republic

  • O2
  • T-Mobile
  • Vodafone

Denmark

  • 3
  • TDC
  • Telenor
  • Telia

Estonia

  • EMT

Finland

  • DNA (including DNAPro)
  • Elisa (including Saunalahti)
  • Sonera

France

  • Bouygues
  • Free
  • NRJ
  • Orange
  • SFR (including La Poste Mobile)

Germany

  • Deutsche Telekom
  • O2
  • Vodafone

Greece

  • Cosmote
  • Vodafone

Greenland

  • TELE-POST

Hong Kong

  • China Mobile Hong Kong
  • CSL
  • 3
  • SmarTone

Hungary

  • Telenor
  • T-Mobile

Iceland

  • Nova
  • Siminn
  • Vodafone

Ireland

  • 3
  • Meteor
  • Vodafone

Isle of Man

  • Manx Telecom

Israel

  • Cellcom
  • Orange
  • Pelephone

Italy

  • 3
  • TIM
  • Vodafone

Japan

  • KDDI
  • NTT docomo
  • Softbank

Korea

  • Olleh
  • SK Telecom
  • LG U+

Kuwait

  • Ooredoo
  • VIVA
  • Zain

Latvia

  • LMT

Lebanon

  • Alfa
  • Zain

Liechtenstein

  • Orange

Lithuania

  • Omnitel

Luxembourg

  • Orange
  • POST
  • Tango

Macedonia

  • T-Mobile

Malaysia

  • Celcom
  • DiGi
  • Maxis

Mauritius

  • Orange

Malta

  • Vodafone

Moldova

  • Orange

Monaco

  • Monaco Telecom

Montenegro

  • Crnogorski Telekom

Namibia

  • MTC
  • Telecom Namibia

Netherlands

  • KPN
  • T-Mobile
  • Vodafone

New Zealand

  • Spark
  • Two Degrees
  • Vodafone

Norway

  • NetCom
  • Tele2
  • Telenor

Oman

  • Omantel
  • Ooredoo

Philippines

  • Globe
  • SMART

Poland

  • Orange
  • Play
  • T-Mobile

Portugal

  • MEO
  • Optimus
  • Vodafone

Puerto Rico

  • Open Mobile
  • Sprint

Qatar

  • Ooredoo
  • Vodafone

Romania

  • Orange
  • Telekom Romania
  • Vodafone

Russia

  • Beeline
  • MegaFon

Saudi Arabia

  • Mobily
  • STC
  • Zain

Singapore

  • M1
  • SingTel
  • StarHub

Slovakia

  • Slovak Telekom

Slovenia

  • Telekom Slovenia

South Africa

  • Cell C
  • MTN
  • Vodacom

Spain

  • Orange
  • Telefonica
  • Vodafone
  • Yoigo

Sri Lanka

  • Dialog

Sweden

  • 3
  • Comviq
  • Tele2
  • Telenor
  • Telia

Switzerland

  • Orange
  • Sunrise
  • Swisscom

Taiwan

  • APT
  • Chunghwa Telecom
  • FarEasTone
  • Taiwan Mobile
  • VIBO

Thailand

  • dtac
  • True Move

UAE

  • DU
  • Etisalat

United Kingdom

  • 3
  • EE
  • O2 (including Giffgaff)
  • Vodafone
Like this post? Share it!

  • I’m from Brazil. I love this blog, thanks.

  • Ru1Sous4

    T-Mobile iPhone 6 works perfectly here in Portugal.

    • Gautam

      Thanks! Does LTE work as well?

      • Ru1Sous4

        Here we use LTE bands 3/7/20 (like most country’s in Europe) and those bands are available in every iPhone 6/6 Plus models. So no matter the iPhone 6/6 Plus that you buy, all of them will work here. (situation that didn’t happen with the 5 and 5S)
        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LTE_networks

  • Lutz-R. Frank

    by the way – A1524 is the same as the version sold in Europe (unlocked as default)

  • Mystic

    T-Mobile iphone 6/6+ works with all carriers in Kenya

    • Gautam

      Thanks, that’s what I thought. But LTE work as well?

      • Mystic

        Sigh, LTE is yet to be rolled out

  • Jai Singh

    Guyana South American Both Networks GT&T & Digicel for the T-Mobile Unlock Version

  • CODhaloVET

    TELCEL Mexico works for both 3G and 4G/LTE on my iPhone 6 plus T-mobile version

  • Nils Johnsen

    T-mobile iphone A1549 works on all Norwegian sim.

  • Jose

    So if I put in a telcel SIM into my T-mobile iPhone 6 plus
    It will work??

  • Lebanese12

    iPhone 6 A1549 verizon which was unlocked to me works here in lebanon on zain (or touch) and I have LTE on it

  • gaucho

    thanks for the tip will be very useful to me

  • Norberto Sica

    Argentina (AT&T Model)
    Personal
    Claro
    Movistar

  • jesper

    Tmobile version works wothout any problems in Denmark (activily running on Telenor and 3 )

    • Thomas

      Er det med model nummeret A1549 Og virker 4G?

  • Dont Copy Apple

    Since in Israel there is no LTE, the T-Mobile one works in Israel, I purchased a T-Mobile 5S for my son who is living there had it unlocked, and it is working there on Pelephone. Are you saying that the T-Mobile 6 comes unlocked?

  • nonomia

    I feel the carrier list is not accurated. because I am using T-mobile version i6 at Korea.

    • nonomia

      one more, I have been in China, and I just used for two weeks at 3G

    • Korea

      Question is, whether “LTE” would work on the T-mobile models. AFAIK, only 3G/4G would work.

      I’m wondering if “LTE” would work with the “Sim-Free” which is the Sprint Model in South Korea?

  • Ricky B

    NEXTEL Mexico working for LTE and 3G on an unlocked T-mobile iPhone 6

  • Leo

    iPhone 6 (A1549) works fine on carrier Orange at Dominican Republic. 3G works fine.

  • james kuach

    I bought new T-Mobile Iphone6 plus model A1522 with Sim T, in Dubai, and i opened it when I came to Uganda but does not allow any carrier when I put that Sim T it says, ‘no serve’ please I need your help to install my Sim.