According to repeated reports, T-Mobile is about to adopt 3G frequencies available on current unlocked iPhones and other devices. The operator is switching on 1,900MHz repurposed for use as extra carrying space for the HSPA+ 84Mbps network due in 2012 at least in some parts of Nevada and Northern California as well as in the Northwest. Speeds seen by those who dwell in the altered regions are faster not only than they would be on EDGE, but also faster than real world 3G offered by AT&T, at 7.92Mbps down and 1.8Mbps up.
Devices currently served by T-Mobile are also able to use the 1,900MHz band, including mostly Samsung’s Galaxy Tabs and Galaxy S/S II models as well as Huawei Springboard and HTC Radar. To put these into a frequency checker, users usually need to dial #0011# on Samsung phones.
By itself, the frequency support doesn’t indicate that T-Mobile is immediately planning to carry the iPhone. The operator only requires 1,900MHz in some regions to get the four virtual providers on 3G that is needed to reach the highest 84Mbps possible. 1,700MHz 3G not supported by the iPhone 4S would still be necessary for Apple to get adequate access.
Now that unlocked iPhones are regularly sold in the U.S., supporting the band in some areas could still contribute to the handset adoption on T-Mobile around the country. Though requiring a hardware unlock in many cases and only recently offering micro SIM cards, the carrier already boasts more than one million iPhones on its network. Many of the handset owners have opted for T-Mobile because they don’t want to give up the carrier’s attractive plan, but also aren’t satisfied with its Android and Windows Phone options.