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Summary:

Reports are coming in that T-Mobile will start selling the nano-SIM in October, and you know what that means. It will be able to activate unlocked iPhone 5s on its network. Most customers will still be limited to 2G speeds, but that’s changing quickly.

T-Mobile SIM Card

Even though it’s never officially offered the device, T-Mobile has long supported the iPhone on its 2G networks by simply selling its customers SIM cards they can slot into their handsets. The new iPhone 5, however, uses new nano-SIM technology – try as hard as you like but you won’t be able to cram a T-Mo SIM into the Apple device.

Apparently that will change in mid-October. Both TMoNews and The Verge have tracked down information suggesting T-Mobile will begin selling the nano-SIM in mid-October. TMoNews got its hands on internal T-Mobile SIM materials that show that nano-card will be available mid-next month, and The Verge spotted a tweet from T-Mobile customer service stating T-Mobile is “looking at getting them mid October.”

This is hardly a surprise since T-Mobile has been actively luring iPhone owners of all makes over to its network where they can wallow in the carrier’s unlimited and cheap big-bucket data plans. The big catch is that in most of T-Mobile’s footprint customers can only access 2G speeds on the iPhone. Gobs of cheap data aren’t much use if you can only download them at sub-dial-up speeds.

But that’s changing, and quickly. T-Mobile is overhauling its networks, aligning them with the 3G and 4G radios embedded in the iPhone and most other North American GSM devices. iPhone customers can already access its HSPA+ network in New York City, Las Vegas and Seattle, and T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray has said the carrier will have a “material” footprint of HSPA+ in iPhone friendly bands by the end of the year. (Ray will share more details on T-Mobile’s network transformation at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference next week).

In the second half of 2013, T-Mobile’s LTE network will be online, giving it full compatibility with all of the iPhone’s radios. So if you can’t wait until T-Mobile officially lands an iPhone distribution deal and are willing to shell out the hefty price for an unlocked device, we suggest you buy the AT&T/North American version of the device. It’s the iPhone that will be exactly where T-Mobile’s networks are in 2013.

  1. That’s great for T-mobile, they don’t have to pay handset subsidies. I bought my teenage son an unlocked Nexus S on eBay for $120, a couple of months ago. It’s now on a T-Mobile $30 prepaid plan. So far so good, it’s a great phone and plan.

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    1. Hey Dan,

      Yeah, those value plans are a great deal, but it’s going to be a while before you get a $120 iPhone 5 on eBay. :) Now is the time to get a good deal on an iPhone 4 or 4S. Just make sure it’s unlocked before you buy

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  2. I would have waited to drop a few large on an unlock version of iphone5 but i just couldn’t wait T-Mo to “refarm” the spectrum to convert to 4G and pass up now on average of 10-15Mbps Downlink with a SGS 3 where I live. Perhaps I will consider iphone5 again when T-Mo entirely gets its “refarming” done. In the mean time, who can pass up a 4G speed without any data cap for half the price of Big Red or AT&T.

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    1. Hi Maung, If you’re willing to pay the unsubsidized price you can sign up for a no contract plan with AT&T you can switch whenever you like. It’s hard to resist the allure of that hefty subsidy though. AT&T’s network is nothing to scoff at either if you the pricing plans work out. LTE is a whole new network.

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  3. Babak Mir-Eschghi Saturday, September 15, 2012

    If AT&T doesn’t unlock your iPhone so you can switch to T-Mobile, you can use UnlockStreak activations for iTunes, which basically turns iTunes into iPhone unlock software. The UnlockStreak activation is executed through iTunes and does a permanent unlock just like the unlock from AT&T.

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  4. I have a factory unlocked iPhone 4 using T-Mobile. I do NOT have fast internet. The phone is on EDGE. And I live in Manhattan, New York City.

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  5. So if I buy the unlocked AT&T/Canadian version of the iPhone 5 and transfer it to tmobile service will I get 3G/4G speeds?

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  6. iPhone 5 is announced on September 12, 2012. And release date set on September 21, 2012.

    iPhone 5 will be again the best phone in the world. So Where to buy iPhone 5 online for cheapest price?

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  7. I am an iphone 4 user, been with att for over 2 year contract… everthing I have researched so far, tells me I SHOULD switch to the walmart prepaid. ( I forget the name!) why not? please tell me.. I am scared to do it, and be unsatisfied, then go back… I have a grandfathered plan, and wont be able to get it then. I hear data speed, etc.. is the same.. sixty7flh@yahoo.com

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  8. So does this mean that T-Mobile will be getting sim cards that we can buy and then just buy an iphone 5 from the apple store put the sim card inside then we have an iphone but we will still be on T-Mobiles plan?

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  9. if we bought an iphone how would i make it on my tmoible plan

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    1. Go for the ‘SIM-ONLY’plan available thru T-Mumble.. Value Plan is $69.99/mo. UNLIMITED EVERYTHING with a two year commit….

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  10. They have arrived at my local, friendly T -Mumble stores here in SoCal… 10/07/2012…..

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