Before today, using an iPhone on T-Mobile’s network meant a compromise on speed: unlocked handsets would get service, but only on EDGE. Thanks to spectrum refarming efforts that started last fall, the operator has been able to suddenly “turn on” 4G (the HSPA+ kind) for that grey market segment. But with Apple now bringing the iPhone 5 officially to T-Mobile’s newly launched LTE lineup, the UnCarrier’s subscriber base no longer has to trade down.
Being the last of the major US carriers to be granted access to the Cupertino cult, T-Mobile trotted out the device with a decent amount of fanfare. Well, at least as much as can be mustered for a six month-old device. And, what can we say, an iPhone is an iPhone. Aesthetically, it’s the same handset that’s already available from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and a handful of regional carriers. That means a large swath of fortified glass on the front and a sheet of lovely metal on the rear. When it launches on April 12th with a $99 down payment, it’ll be able to hop on T-Mobile’s burgeoning LTE network on the AWS band. But, should that not be active in your hometown, it’ll fallback to big-magenta’s AWS-powered HSPA+ 42Mbps network.
Gallery: T-Mobile iPhone 5 hands-on
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T-Mobile’s iPhone 5 gets official: we go hands-on (update: now with video)