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4G/LTE on Unlocked Phones?

Last response: in Cell Phones & Smartphones
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November 28, 2012 6:30:52 PM

Hey all,

I am mighty confused about this.

The first cell phones and smart phones I bought were unlocked (way back in 2006-2007) and I used them on a prepaid plan through T-Mobile. My first smartphones were also unlocked from Europe and Asia (Motorola ROCKR E6, LG Viewty K990, Samsung Pixon, Samsung Jet) and they were expensive, but awesome, way better than what was available here. The Pixon and Jet both supported 3G but they only got EDGE 2G because they were unlocked.

Now we have 4G and LTE. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is the phone I want, but it only has a dual-core processor, while the European/Asian phones have the awesome Exynos 4-core. My contract with T-Mobile is up this summer and I want a quad-core device. I don't want to switch to AT&T or any other carrier because they are more expensive. Currently the only handset T-Mobile has with 4-cores is the Galaxy Note 2, but I don't really want a phone that huge (phablet?).

So, my question is whether you can still get 4G HSPA+ or LTE on an unlocked phone, or are you stuck with 3G or EDGE. I am looking at the international version of the GS3 GT-i9300. It's stupid-expensive, but you can get it cheaper used. By the time my contract is up, it will probably be even cheaper. Do they even have 4G LTE in Europe or Asia?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

More about : lte unlocked phones

November 29, 2012 11:53:32 PM

From my little knowledge of phones and the 4G/3G/2G/EDGE networks, I believe it has to really do with the network bands that are in the phone specifically and your carries network bands that they use for their service.

So, to put into an example, let's say the SIII has a 1100Mhz band and it can go onto the 4G networks of AT&T and Verizon because they both use a 1100Mhz band network, but can't go on the 4G network of T-Mobile because T-Mobile's network has a 900Mhz band. So the SIII will revert to 2G/EDGE/3G depending upon the connectivity between the bands.

Again this is just an example of how I've understood on how it works, it's probably something entirely different, but it's the same concept. I also love T-Mobile, best plans and I always use unlocked phones and root them. I don't pay for an Internet plan for my phone because I find it to be a waste, so I have unlimited text and 500 min call.

Hoped I help a bit...
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November 30, 2012 4:21:57 AM

Echondo,

From my understanding, it's a quad-band "world" phone, meaning it can work on any of the GSM carriers around the world (like Orange or Vodafone in Europe), so it runs on the 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz frequencies. For the record the 900-1800 MHz is mainly reserved for 2G/EDGE, UMTS 3G for the USA runs in the 1900 to 1700 MHz, and the 4G runs anywhere from 1710-1755, 2110-2155 MHz for T-Mobile. What all that means is beyond me, and even that changes as you move between regions.

So you can begin to see my confusion here. I bought the Samsung Jet with hopes it would work with the 3G as it was a "world" quad-band phone, but was sadly disappointed and only got EDGE.

If I buy a stupid-expensive GT-i9300, I want it to have 4G. If it can't, then I'll wait for a quad-core handset from T-Mobile that doesn't cover the side of my head when I use it.

Anyone else?

Thanks for the reply!
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December 6, 2012 9:09:00 AM

sirstinky said:
Hey all,

I am mighty confused about this.

The first cell phones and smart phones I bought were unlocked (way back in 2006-2007) and I used them on a prepaid plan through T-Mobile. My first smartphones were also unlocked from Europe and Asia (Motorola ROCKR E6, LG Viewty K990, Samsung Pixon, Samsung Jet) and they were expensive, but awesome, way better than what was available here. The Pixon and Jet both supported 3G but they only got EDGE 2G because they were unlocked.

Now we have 4G and LTE. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is the phone I want, but it only has a dual-core processor, while the European/Asian phones have the awesome Exynos 4-core. My contract with T-Mobile is up this summer and I want a quad-core device. I don't want to switch to AT&T or any other carrier because they are more expensive. Currently the only handset T-Mobile has with 4-cores is the Galaxy Note 2, but I don't really want a phone that huge (phablet?).

So, my question is whether you can still get 4G HSPA+ or LTE on an unlocked phone, or are you stuck with 3G or EDGE. I am looking at the international version of the GS3 GT-i9300. It's stupid-expensive, but you can get it cheaper used. By the time my contract is up, it will probably be even cheaper. Do they even have 4G LTE in Europe or Asia?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!



sorry to let you know I9300 will not work on T-mobile 3G/4G. it might work in future T-mobile LTE network.
I9300 does not support 1700MHz . and T-mobile does use 1700 MHz for 3G/4G
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December 6, 2012 6:34:42 PM

bunty83 said:
sorry to let you know I9300 will not work on T-mobile 3G/4G. it might work in future T-mobile LTE network.
I9300 does not support 1700MHz . and T-mobile does use 1700 MHz for 3G/4G


Thanks Bunty. That's bad news, but it's fine with me. I can wait for something better, it's just the 3.5" screen of my current phone and the lack of ROM support is killing me. My boss got a Note 2 and it's killer, easily the best handset out there now. He has AT&T and his LTE will get 26 mpbs where we live! That's as fast as cable internet. I get maybe 7 on my HSPA+

I can't wait for T-Mobile to hurry up and roll out LTE. I guess it's coming next year sometime. I'd have liked the deal with AT&T to go through...that would have meant LTE right away.
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