T-Mobile iPhone 5: pros and cons

Top 10 Tony Crammond 09:21, Apr 03 2013

Is T-Mobile's iPhone 5 a smart option?

Apple’s iPhone 5 is currently winging its way to T-Mobile’s network and will land on April 12th, giving users the opportunity to buy the device on the country’s fourth largest network for the very first time. But is it a good idea to buy into T-Mobile’s new ethos for your iPhone 5? What are the advantages and disadvantages to using T-Mobile’s network for all your iPhone-related needs?

No lengthy service contract

That’s a good thing, right? Well, kind of. While it’s true that you won’t be tied to T-Mobile for your service you will be tied to the carrier until you’ve paid for your phone.

As it currently stands you’ll have to put $100 down for the iPhone 5 and then pay $20 per month for two years. Can you take your business elsewhere if you don’t like the service? Yeah, but you can’t unlock your T-Mobile iPhone 5 until it’s bought and paid for…in full.

So it isn’t all positive.

Comparatively small but very fast LTE network

T-Mobile’s LTE network isn’t particularly big at present, covering just seven cities (Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose and Washington, D.C.), but things are growing for the carrier. New York City is expected to be added to the roster come summer, and, as it stands, T-Mobile’s LTE is the fastest out there right now, smoking the likes of Verizon in the speed stakes.

Whether that will continue when the network is subscribed up the Wazoo is anyone’s guess, but if you’re in one of those seven cities right now, things are likely to be golden for you.

Cheap Device?

The iPhone 5 is only available in its 16GB incarnation on T-Mobile’s network and the device will cost you $580 overall, which may not seem cheap but when you factor in the company’s charges and services it’s likely to cost you less than if you were using the device on Verizon and Sprint’s network and only about $140 more than if you opted for AT&T.

Wired’s breakdown of the device makes for interested reading if you’re seriously considering T-Mobile for your iPhone 5.

Throttled speed

What’s the point in having a blisteringly fast LTE connection if you’re going to get hit with a speed decrease as soon as you exceed your limit? Think carefully, because that’s what you may end up with on T-Mobile. The carrier states in its T’s and C’s that it may reduce your speeds to 2G levels until your new allowance kicks in if you go over your allotted bandwidth.

While we understand that carriers need to protect their infrastructure, it’s the use of the word ‘may’ that we object to – as the old master once said, ‘Do or do not.’

New Technology

By being the last major carrier to roll out LTE, T-Mobile’s network has the advantage of being the most technically advanced. The carrier makes use of Ericsson and Nokia Siemens’ latest running gear, which should see it stay ahead of the curve, accepting upgrades to newer LTE tech without the need for costly and time-consuming improvements.

What does that equal for the user? Faster, next-gen LTE services as and when they’re available.

Sponsored Links