T-Mobile will start selling Apple products in 2013: what this means for Canada

Daniel Bader

December 6, 2012 1:00pm

The parent company of T-Mobile USA, Deutsche Telekom, announced today that the country’s fourth-largest carrier will begin selling Apple products in 2013. While it doesn’t specifically name the iPhone in the press release, it is reasonably assured that the carrier will sell the next version of Apple’s popular smartphone — either that, or a LTE-compatible iPad.

And while it would be safe to assume that if T-Mobile does start selling the iPhone next year it would come to AWS carriers in Canada, specifically WIND, Mobilicity and Videotron, let’s talk for a second about why that may not be true.

First of all, T-Mobile plans to launch its LTE network in 2013 across the AWS spectrum as it repurposes its HSPA+ network for PCS. The company is already transitioning some of its HSPA+ network to the 1900Mhz frequency to free up the space it needs on AWS (1700/2100) for LTE. This stands to make not only any new iPhones that Apple releases next year, but the existing AT&T/Rogers/Bell/TELUS iPhone 5, compatible with its network, so it’s not surprising that T-Mobile made the announcement today.

For the next iPhone to be compatible with AWS carriers in Canada it would need to support HSPA+ on AWS, something Apple is unlikely to do given its track record. WIND and Mobilicity don’t have enough spectrum to deploy HSPA+ on another frequency while it builds up LTE over AWS, so this announcement may not affect whether the new entrants get the iPhone. It’s also not likely that the new entrants will start building over their LTE networks until the 700Mhz spectrum auction, slated for mid-2013. We’ll have a better idea then what their plans are for LTE.

Then there is the problem of scale: Apple expects its partner carriers to make huge investments, both in stock and in marketing, around the iPhone. Sprint’s commitment to sell 30 million iPhones over four years nearly bankrupted them, and while Canadian carriers don’t share the same sale expectations, it may not be worth Apple’s time to ensure compatibility with our new entrants given their current market share.

Though this announcement does bring a glimmer of hope to current WIND, Mobilicity and Videotron users looking to use an iPhone on their AWS HSPA+ networks, it looks like T-Mobile is moving to where Apple’s puck is and not the other way around. We’ll know more in the coming months but, until then, temper your expectations.

Via: Engadget

  • Adam

    Won’t happen.

    T-Mobile is deploying 1900mhz HSPA+ throughout the USA.

    However, this is still good news for Canadians, that means your unlocked phone has a good chance of working in most places now. You don’t need an AWS phone to get a T-Mobile prepaid SIM anymore. Previously, AT&T was the only option, which used to be fine, but they changed their prepaid plans so even a 500MB data plan requires a minimum $50 investment.

    Sorry Wind/Mobi folks, not going to happen.

    • vn33

      When this happens, I’ll change my T-Mobile pre-paid from the $2/day to the $3/day plan !!

    • Gene

      1900 upgrade has already happened, in New York at least. My wife gets full 3g with her TMO sim.

    • Adam

      The trouble is the USA extends beyond New York. Lately their 1900 coverage is improving, but still leaves many markets without coverage. I wish they’d give updates as to what the current coverage looks like

    • S S

      For those planning on going to the States, just a couple things for T-Mobile:
      – $3/day unlimited talk+text+data.
      – Even if your phone doesn’t have AWS, you can still use EDGE (decent for everything except streaming)
      – In addition to the above, 1900 frequency is active now, so you may still get 3G in some places.

      AT&T has Robelus compatible 3G, but they don’t do per-day data. Avoid, unless you’re staying for a while.

      I have a T-Mobile SIM to use with my iPhone; it would pick up 3G frequently (I-5 corridor).

    • DroidFTW

      Why sorry? It means less iPhony

  • skazzers

    Who needs Iphone when you have BB10?

  • jeff


  • Sam

    Means more sheeps in 2013

  • Kody

    Good discussion article.

    Apple products don’t really match well Wind/Mobi/VT. With no 3 year contracts to subsidize the phones, who’s going to want to pay $700-$900 for an unlocked iPhone, when the superior Nexus 4 is available for $310-$350?

    • Scott

      Koodo, Virgin Mobile and Fido figured all out a way to make it work. If they got the opportunity, I’m sure Wind et al would also find a way. But for the reasons described by @Adam I believe they will not get the chance unfortunately.

    • Jon

      WIND’s tab system is just a 3 year contract. Also Koodo and Virginlets you buy an iPhone on their tab, so I don’t think tat’ll be a problem. The more important issue is that there’s still no evidence of an AWS HSPA iPhone that’s comaptible, despite today’s announcement.

  • Boris

    Let’s hope Mobilicity will also get get BB10 phones since they already sell flagship Android devices!

    I’m sick of bleeding money for 1 Gig of LTE data in a limited phone plan …

  • henry

    won’t happen to canada at least in the next year or so. T-mobile is only alternating their frequency to match the iphone’s spec. For wind/mobil to work on iphone they would have to alternate their frequency too, which i don’t believe will happen in the next 2 years. maybe in iPhone 6s

  • Nathen

    Uh ok who Cares ?

    Also anyone who has 1/2 a Brain would just ORDER a Nexus 4 and VOILA !! you never have to worry about CARRIERS again.

    Frankly this BS about how certain phones only work with Certain Carriers is more reason everyone EVERYONE should buy a Nexus 4, this would send a STRONG and CLEAR message to Companys that we consumers dont want to be played as fools anymore.

  • Therm0

    I’m on the T-Mo prepaid as well, and while I did use my Milestone for GSM and voice/sms, data was useless at 2G speeds (it was enough to use GTalk which was useful in itself). Looking foward to being able to swap a sim and get LTE on both sides of the border on my next device. Contract’s up in July so will be going to LTE then. Hoping for a nice high-end handset around then.

    • Therm0

      Might wait for the next Nexus too.

  • coxon

    It will use 1900 for LTE data and T-Mobile’s 2G GSM for voice. Genius move by T-Mobile.

    • Adam

      They’re using AWS for LTE, not 1900(PCS) PCS will cover HSPA+, 850 is still used for GSM

  • andy c

    there are already rumours that Tmobile plans to roll out LTE on the same band the Nexus 4 supports. I would suspect if apple were to include LTE band 4 on the next iphone (if it is not included already) they could justify putting the iphone on T-mobile without having to create another sku.

    hopfully the above is true. Then the Nexus 4 would “officially” support LTE

    • T1MB0T

      Since wind is n the record saying NO LTE and they are for sale again,right nuke, might as well just throw in the towel. When is Howard going to change the ” Powered by Globalive ” since we all know Orascom was, is and always will be running it.

      come to the gym and get your workout on. not you waren or johnn you 2 twinks stay home and play hide the repeater

  • Cody

    So it’s like Verizon all over again, iPhone 5S will come for Tmo and push the iPhone 6 off a few months.

  • Jon

    T-Mobile already converted many of their 2G 1900 to 3G (liek in Las Vegas), so they are compatible both 3G and 3G/4G. Plus they are rolling out LTE on AWS which the iPhone 5 is already compatible with.

    No need for Band 4 HSPA for the phone to work, so no guarantees that Videotron/WIND/Mobilicity will get the iPhone.

  • DMele

    maybe it will be the CDMA version that you can get on spring as T-Mobile just acquired metro pcs and now has compatible technology.

    • Adam

      TMobile wont’ turn into a CDMA(note: Dead tech) carrier.

    • T1MB0T

      LOL CDMA is as dead as AWS! uselesssssssssssssss

  • AWSGuy

    So what happens to AWS HSPA? Wind/Mobi are SOL?

  • drone

    Fellow fandorks, please don’t turn this into yet another iPhone vs Android piss fest. The iPhone, whether you like it or not, has a strong market demand and will continue to sell profusely; save yourself the trouble and just stop commenting if it’s yet another meaningless ad-hominem attack.

    • T1MB0T

      drone you are correct the phenomenon knows as the Iphone makes or breaks networks. Everyone wants the iphone phone, but you need a real network to make it work.. oops sorry wind!

  • Gman

    t mobile and wind and mobilicity are not quite the same. Same reason why T mobile got their jelly bean update for the S3 but samsung still fail to update the one for Wind and Mobi, because they are not the same thing. Different modem.

  • Dave

    Robelus & CRTC will do anything and everything in their power just to make sure that WIND and Mobilicity are not going to have it in Canada. welcome to the stone age!