Update #1: Chris Hunkele has provided an analysis at the end of the post that seems to suggest the iPhone 2.0 is fundamentally incompatible with the T-Mobile 3G network that is rolling out now, check it out.
Update #2: Chris Hunkele has confirmed that the 3G iPhone will not work on the 3G T-Mobile network, see his comment here. It is our understanding that the 3G iPhone will continue to function as the original EDGE-based iPhone did, you won’t have access to the 3G speeds on T-Mobile.
With the impending release of the 3G iPhone getting ready to drop July 11th, the rumor-mill is spinning (atleast for US citizens) with: “Will this work on T-Mobile’s 3G network?”
Also combined with news, starting back in April, that the T-Mobile 3G rollout was tentatively going to be voice-only (rumors suggest previous owners of the broadcast band weren’t getting off the band fast enough), but then a May update suggesting that T-Mobile was infact doing a soft-launch of the 3G data network silently to customers.
NOTE: The T-Mobile rumor mill has also stated that Phoenix will be one of the first major cities to see the complete 3G rollout happen; so for the Arizona folks reading, congrats and please let us know how it performs!
Of the friends I know on T-Mobile, 80% of them have JailBroken iPhones on the network, so the question is pretty relevant especially given the new restrictions that AT&T looks to be putting on unlockers getting their hands on the 3G iPhone.
Laurence Hartje pointed out the following:
T-Mobile: 1700/2100 MHz
AT&T: 1900 MHz
It look like the MHz range the two 3G networks operate on is different (an opportunity for AT&T to force Apple to lock the device to the AT&T network) which will likely cause very little cross-network population of 3G devices, assuming that supporting different MHz ranges isn’t a software change.
Chris Hunkele did some digging into the hardware behind the different models of the iPhones and came up with:
The iphone 1.0 is a quad band phone (GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900) and can operate on both ATT’s and T-mobile’s networks
The iPhone 2.0’s has the 3G chip “Infineon-sourced S-GOLD3“.
It’s a tri-band chip operating at 850/1900/2100Mhz.
ATT offers UMTS or 3G using 850mhz(the old TDMA band) and 1900mhz.
While T-mobile offers HSDPA (technically 3.5g part of the UMTS specification) using 1700MHz for uplink and 2100MHz downlink.
Because HSDPA is part of the UMTS spec, it’s backward compatable.HOWEVER you have the limiting factor begin the frequencies the individual carriers use to transmit the data..
Europe and Asia’s G3 runs on 1900/2100mhz
North and south America is suposed to use the (AWS) 3G spec using 1700/2100mhz
ATT didn’t want to wait, like T-mobile is doing, for homeland security to vacate those frequencies and launched on 850/1900mhz instead
The iphone2.0 would have to be 850/1700/1900/2100 3G and 850/1900 GSM (voice)….
Since it’s 850/1900/2100Mhz you can get 3G on ATT and in Europe
So while you can crack iphone 2.0 and use Tmo’s EDGE, you will never get Tmo G3
Chris, you are a badass my friend, that was a lot of research there and it looks like there is going to be no love for the iPhone 2.0 crowd on the T-Mobile network, atleast not right now.
We’ll keep you posted on any developments with regards to the 3G iPhone on T-Mobile as we find out more.
Update #3: While not 3G-related, we did put up a guide on how to hack your iPhone (either 1st Gen or 3G iPhone) to enable it to work on T-Mobile’s network and upgrade it to the new Firmware 2.0.1 revision so you can get some of that new App 2.0 sexiness. Check it out.