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T-mobile iPhone 5 Review

Some may ask why we are doing a review of the T-mobile iPhone 5, especially when the iPhone 5 has been on the market since September of last year. The reason is simple; we wanted to test if the iPhone is suitable for you on T-mobile compared to other companies, in this case AT&T. Many people unlocked iPhones for years to use it on T-mo's network, but could only use 2G "Edge" band.

Along with the announcement that it will start carrying the iPhone, T-mobile recently started to launch LTE in different markets in the US; in Puerto Rico the company has been rolling out 4G HSPA+, compatible bands for the iPhone and even 3G in various parts of the island. We can expect LTE in Puerto Rico some time later this year.

Thanks to T-mobile Puerto Rico I’ve been able to carry around an iPhone 5 running on their network for the last couple of weeks. Most of the time I’ve been on 4G, sadly at my home in the city of Ponce I can only get Edge (2G). 

This review is short as I will only talk about the experience of using an iPhone on T-mobile’s network.

Network and speeds

Using an iPhone 5 on T-mobile was something I really wanted to try out. The attractive thing about T-mobile is the cheaper call and data plan but the reasons I haven’t switch from AT&T to T-mobile are that the iPhone wasn’t available, something I can’t scratch off now, lack of good coverage at home, and of course no LTE. The latter is a very decisive thing when I even consider switching; as they say, once you go LTE you wouldn’t want to go back.

During the last couple of weeks I have made speed tests around where I live, the places I go and in the metropolitan area in Puerto Rico where there is usually better coverage. Most of the time I have experience 4G signals with speeds that average between 4-5mbps download and 2mbps upload; the highest download speed recorded was an 8.35mpbs in Cupey, Puerto Rico.

Compared with my AT&T iPhone, which most of the time is on LTE, the average speed is 12-15mbps on download and 3mbps on upload. Speed is key as I rely on it everyday to work. At one time, while being on the T-mobile iPhone and on 4G, I waited over 5 minutes to download the official Twitter iPhone app, which is 21.8 MBs in size.

Sadly at home, either I have 2G (Edge) or no signal at all, which really disappointed me since it has been like that for a couple of years now.

Call quality 

T-mobile’s iPhone ships with HD Voice support. This feature provides better call quality blocking the background noise and providing clarity to the caller's voice. For this feature to work, the network and both devices used in a call have to support HD Voice. 

I used the iPhone 5 provided by T-mobile Puerto Rico with one over at a store and, although I noticed an improvement in quality, it wasn't something to write about.

Wrap up

One of the biggest appeals of the T-mobile iPhone is the cheap call and data plan. At $69.99 you get unlimited voice, text and data. This plan, plus taxes, still cheaper than my current AT&T bill, which is something that haunts me every month.

But aside from a cheaper call and data plan, I would currently have a hard time dealing with a T-mobile iPhone. From 2G (Edge) signal to no signal at all at home and slower speeds than those I have with AT&T, I have to say that in order for me to switch, would have to wait for the LTE rollout.

The T-mobile iPhone 5 would be a great option for those that currently own an older unlocked iPhone running on T-mobile and have the chance to get the iPhone 5 at the price of a new contract or for those that already are T-mobile's customers considering buying it.

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