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Why T-Mobile Gets Its Very Own iPhone 5

T-Mobile's very own iPhone 5

T-Mobile’s announcement about getting the new iPhone 5 provides a breath of fresh air and good news for customers who have had the unfortunate displeasure of bringing incompatible iPhones to T-Mobile’s network (and experiencing 2G EDGE as a result).

Legere’s announcement brings another little piece of exciting news: T-Mobile will have its own, unique iPhone 5 with carrier branding. That’s right: you will see “T-Mobile” every time you look at the back of your iPhone 5. T-Mobile customers will now have the same sense of pride as their friends who are customers with the Big Three — AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless. T-Mobile will no longer be branded as “the nation’s fourth wheel,” but rather, an equal contender to the other top national carriers.

The timing of T-Mo’s announcement seemed rather haphazard and out of the blue, right? After all, the iPhone 5 has been out for six months. Why not wait until Apple presented the iPhone 5S? Why did T-Mo feel the need to make an announcement about its new iPhone 5? While the answers to these questions may not be obvious, there is an answer: T-Mo made its grand announcement because 1) T-Mo has some unique hardware features to its iPhone 5 and 2) T-Mo had some unique software features to add to its iPhone 5. In truth, both are correct.

First, T-Mobile has some software features for its iPhone 5 customers that iPhone 5 users from other carriers do not have. One of these is called HD voice (high-definition), a feature that, like its HD graphics counterpart, produces clearer calls and eliminates background noise. Apple has included noise reduction into its latest flagship phone, but you can still detect noise in the background when you place a call to a family relative or friend. T-Mo’s new HD voice feature may just improve Apple’s noise reduction even more — and the best part of it all is that HD voice is unlimited with all of T-Mo’s value plans (and its $50 and $70 prepaid plans!).

T-Mobile’s iPhone 5 will also need a hardware distinction from the iPhones of other carriers. The carrier’s services run on AWS, known as “Advanced Wireless System,” contrary to the wireless bandwith used by other carriers. T-Mobile’s AWS 1700Mhz band is currently lacking on both unlocked iPhones as well as AT&T GSM phones; unfortunately, there is no software update that can convert these incompatible iPhones into compatible ones. It is the reason why T-Mobile’s network has been non-iPhone-compatible for so long. Apple, after all these years, has finally agreed to make a T-Mobile-compatible iPhone just for iPhone customers who do business with the Deutsche Telekom USA carrier. There were many who believed, prior to this announcement, that iPhone 5s would run on T-Mo’s HSPA+ and LTE network. Many said that iPhone 5 users who joined the carrier would experience 2G EDGE in most places, not to mention slower Internet speeds than that of, say, AT&T. This news shakes up the stakes and places T-Mo back into a competitive position with AT&T.

Now that you know about Apple’s pledge and partnership with T-Mo to create a Magenta-compatible iPhone, what do you think? Do you want to sign with T-Mobile now on a value or prepaid plan? Let us know in the comments.