To follow up on yesterday’s news of new unsubsidized carrier pricing, T-Mobile, well, made it real. It’s not mandating that everyone pay in upwards of $600+ for a new phone to stay out of a contract with the company, you certainly have the option, and it’ll save you money in the long run. They’re also offering a version of iPhone specific to the carrier, but if you’ve been using an iPhone on T-Mobile (probably not a large group of people), it’s going to be a very different proposal.
Just to bring everyone to speed: T-Mobile is a GSM carrier. GSM is also used by AT&T here in the States (hence, their proposed merge made sense) and widely overseas. GSM requires SIM cards to operate and sign into their networks, allowing you to move from network to network by simply exchanging your SIM card like an ID. As a result, for many years, people had been buying AT&T iPhones and swapping in T-Mobile SIM cards with success, but at generally reduced speeds.
Now that T-Mobile is pitching itself as the ideal carrier for this kind of action, they’ve simultaneously announced their own iPhone. Unfortunately, as is also common practice between GSM carriers, T-Mobile’s new iPhone is locked, meaning you can’t move it beyond T-Mobile, although I’m sure someone will hack their way through to some mitigated success. T-Mobile’s exclusive features seem to make this a sensical thing: they’re throwing HD voice and their own flavor of LTE on the Apple hardware. Still, buyer beware, especially if you opt to pay the unsubsidized fee and skip out on T-Mobile before two years.