GSM Stories September 23, 2012

Developer Chronic offering up some free AT&T iPhone 5 unlocks

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While being the source of much iOS news (and entertainment), Chronic is also a hardworking developer/hacker who helps iOS users get out of jams. His latest foray is into iPhone carrier unlocking. GSM carriers —such as AT&T in the U.S., or Fido and Rogers in Canada, or others such as Koodoo or Telus— can be unlocked including the just released iPhone 5. Since each carrier requires a different process, the fees vary widely.

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As a special incentive to 9to5Mac readers, Chronic is offering four free iPhone 5 unlocks for those on AT&T. If you are interested, just put your name in the comments. Everyone else can go here for prices and availability for their GSM carriers (obviously—Verizon and Sprint users need not apply)

[tweet https://twitter.com/chronic/status/250024461624029184]

GSM Stories September 13, 2012

Unlike Verizon’s lineup of LTE Android smartphones, we just confirmed with the carrier that the new iPhone 5 would not support simultaneous voice and data over its LTE network.

A Verizon spokesperson told us:

“The iPhone 5 was designed to allow customers to place a voice call on the Verizon Wireless network, while simultaneously letting customers access the Internet over the WiFi.”

We confirmed with AT&T, however, that the feature will work on its GSM model of the iPhone 5. AT&T told us:

“AT&T customers can talk and surf simultaneously on the new iPhone 5.”

We know Apple is shipping the same CDMA model iPhone 5 to both Sprint and Verizon, so it is probable that Sprint’s iPhone 5 will not support simultaneous voice and data as well.

Some Android devices do simultaneous voice and data on Verizon, so it is probably Apple’s baseband processor choice that led to the situation.

Update: According to the New York Times, the change is due to Apple. An Apple spokesperson explained:

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GSM Stories June 14, 2012

T-Mobile details progress of 4G network rollout, continues testing iPhone compatible 1900MHz HSPA+

Following a keynote from T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray at the NGMN conference this morning, Senior Vice President of Technology Dave Mayo provided an update today regarding the company’s $4 billion 4G-network plan.

We already knew T-Mobile would be make its 4G HSPA+ in the 1900 MHz band available to iPhone users later this year as its new network equipment gets installed. It recently confirmed that it began testing the network on a small scale. Today, we get an update on the progress of the carrier’s 4G rollout with Mayo confirming installations of new equipment at the first 400 modernized GSM / HSPA+ sites, which will be complete by the end of June, with the number growing to 2,500 sites a month after. He also noted the carrier was approved for 19,500 additional sites. This indicates the LTE network is on track for its 2013 rollout.

GSM Stories May 1, 2012

Industry expert sees Apple becoming a mobile operator

At a recent presentation in front of international wireless operators at the Informa MVNO Industry Summit in Barcelona, wireless industry analyst Whitey Bluestein claimed Apple will soon move to provide wireless service directly to users of its iOS devices. Specifically, he said Apple will beat Google to become a mobile virtual network operator. While noting Apple’s distribution through retail stores and the 250 million iTunes accounts with credit cards, Bluestein said Apple’s biggest barrier is the subsidies paid by carriers to offer consumers iPhones at their current prices on contract. We already know former Apple CEO Steve Jobs wanted to “replace carriers” and worked on it leading up to the iPhone launch, but Bluestein said Apple would soon be the “first mover” as Google struggles to compete with the iTunes ecosystem.

Here are the main points:

  • Apple will in the near future begin providing cellular service, data, voice and roaming, directly to its customers.
  • Apple will begin by offering mobile data plans bundled with iPads (vs. current practice of selling GSM iPads with AT&T data and CDMA iPads with Verizon data plans).
  • Apple will then offer iPhone customers activation, data and international roaming plans through the iTunes Store.
  • Apple will provide voice, data and messaging plans directly to its iPhone customers, on an ala carte basis as an alternative to their current mobile operator and then as wireless service provider directly to customers.
  • Google, while behind Apple in technology, distribution and back-office capabilities, will nevertheless follow in lock-step behind Apple and provide wireless data services directly to its Google Tablet customers.

The big problems obviously include the mobile industry’s resistance to Apple becoming an MVNO. Also, Apple becoming a carrier would be a difficult transition and would leave customers with two-year contracts stranded on previous carriers.

GSM Stories December 15, 2011

As the rumored early 2012 iPad 3 release draws closer, Cydia Blog discovered a part for the iPad 3 on TVC Mall’s website. What you see above is apparently a replacement part for the microphone on the iPad 3, and shows some pretty major changes compared to the iPad 2’s microphone — namely the shape. The apparent dock connector and ribbon cable for the iPad 3 also leaked this summer. Cydia Blog reports:

The new part, when compared with iPad 2, shows a different arrangement in internal circuitry, hinting a major re-design. The tail end of the part makes a “U-turn”, whereas the iPad 2′s Microphone Mic Flex Cable makes almost 90-degree turn both ways. Except for few details, the leaked part so far doesn’t offer a tantalizing tease.

The iPad 3 is rumored to launch early 2012 — maybe February — with a rumored higher res display and thicker form-factor. Other specs are rumored to be a dual-mode wireless chip for both CDMA and GSM, Apple’s A6 processor, and more RAM. Citi’s analyst Richard Gardner says he’s heard from sources that a February launch is coming, but some have pointed to mid-summer. The updated mic form-factor above could point to pretty major internal changes. It should be worth noting, however, that manufacturer replacement parts aren’t always in the final version. (via MacRumors)

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GSM Stories November 11, 2011

Apple’s US online store today began accepting orders for the unlocked iPhone 4S, priced at $649/$749/$849 for the 16/32/64GB version, making good on its promise to provide the unlocked handset in November. The company advises:

The unlocked iPhone works only on supported GSM networks, such as AT&T in the U.S. When you travel internationally, you can also use a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier. The unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

An unlocked iPhone 4S is of particular interest to those traveling abroad as they can just pop in a local carrier’s SIM card to avoid paying exorbitant roaming fees.

Meanwhile, carrier Sprint today begun SIM-locking all iPhone 4S devices purchased Friday, November 11, 2011 and onwards, SprintFeed noted. According to SprintFeed:

Starting tomorrow, all iPhone 4S devices will have the SIM locked. The locking occurs during the activation process and is invisible to the customer (no extra action is needed by customer or rep).

9to5Mac discovered mid-October that Apple Stores in the United States were selling contract-free iPhones. Any GSM phone that was sold off contract was unlocked and we’ve confirmed that they’ve stayed unlocked, even after the 5.0.1 update (below). expand full story

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