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  1. Thread AuthorThread Author   #1  
    sting7k's Avatar
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    Default Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    AnandTech | Apple to Ship Updated A1428 iPhone 5 With AWS WCDMA Enabled for T-Mobile USA

    So there we have it. The iPhone 5 does support Tmobile's network completely. Why would Apple not release the new firmware for iPhones already in the wild?

    My solution I guess is to just wait and get my iPhone exchanged at some point in the future. But it just seems easier to update my firmware.
  2. #2  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    I read somewhere that the existing phones could not be enabled. Don't know who to believe.


    Sent from the Forbidden Fruit
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    It's not just software... there's some hardware involved too.

    T-Mobile's iPhone 5 is a Tweaked Model A1428 Phone with AWS Support - Mac Rumors

    http://www.engadget.com/2013/03/26/i...lans-t-mobile/
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    ^ that is what I read


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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    It's very confusing. Apple's filing with the FCC about the change says it's software only.
  6. #6  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by sting7k View Post
    It's very confusing. Apple's filing with the FCC about the change says it's software only.
    My guess: A Qualcomm radio chip firmware change is not a "user serviceable" thing... it's likely they are getting chips from Qualcomm with a different firmware pre-installed on the chips - hence noting a 'hardware' change... It's not something that can be "fixed" by Apple with an iOS update.
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  7. Thread AuthorThread Author   #7  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    I get that but the whole situation still doesn't make sense to me. They added additional LTE bands with one of the recent iOS updates. So I fail to see why 3G bands cannot be enabled the same way.

    It would save Apple and I time and money.
  8. #8  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Maybe because T-Mobile would rather have people purchasing a phone directly from them instead
    of bringing their existing iPhones over like people have been doing the last couple of years.
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by sting7k View Post
    AnandTech | Apple to Ship Updated A1428 iPhone 5 With AWS WCDMA Enabled for T-Mobile USA

    So there we have it. The iPhone 5 does support Tmobile's network completely. Why would Apple not release the new firmware for iPhones already in the wild?

    My solution I guess is to just wait and get my iPhone exchanged at some point in the future. But it just seems easier to update my firmware.
    If I were Apple I wouldn't do it, and if I was T-Mobile I also wouldn't want my network overloaded ahead of time either.

    Sent from a pure Google experience.
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by sting7k View Post
    I get that but the whole situation still doesn't make sense to me. They added additional LTE bands with one of the recent iOS updates. So I fail to see why 3G bands cannot be enabled the same way.

    It would save Apple and I time and money.
    Consider old am radios. When fm came out, it would have been nice to just turn the knob further and get the fm. But, that required a hardware update.

    Now consider a new am radio station going on the air. It requires the same tech, same hardware, just a different frequency within the predetermined band.

    While the two ideas sound similar in that they just appear to access different bands, the solution isn't the same.
  11. #11  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Apple clarifies this issue in this Verge article:

    Bringing your iPhone to T-Mobile? Better think twice | The Verge
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by kch50428 View Post
    I use Family Mobile (T-Mobile's non-contract option) for one of the phones in my household. The only requirements were that we had to have an unlocked iPhone, which we provided with an old 3GS, and one of T-Mobile's compatible sim cards. They didn't do anything except give me the card and then walk me through the set up process on the phone. Is that the hardware you were referring to?
  13. Thread AuthorThread Author   #13  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by eastbayrae View Post
    Apple clarifies this issue in this Verge article:

    Bringing your iPhone to T-Mobile? Better think twice | The Verge
    Not any clearer, lulz. Whatever though, some time this summer I'll just go to an Apple Store and make up some reason to get it swapped. If that's how they want to play, game on.
  14. #14  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    What part about it still confuses you?

    Adding lte bands just means using tech already on the phone to tune a different band.

    Adding a new tech means implementing the tech on the phone.

    What you're saying is similar to a future release of the iPhone5 carrying NFC hardware and you being upset there's not a software change in your phone to reflect the modified hardware in newly sold models.

    Even if they updated iOS to do what you'd like, you lack the hardware to accomplish the task.
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by sting7k View Post
    Not any clearer, lulz. Whatever though, some time this summer I'll just go to an Apple Store and make up some reason to get it swapped. If that's how they want to play, game on.
    Game on?
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by sting7k View Post
    Not any clearer, lulz. Whatever though, some time this summer I'll just go to an Apple Store and make up some reason to get it swapped. If that's how they want to play, game on.

    Some people feel entitled to everything a device manufacturer makes, regardless of WHEN they purchase their device. Devices are not future-proof. You got exactly what your paid for. Live with it.
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  17. Thread AuthorThread Author   #17  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by natasftw View Post
    What part about it still confuses you?

    Adding lte bands just means using tech already on the phone to tune a different band.

    Adding a new tech means implementing the tech on the phone.

    What you're saying is similar to a future release of the iPhone5 carrying NFC hardware and you being upset there's not a software change in your phone to reflect the modified hardware in newly sold models.

    Even if they updated iOS to do what you'd like, you lack the hardware to accomplish the task.
    The only difference is the firmware. It's the exact same chip inside.

    I'm not feeling entitled. I'm just confused! I guess no one looked at my link that has Apple's filing with the FCC that there are absolutely no changes to the device hardware and it is a completely software/firmware change.

    From the filing - "The addition of this UTMS band does not require any hardware changes to the approved device."
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  18. #18  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    As I said above - it is my guess that the firmware involved is not end-user update-able - as in it's the firmware of the Qualcomm radio chipset in the phone which is delivered to Apple pre-installed, and once chipsets are installed into phones they can't be updated or changed on the level needed to add and/or adjust radio frequency bands are able to be used.
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  19. #19  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by sting7k View Post
    Not any clearer, lulz. Whatever though, some time this summer I'll just go to an Apple Store and make up some reason to get it swapped. If that's how they want to play, game on.
    Apple has reached out with a further clarification on the network compatibility of the existing iPhone 5: Customers that own the current iPhone 5 sold unlocked and for AT&T can use it on T-Mobile's HSPA+ 21Mbps and LTE networks, though it will not work on the carrier's HSPA+ 42Mbps network. Once T-Mobile starts selling the iPhone on April 12th, the iPhone 5 will be sold with support for both HSPA+ 42Mbps and LTE on T-Mobile's network. This article has been adjusted to account for the update.
    That seems pretty clear to me.
  20. #20  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by sting7k View Post
    I get that but the whole situation still doesn't make sense to me. They added additional LTE bands with one of the recent iOS updates. So I fail to see why 3G bands cannot be enabled the same way.
    You're confused. They didn't physically enable new bands for LTE in the 6.1 update. The bands were already there. They added more LTE support, which means carriers worked with Apple for proper support. LTE (along with 3G/4G) won't work properly on carriers unless Apple and the carriers create profiles to 100% talk to each other. This is why certain features didn't work or were quirky with unlocked AT&T phones on T-Mobile (MMS and Visual Voicemail come to mind). There wasn't proper software support (carrier profile). The current issue with getting new phones with proper AWS support is hardware related. Qualcomm has to do something physically from the factory to the chips to enable the AWS band necessary for the 3G/4G T-mobile network. Same concept as nvidia shipping various video card models with a certain number of CUDA cores disabled or enabled. You can't turn an nvidia 660 Ti into a 680 via a software/firmware update even though it's the same chip in all above referenced models. The change is in the hardware.
    Last edited by ghostface147; 03-28-2013 at 04:42 PM.
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  21. #21  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by sting7k View Post
    From the filing - "The addition of this UTMS band does not require any hardware changes to the approved device."
    This refers to the overall power output, radio interference scope, radiation emitted and other related things. The iPhone didn't change, just one tiny thing inside the Qualcomm chip changed and it doesn't affect the performance of the device in any way that the FCC would have to ask Apple to resubmit the whole phone for another approval. It's a software profile to make it 100% compatible with T-Mobile. The FCC just does a quick check to make sure.

    I go back to the nvidia reference. A 650, 660 Ti, 670 and 680 don't each have to go through extensive FCC checks. They're the same minus a certain number of CUDA cores disabled or enabled and different clock speeds. Now once you get to the Titan and 690, then yeah things change significantly (especially since the Titan uses a different revision of the architecture).
    Last edited by ghostface147; 03-28-2013 at 03:27 PM.
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by sting7k View Post
    Whatever though, some time this summer I'll just go to an Apple Store and make up some reason to get it swapped.
    There's no guarantee what refurbished device you'll get. Some units are months old. For example, my iPhone I just replaced Monday still had 6.0.1 on it. The only way to tell for sure is to take a T-Mobile nanosim and stick it in and see if you get anything past EDGE, provided you aren't in an LTE area or in an area with repurposed spectrum.

    Of course none of this matters if you're in an area with LTE and the proper spectrum. I live in Houston and it doesn't matter if I use the current AT&T iPhone 5 or the new one coming out in April. They are nearly complete switching spectrum here and the current AT&T model works on all of their networks in many places. No need for the new model here. Of course I happen to have the Verizon iPhone 5 and it will work on their 4G network here, but it physically doesn't have their LTE bands. Oh well, can't win them all.
    Last edited by ghostface147; 03-28-2013 at 03:34 PM.
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  23. #23  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by sting7k View Post
    The only difference is the firmware. It's the exact same chip inside.

    I'm not feeling entitled. I'm just confused! I guess no one looked at my link that has Apple's filing with the FCC that there are absolutely no changes to the device hardware and it is a completely software/firmware change.

    From the filing - "The addition of this UTMS band does not require any hardware changes to the approved device."
    Alright, let me try to use jailbreaking as an example.

    The most powerful exploit is often the bootrom exploit. This is because the bootrom epxloit will exist in the phone permanently. Updating iOS versions will not have an impact on the exploit. This is why the iPhone4 and 3GS always get exploited before the other phones. The exploit is there and known.

    In order for Apple to change this would require a level of coding that an update simply cannot accomplish. They halted manufacturing at one point to try to stop the process.

    This wouldn't require a new filing. It's not a simple update to fix. Their statement wouldn't be inaccurate. Your phone wouldn't work.

    Nobody bothered to read through the whole filing because you were going to be childish and throw a tantrum to get your way whether we read through all of it or not.
  24. #24  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    This should clear things up: http://gigaom.com/2013/03/28/setting...s-lte-network/

    Basically an unlocked AT&T iPhone 5 will work on LTE tmobile although Apple needs to push a software change out authorizing access to the tmobile network.

    You may not be able to get tmobile's 3G service depending on whether tmobile is using the AWS or PCS spectrum in your area. If they are using AWS, you will not be able to get 3G service because the iphone's hardware doesn't support it. This is the reason there will be an updated iPhone 5 that will include support for 3G on the AWS bands. Tmobile is in the process of changing all 3G over to the PCS band (which is supported by the existing iPhone 5) but they haven't converted everyone yet.

    The other hardware change for the tmobile iPhone 5 is so support their dual carrier 42Mbps network which the current iPhone 5 cannot support.
  25. #25  
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    Default Re: Why won't Apple update firmware on current iPhone 5's to support Tmobile?

    I believe the hardware is not the issue. OEM's frequently put hardware in the phone that is shut off until software, carriers, etc. are ready for it. Some of the old WP7 phones Nokia made had NFC in them and it was turned off because the OS didn't support it.

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