T-Mobile will update your unlocked iPhone 5 with LTE and Visual Voicemail on April 5

By , Apr 2, 2013

T-Mobile iPhone 5 carrier update notice

This is quite noteworthy. Following a jailbreak hack which purports to make your unlocked AT&T iPhone 5 (model A1428) work on T-Mobile’s LTE by way of loading a custom carrier firmware, a new report claims the Deutsche Telekom-owned wireless carrier itself will be sending out a carrier update designed to officially enable T-Mobile’s LTE and Visual Voicemail, among other features, on unlocked GSM devices.

The update is scheduled for delivery beginning April 5, a week ahead of T-Mobile’s official April 12 roll-out of its LTE-ready iPhone 5. The patch is good news for AT&T customers looking to jump ship as they won’t be required to buy a newly tweaked iPhone 5 model from T-Mobile in order to enjoy T-Mobile’s 4G LTE speeds. There’s more to know so go past the fold for full details…

TmoNews notes that this is an Apple update so it should hit iTunes or all iPhone devices around the same time. The publication also posted a credible-looking photo of an internal T-Mobile document, seen above.

The doc reads:

The T-Mobile Carrier Update is a minor iOS software update that enables official iPhone support by T-Mobile.

When installed, the software update enables a handful of capabilities like Visual Voicemail, MMS Settings and Network/Device optimizations that customers do not have access to today.

On April 5, the software update will begin being pushed via OTA to all iPhone devices on the T-Mobile network with iOS 6.1.x or higher.

Again, come April 5 you should be able to take your unlocked AT&T iPhone 5, apply the patch and immediately start enjoying T-Mobile’s LTE. On the other hand, you will not be able to run a patched device on T-Mobile’s AWS Band 4 frequencies used for its 3G network because iPhone devices sold to date lack hardware support for AWS Band 4.

In other words, the AT&T iPhone 5 variant patched with Apple’s carrier update will fully support T-Mobile’s LTE, but won’t be able to fall back to the carrier’s 3G network outside of LTE coverage. Instead, these devices will revert to the sluggish T-Mobile EDGE network on Band 2.

This is precisely why Apple had to create a factory tweaked iPhone 5 version for T-Mobile. Despite carrying the same model number A1428 as the existing AT&T iPhone 5, the tweaked variant features a slightly re-jigged hardware for full compatibility with T-Mobile’s 4G LTE and 3G DC-HSDPA network.

Apple previously confirmed to Engadget it couldn’t just roll out a software update to the existing A1428 devices as the necessary firmware tweak has to be applied at the factory.

“Apple affirmed to us that it’s not something that can be enabled via a simple software update for A1428 iPhone units already in circulation,” Engadget claimed last week.

Apple also promised to phase out the existing AT&T A1428 iPhone 5 variant in favor of the factory tweaked A1428 model. Not only is it compatible with both T-Mobile’s 4G LTE and 3G DC-HSDPA, it actually supports all AT&T and T-Mobile frequencies.

Last week, AT&T confirmed plans to roll out HD Voice on its network “later this year.” HD Voice, or Wideband Audio, is a network feature T-Mobile will support first among major U.S. telcos when its iPhone 5 launches on April 12.

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  • Adrian12369

    Will this alow visual voicemail on the 4s?

    • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.higgins.12 Brandon Higgins

      I’m wondering the same as well.

    • http://twitter.com/idjcastro Gerardo Castro

      Judging by what the text in the photo says, it will. It does say all iPhone devices… The title is misleading, they should take off the “5” on the header

  • BostonMike

    this apple update will break the JB? will there be a tweak which will enable VVM? the LTE tweak works great for me in PHX.

    • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

      It’s not a Apple update its a carrier update..

      • BostonMike

        it says it’s an iOS update via iTunes..

      • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

        “the Deutsche Telekom-owned wireless carrier itself will be sending out a brand new Apple CARRIER UPDATE”

        Either the article got fixed or you were wrong.

      • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

        The article wasn’t fixed he just seen the word OTA UPDATE.. And assumed it was a Apple update

      • Jimothy

        It says that it’ll be pushed OTA, a carrier update can be done on a jailbroken iPhone without updating the iOS.

    • chjode

      That’s a good question and I wonder the same thing myself. If this is just a carrier bundle update, will that affect a 6.1.2 jailbreak? If it’s an iOS update, does that mean 6.1.4?

  • iospixel

    Pretty amazing for them to recognise the niche.

  • http://www.youtube.com/matthewmspace matthewmspace

    So will there be a jailbreak tweak that takes the code and will let us jailbreakers use Visual Voicemail and MMS?

  • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

    “In other words, the AT&T iPhone 5 variant patched with Apple’s carrier update will fully support T-Mobile’s LTE, but won’t be able to fall back to the carrier’s 3G network outside of LTE coverage. Instead, these devices will revert to the sluggish T-Mobile EDGE network on Band 2.”

    Ouch.

  • http://twitter.com/HiTekkSteff Stephaughn Alston

    So this means that the iPhone 4/4S will only be able too access T-Mobiles Edge speeds? I’ve read other articles that said “Unlocked phones will be able too access the 21mbps network not the 42mbps”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/moises.floresjr Moises Osvaldo Flores Jr

    Will the carrier update push thru to the Verizon iPhone 5 as well? Just wondering since its gsm/cdma

  • http://www.facebook.com/moises.floresjr Moises Osvaldo Flores Jr

    Will the carrier update push thru to the Verizon iPhone 5 as well? Just wondering since its gsm/cdma???!

  • http://www.facebook.com/arsu007 Muhammad Arslan Siddiqui

    Christian, Didnt get any update yet. When is it going to happen.

  • http://twitter.com/vivaLAvulgar Hoesha Mitchell

    Still haven’t gotten it

  • Uriah Romero

    Too bad that Denver hasn’t received LTE yet! I have some friends who have unlocked iPhones on T-Mobile’s network, but don’t have LTE yet. I bought one of the updated iPhones, so at least I’ve got their 4G network which is still pretty great. I took a little vacation last weekend from my job at DISH and got a taste of how fast T-Mobile’s LTE network is in Vegas. During my trip, I would keep up with my shows using the DISH Anywhere app and it was nice to see a much clearer picture thanks to LTE.