T-Mobile looked like they may have been in hot water recently when the AT&T Group from the U.S. dropped their takeover bid. T-Mobile already provides a great internet service for mobile handsets in the UK, but in the US, they have fallen behind because they do not offer the iPhone 4s with their contracts. This is partly because they have a slower network than many in the States, but that will change because T-Mobile are working with Ericsson and Nokia-Siemens to produce a 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network so that unlocked iPhone users can take advantage of the increased speeds.
UK will Benefit from T-Mobile Developments
By catering for owners of unlocked or sim-free iPhones, the UK arm of T-Mobile will benefit through the experience with 4G data handling that will come with the update. T-Mobile will be able to transfer its knowledge to the UK so that we can also use the high-speed network. T-Mobile already supplies the iPhone 4S to customers in the UK because there are no 4G LTE networks in operation here yet. This means that the iPhone 4S works equally well with all providers. At the present estimates, we will be well in to 2013 or even later, before we can take advantage of the super-fast mobile download speeds.
Unlocked Mobiles Will Benefit First
Right now, it is a race for the main networks in the UK to convince the regulator Ofcom to sell them the mobile spectrum rights. Anyone who signs up with a network on an eighteen months or two years deal could find they are stuck with slower download speeds for a large portion of their contract. Someone with a cheaper model, who is able to surf, download and generally outperform them, may embarrass individuals who have a top mobile phone. Those who have their phone unlocked or purchase a sim-free phone will be able to switch networks to the 4G carrier immediately.
Everything Everywhere could get a Head Start
T-Mobile and Orange teamed up to create ‘Everything Everywhere’ and they have been in consultation with Ofcom to see if they can release a 4G network using their already existing technology. This means that there could be a mass exodus of users from the likes of Vodafone and O2, who are outraged over the idea. Many customers of the other networks would look to unlock their phones or even buy sim-free phones in order to make use of the faster internet connection. The other networks believe that a customer’s ability to unlock contract phones would reduce their chances to compete with Everything Everywhere. This is even when O2 if Vodafone are granted licenses to operate 4G systems at a later date.
Does it Really Matter Right Now?
In the great scheme of things, most users are happy with their current download speeds. Many of the phones we still use are not capable of pushing our internet connections to the limit. Although, this could change when we can download HD video as fast as a regular web page and old phones are made to look like museum pieces. Currently there are only a handful of 4G phones on the market in the UK and although we can order them in from other countries, there are no guarantees they will work with our 4G network when it arrives. Until we know exactly what we are going to get, we should stick with buying an unlocked iPhone or a similar top end 4G device. These are usually designed for WiMax and LTE versions of 4G, which is what the UK is most likely to use.
The most important thing to remember is to shop for sim free mobile phones if you want to swap networks quickly.