Last week T-Mobile launched the iPhone 5 in the USA, a firmware tweaked GSM version to support AWS bands of 1700MHz. Some Canadians managed to get their hands on T-Mobile iPhone 5 units and showed off how they were able to connect to Mobilicity and WIND Mobile’s AWS 3G network.
That same day, Apple.ca updated its iPhone 5 tech specs page to include 1700/2100 MHz AWS bands, leading many to believe unlocked Canadian iPhone purchases would soon include this T-Mobile AWS variant. Apple soon removed those bands from the iPhone 5 tech specs page and just this afternoon deleted last traces of the 1700 MHz AWS band by erasing it from the online store’s iPhone 5 check out page.
Most likely the update was made to the Apple US iPhone 5 page and it carried over the Canadian page, causing confusion.
Before (last Friday):
We contacted five Apple Stores in Toronto and one in Vancouver and asked if unlocked iPhone 5 units would work on WIND’s AWS 3G network. The majority said unlocked iPhone 5 units purchased in Canada would not work on WIND. One store said it would work, but only said an unlocked iPhone 5 would work on ‘any cellular network’. One employee also said WIND ‘does not have a 3G network’ (really?!). Another said we should contact WIND ourselves. WIND Stores said only the T-Mobile version would work on their network. Take these answers with a grain of salt. What we know right now is the unlocked T-Mobile version will work here on AWS 3G bands.
It is possible existing unlocked units in Apple Stores haven’t been replaced with the new variant yet, so we’ll have to wait longer to find out what happens. But if Apple’s website is any indication, they are making it clear unlocked iPhone 5 units won’t be supporting the AWS 1700 MHz band on paper.
Do you know someone who purchased an unlocked iPhone 5 from Apple retail and made it work on AWS networks from WIND, Mobilicity or Videotron out of the box? Have you actually witnessed this?
Update: Okay, looks like Apple has re-added the 1700/2100 MHz to the specs page, where it was originally removed. To make things even more confusing, the specs have been removed from the store page, where they were recently added.