This past weekend, AT&T officially began unlocking iPhones for its customers that met certain criteria, including being contract-free. Doing so allows those iPhone owners to use their device on any other GSM network, including T-Mobile here in the U.S. T-Mobile recently issued a statement on the matter, explaining that it offers micro-SIMs that fit the iPhone 4 and 4S as well as Value plans for customers that bring their own devices. The carrier also highlighted the fact that it plans to do some network refarming that will bring some of its HSPA+ coverage to the 1900MHz band, making the iPhone compatible with those portions of its HSPA+ network. Here's T-Mobile's full statement to 9to5 Mac:
"Today we have more than one million unlocked iPhones running on our network. T-Mobile currently offers microSIMs for customers who already have a GSM phone they want to use on the T-Mobile network, including an iPhone. In order to set up an unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile’s network, customers simply need to purchase a microSIM card and select a T-Mobile Value plan that suits their needs.
T-Mobile’s Value plans enable customers who bring their own smartphone, such as the iPhone, to save money. For example, T-Mobile’s Value family plan with unlimited talk, unlimited text and unlimited data with 2 GB of high-speed data is just $49.99 per line for two lines.
In addition, we will continue to deliver more value to customers as we expand and modernize our 4G network. Beginning this year, we will introduce HSPA+ service in our 1900 MHz PCS spectrum. When we do, our 4G network will be compatible with a broader range of devices, including the iPhone."
It's not yet clear when or if T-Mobile will offer the iPhone, but AT&T unlocking off-contract iPhones combined with T-Mobile's network refarming could be the next best thing for folks that can't wait for a Magenta iPhone. The spectrum repurposing will give HSPA+ support in the areas where that'll be going down, and those iPhone owners jumping from AT&T can simply have their handset permanently unlocked rather than having to rely on the jailbreaking scene for an unlock. How many of you would consider switching from AT&T to T-Mobile (or are already on T-Mo) with an unlocked iPhone?