T-Mobile turns its back on the world

Though T-Mobile has long offered quad-band world phones, the carrier now seems to be showing them the door.

T-Mobile says no to Planet Earth
T-Mobile says no to Planet Earth. NASA

There's something shifty going on at T-Mobile. After years of being able to count on the carrier to offer a full slate of quad-band GSM world phones, the T-Mobile has developed a disturbing trend of stripping the GSM 900 band out of all of its new handsets. I first noticed the pattern when T-Mobile picked up the very cool Nokia 5300 Xpress Music last month. While the unlocked version we reviewed last year was quad-band, T-Mobile's handset is only tri-band (GSM 850/1800/1900). The recent Samsung SGH-T219 and SGH-T329 also are tri-band only. In fact, we haven't seen a quad-band phone from the carrier since last year with the Nokia 6133.

Nokia 5300 Xpress Music
Nokia 5300 Xpress Music Mobiledia

So what gives? I can't fathom a good reason why T-Mobile is making the change. Yes, I realize that the 900 band isn't absolutely essential to use the phone outside of the United States, but it's nice to have nonetheless, as it allows for better coverage abroad, not to mention more customer choice. I expect more from T-Mobile, particularly given its German parent. On the other hand, Cingular Wireless/AT&T is pumping out more world phones, such as the LG CU400. But whatever the reason, I don't understand it and it's just not cool.

About the author

Senior Managing Editor Kent German leads the CNET Reviews editors in San Francisco. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he still writes about the wireless industry and occasionally his passion for commercial aviation.

 

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