At long last, T-Mobile will sell its own iPhone 5, but there are a few differences between this version and the iPhone on other carriers.
At long last, T-Mobile announced that it will carry its own iPhone 5, in addition to letting you bring over an unlocked iPhone 5 from another carrier, like from AT&T.
Yet, when T-Mobile's own iPhone hits stores on April 12, it'll be a slightly different model and experience compared with other carriers. Here's what's altered.
Unlimited 4G FaceTime
Since T-Mobile has now switched over to a prepaid, no-contract model, anyone who has an unlimited plan ($70 per month for individuals) will be able to use the iPhone 5's FaceTime calling feature over both 4G LTE and HSPA+ networks, with no data cap.
Its backup network is HSPA+ 42
If you get bumped out of T-Mobile's 4G LTE network range, you'll fall onto its very fast HSPA+ 42 network, with a theoretical speed of up to 42Mbps down. That's a very quick network in its own right, which should help keep future T-Mobile customers happy after the network begins to roll out LTE in earnest.
T-Mobile's iPhone 5 supports HD Voice, which uses hardware and software components on both the phone and on the network to reduce background noise and amp up call quality.
More specifically, it uses a wide-band adaptive multirate codec, which gives you more frequency to handle the amount of audio coming in.
HD Voice kicks in automatically when both phones have it. Right now, those compatible handsets include the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One S, and, believe it or not, the Nokia Astound.
No Wi-Fi calling at launch How is the iPhone 5 different from all other T-Mobile phones? It won't initially offer Wi-Fi calling, a key T-Mobile feature that lets you make calls for free over broadband.
T-Mobile's chief marketing officer Mike Sievert said that Wi-Fi calling isn't going to be available at the start, but hinted that it could arrive later. T-Mobile has declined to comment beyond that.