Bargains for Under $25 HP Envy 34 All-in-One PC Review Best Fitbits T-Mobile Data Breach Settlement ExpressVPN Review Best Buy Anniversary Sale Healthy Meal Delivery Orville 'Out Star Treks' Star Trek
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

T-Mobile's pricier Samsung Galaxy S3 will not get LTE

A T-Mobile spokesperson confirms that the Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) won't ride T-Mo's future LTE network.

josh MIller/CNET

If your decision to buy Samsung's Galaxy S III (S3) on T-Mobile comes down to the LTE radio within, prepare yourself for disappointment.

A T-Mobile spokesperson confirmed to CNET today that despite the same LTE radio in every GS3 model coming to the U.S., Samsung's new flagship Android 4.0 phone will not ride T-Mobile's forthcoming LTE network:

The Samsung Galaxy SIII won't run on T-Mobile's LTE network in the future, but we will continue to operate our HSPA+ 42 network when we launch LTE in 2013.

T-Mobile's AWS spectrum is the culprit here, since it will carry T-Mo's LTE network. AT&T and Verizon, on the other hand, use bands in the 700MHz spectrum for their LTE. Adding support for T-Mobile's unlaunched LTE network would mean adding more bands in the LTE radio.

"The device is the same across carriers," a Samsung spokesperson confirmed in an e-mail, "but [the phones] are optimized to work on each carrier's specific network."

However, a T-Mobile spokesperson updated his statement to contradict Samsung: "Galaxy S III contains a different chipset than our competitors. Ours is the MSM8260 which does not support LTE, only HSPA."

Samsung Galaxy S III on the GS3 on T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42 network. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

While LTE promises greater speeds, potential buyers shouldn't underestimate T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42, which independent tester RootMetrics found is faster than Sprint's 4G WiMax.

In my own tests on the Galaxy S3 in the San Francisco Bay Area, T-Mobile's data speeds peak at about 16.5Mbps. While AT&T's download and upload speeds were faster on an absolute basis (up to 33Mbps downlink,) I also stumbled into plenty of dead zones.

If you're deciding between the two GSM carriers, price could be another consideration. T-Mobile's 16GB Galaxy S3 costs $279.99 with a 2-year agreement or $229.99 (Value plan, you pay interest) and $50 more for the 32GB capacity. AT&T sells the Galaxy S3 for $30-to-$80 less at $199.99 for the 16GB version. AT&T doesn't sell the 32GB capacity. Of course, the monthly data plan also factors into your total price for the phone.

Now playing: Watch this: Samsung's Galaxy S III has all the right moves

Updated Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 1:25pm PT with new information from T-Mobile about the components.