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There are several aspects I'm not clear on, and I'm wondering if what I want is even possible.

1) I want an unlocked (officially; no jail-breaking) iPhone 4/iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4 unlocked is currently $550 for 8GB at Apple. I think they'll be announcing the pricing for the iPhone 4S unlocked sometime in November.

2) I'm only interested in a month-to-month plan from T-Mobile. I see some listed here: T-Mobile Plans The one that looks best to me is the new $30 "Unlimited Web and Text with 100 Minutes Talk". I've noted that only the first 5gb of data are at up to 4G speeds, I guess the rest go back down to 2G. This will be more than enough for me.

Is this possible? Will the iPhone 4 get 4G speeds even though it is not "supposed" to be on the T-Mobile network? If this is possible, how do I go about doing it? It looks like I need a "micro-SIM"? I'm fine with giving up my old cell phone number. Are there any potential issues with trying to get this (i.e. Does t-mobile only give me a micro-SIM with a "qualifying" phone purchase or something? Or do they have to activate the phone "in-store" or something?)

Any potential issues you guys notice?

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3 Answers 3

Will the iphone get 4g speeds

No it won't. iPhones, even 4 and 4S, are not 4G devices. The 4 is for the iPhone fourth generation, but they are in reality 3G devices. So you won't get better speed than 3G (for sure).

I'm not sure for the network itself since I'm in Canada and I don't look at US providers very often. From memory T-Mobile has a different (AWS) network than AT&T so that could also affect your connectivity and speed. You better check the phone versus provider specifications (or someone else doing the same as you).

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2  
You also will only be able to get EDGE speeds - T-Mobile and AT&T's 3G frequencies are different, so you cannot use an AT&T 3G phone on T-Mobile's 3G network. –  canderson Oct 18 '11 at 14:49

Regarding "Micro-SIM": There's no need to buy a seperate "micro-sim". You can modify your existing SIM card using "micro sim cutters" available. Check this for instance

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A lot of time has passed since this question was asked but thought I would give a specific from experience answer.

1) I purchased an officially unlocked (not jail broken) iPhone 4S from Apple in December 2011 to use with my tmobile plan in the US.

2) I got a micro sim from T-mobile (for free, just have to talk with them and work them down). In general I can only get 2G speeds (edge, letter E shows for data connection) but I noticed in mid 2012 that I could get a 3G connection and the respective data speed near my house in the burbs but not in the large city nearby.

A couple other notes on iPhone features with tmobile. Visual voicemail does not work. Instead your voicemail is dialed when you touch voicemail in the phone app. Also, MMS is not really reliable and you must be sure to get the proper settings done. Here's a link that tells how to set the settings for the cellular and MMS. https://t-mobile.jive-mobile.com/#jive-document?content=%2Fapi%2Fcore%2Fv1%2Fdocuments%2F2383

I hope this answer helps somebody out there even though the iPhone 5 is out now so people are more concerned with its compatibility probably.

(Typed on iPhone. Please excuse grammar or weird auto correction results.)

Update

The link I included in my answer has been updated since I last looked at it months ago. It links to another T-Mobile article that talks about "speed sightings" that can be found in several cities across the US. I did a little more googling and found that the iPhone 4S is 4G compatible in about 13-15 cities where T-Mobile has refarmed their towers/spectrum to provide 4G (the slower than LTE version) in the iPhone compatible 1900MHz band.

Update

Received another update to the cellular data network settings around 4/8/2013 that enables 4G and it at least works in the Austin, TX area. Unfortunately this removed the Personal Hotspot options for me since my current data plan is not really allowed to use that feature.

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