I'm finally fed up with AT&T's exorbitant cost and ready to switch to T-Mobile.

I'm well past my contract obligation and have maintained my iPhone 5 in near pristine condition.

Can I have this phone unlocked and use it with another provider?

  • Just some information. Originally T-Mobile is a German company. With that said, the T-Mobile piggybacks on to the ATT networks (rents space on they towers). This could lead to not so good reception in some areas.
    – Ruskes
    Dec 19, 2014 at 17:48
  • Deutsche Telekom is a German company and is the parent of T-Mobile International AG, which in turn owns DT's mobile subsidiaries outside of Germany. T-Mobile USA is run from the US. While it may co-locate on some AT&T towers (just as all cellular companies do, at least in the US, to some extent), they are not a mobile virtual network operator on AT&T's network as your post implies. Co-location generally does not affect reception, though T-Mobile is generally considered to have significantly worse service outside major cities and highway corridors.
    – tubedogg
    Dec 19, 2014 at 20:17

2 Answers 2


AT&T and T-Mobile both use GSM networks.

So yes, you will be able to use your iPhone with T-Mobile.

  • They both use GSM, but depending on the device and the carrier, not all frequencies will give you the same service. An AT&T iPhone 5 will work with T-Mobile's LTE service (where available) and 21 Mbps HSPA+ in those markets where T-Mobile has converted the network to work with frequencies on which the iPhone 5 can communicate. In all other areas it will fallback to EDGE (2G).
    – tubedogg
    Dec 19, 2014 at 20:24

The technical issue with the 5 is that the AT&T models made in the first few months after release didn't support the 700Mhz band used by T-Mobile. You have to look at the serial number to know if your phone supports it. The details are in a tech note on Apple's site.

Your phone will still work even w/o 700Mhz support but, as noted, in some areas it will get E or 3G instead of LTE speeds. The practical effect all depends on where you use it.

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