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T-Mobile’s campaign to beg iPhone users to sign up for service is now official

T-Mobile’s desperate attempts to draw iPhone users away from its competitors have reached new heights, as the company is now offering to unlock users’ iPhones to make them compatible with T-Mobile’s wireless network. Starting on September 12th, all T-Mobile retail stores will be get a demo version of the iPhone 4S that can be used to show customers how the iPhone performs on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ wireless network. If users like what they see, they can bring their unlocked iPhones into the T-Mobile store where they’ll be set up to run on T-Mobile’s network. There is a pretty big catch, however: T-Mobile can only support GSM-based iPhones sold through AT&T. T-Mobile’s full press release follows below.

T-Mobile Steps Up “Bring your own iPhone” Efforts

Bellevue, Wash., Sep. 10, 2012 — T-Mobile has been a champion of “bring your own device” wireless with our affordable Value plans that separate the cost of wireless service from the purchase of a new phone. This means there are a lot of devices running on our network that we don’t sell in our stores, including more than 1M iPhones. We see a big opportunity to make the experience of bringing an unlocked iPhone to T-Mobile even better for customers.

That’s why, beginning September 12th, we’re stepping up our efforts to attract customers with unlocked iPhones to T-Mobile. Each of our branded retail stores will receive an iPhone 4s demo unit and our sales staff will start training to help customers set up their compatible iPhone.  We’re also developing iOS versions of helpful T-Mobile applications like T-Mobile myAccount, T-Mobile Visual Voicemail and T-Mobile TV (we already offer an iOS version of our popular Bobsled application). Finally, we’ll begin testing incentive offers in select markets and (in all markets) marketing the benefits of bringing an unlocked iPhone to T-Mobile, including:

– Unlimited data: T-Mobile offers worry-free, unlimited nationwide data.

– Cost Savings: Customers with unlocked iPhones can save $50/month compared to AT&T*.

– Nationwide coverage that’s only getting better: T-Mobile’s voice network reaches 96% of all Americans, and later this year, as we transform our network, introducing 4G (HSPA+) service in our iPhone-compatible spectrum, these unlocked iPhones will get a significant speed boost where these improvements are available.

In fact, we’re already starting to turn up 4G HSPA+ service in our 1900 MHz spectrum. With sites already live in cities like Seattle, Las Vegas, Washington DC and the New York metro area, don’t be surprised to hear reports of iPhone “speed sightings.” We expect to have these improvements deployed in a large number of markets later this year.

Our internal tests of unlocked iPhone 4S devices running over 4G (HSPA+) on our 1900 network recorded on average 70% faster download speeds than iPhone 4S devices on AT&T’s network.

Today, we don’t sell the iPhone, but we do have something worth selling to people who have one. Our message to iPhone customers is simple: bring your unlocked iPhone to T-Mobile and save.

* Savings based on comparison of T-Mobile $69.99/mo Unlimited Talk, Text and Data plan against AT&T Unlimited Talk, Text, and 5GB Smartphone Data plan. Does not include taxes, fees, or promotional offers. Plan features and limitations vary.

 Verizon and Sprint iPhones will not work on our network; other iPhones may have limited functionality. See stores for details. iPhone is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.


Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.