Unlocked iPad Doesn’t Work On T-Mobile 3G

As Steve Jobs announced at yesterday’s keynote, the 3G model of the iPad will be unlocked, but that doesn’t mean AT&T won’t still be the exclusive carrier. The device will be GSM-only, so Verizon and Sprint are obviously out of the picture. While it will be possible to use the device on T-Mobile’s network since the device is unlocked, so some will undoubtedly sign their iPad up with them, most people probably won’t want to.

However, the iPad is built to run on AT&T’s 3G, which runs in the UMTS/HSDPA 850/1900/2100 Mhz. frequency band. T-Mobile’s HSDPA network runs on the AWS band, at 1700 Mhz, which the iPad doesn’t support. It will support T-Mobile’s EDGE network, but anyone who’s been stuck browsing the web on an EDGE connection can tell you that the 20-200 kbps/sec speeds it runs at are less than pleasant for internet use. Excruciating is a better word for EDGE.

Why keep with AT&T amidst the growing resentment for the company among their users? There are a few reasons. The reason they kept GSM is obvious, as it’s globally applicable and CDMA (Verison/Sprint) isn’t. Sticking with AT&T is also good business, as it allows them to negotiate deals that are good for users and themselves. There’s also word going around that Apple is helping team up with Verizon to advance their LTE network for future projects, so it’s likely that they will wait until launching an LTE device is possible. Lastly, Verizon probably doesn’t want to deal with the iPad. They did just launch a number of new smartphones, so they may want to wait a while before they decide to launch support for another project until they have time to stabilize.

[via PC Magazine]

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