T-Mobile will begin selling the iPhone 5 on April 12th, but the model that they’re selling isn’t exactly like those found on other carriers. T-Mobile’s iPhone 5 is actually a tweaked model A1428 iPhone that Apple sells for AT&T, except it comes with AWS support.
Engadget was able to speak with an Apple representative at the event and from what they were told, it doesn’t look like any of the existing A1428 iPhones on AT&T can be updated to support AWS either.
“Apple’s enabling support of the AWS bands from the factory on the new guy — and sadly, Apple affirmed to us that it’s not something that can be enabled via a simple software update for A1428 iPhone units already in circulation. To say that another way, existing iPhone 5 owners on AT&T cannot simply apply a software patch to have AWS support added. You’ll need to buy a new phone next month.”
The T-Mobile iPhone will come unlocked out of the box and Apple will sell them at at the full MSRP but, if your credit clears, you can opt for the $99 option that T-Mobile outlined this morning.
AT&T customer’s aren’t totally locked out of AWS support though. Apple plans to start selling the tweaked A1428 iPhone models to run on AT&T’s network too. Apple will be phasing out existing A1428 hardware, so it might not hit AT&T Store and Apple Stores until a little bit after April 12th, but it should be around the same time.