Why T-Mobile and Sprint customers should get a 2018 iPhone

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iPhone Xs
New technologies just for T-Mobile and Sprint didn't get as much attention as they deserve.
Photo: Apple

There is a lot for everyone to like in the 2018 iPhone models. But T-Mobile and Sprint customers have additional reasons to upgrade to the latest iOS devices: they’re the first to support some of these carriers’ wireless technologies.

This means the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR will perform better on both networks than any of their predecessors.

Sprint and T-Mobile are improving their 4G LTE networks on two different frequencies. And Apple’s latest support both.

Support for T-Mobile’s 600 MHz network 

T-Mobile added significant amounts of 600 MHz (Band 71) spectrum to its network last year. It’s employing this for Extended Range LTE, and has plans to use it for its future 5G network, too.


According to the carrier, “Extended Range LTE signals travel twice as far from the tower and are four times better in buildings than mid-band LTE, providing increased coverage and capacity.”

And all three of the new iPhone models support this service, while the earlier ones can not. A statement from T-Mobile said “The best part of the new iPhones? They are 600 MHz capable, meaning T-Mobile customers can get more coverage and capacity in 1,254 cities and towns across 36 states, including Puerto Rico.”

CEO John Legere Tweeted about it, too.

And Sprint’s HPUE too

Sprint employs HPUE (High Performance User Equipment) at a different frequency, but the effect is essentially the same.

A statement from the company promises HPUE ” enables our 2.5 GHz spectrum to propagate further and have nearly the same coverage performance as our 1.9 GHz spectrum, including indoors where the majority of wireless traffic is generated.”

And Mike Dano from Fierce Wireless learned from no better source than Sprint’s Chief Technology Officer that “HPUE is supported in new iPhones.” It’s not clear if CTO John Slaw also meant the cheaper iPhone XR. But HPUE is certainly in the iPhone XS and XS Max.

All Apple’s new devices go up for pre-order tonight. They begin shipping next week.