Random thoughts from an unusual company

iPhone and T-Mobile Pain

Gabriella Davis  19 December 2008 16:31:23
I have a UK based iPhone with an O2 contract which allows me to roam in other countries at some horrifically expensive rate.  For the 26+ days I was in the US recently the iPhone would attach itself to the 'best' network in any region.  This was fine when the network was AT&T but when my iPhone found T-Mobile, it would connect then immediately drop to zero bars and lock the SIM.  I'd switch off reception and back on again and it would do the same thing - connect to 4 bars, drop to zero bars then lock my SIM.   There is no way on the iPhone (unlike on the Blackberry) to tell it NOT to choose a provider it thinks is strongest, so Tim and I could be sat next to each other both with iPhones and his would be happily on AT&T and mine would be stuck on T-Mobile refusing to connect.

After a particularly bad day when it stuck on T-Mobile all day then suddenly switched to AT&T at 6pm and received in 20 SMS messages from people who had been texting me during that time - I cracked and did some research.  Turns out the T-Mobile 3G network is incompatible with Apple's 3G network, so as soon as the iPhone connects to T-Mobile and tries to use 3G the SIM locks.  The only way to avoid it is to turn off 3G on the iPhone completely at which point it will happily continue to use the T-Mobile network.

Apparently this is true for T-Mobile and Apple worldwide so I'm leaving 3G off as a default when roaming just in case (mostly I use wireless to browse anyway).
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