Apple starts selling iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with wider LTE support

iphone-6-sim-free

Today, Apple started selling iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models unlocked and contract free with support for 20 national and international LTE bands. Just like the T-Mobile model, pricing starts at $649.

Just a few months ago, Apple started selling the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. They were firsts for T-Mobile fans for a couple of reasons: They supported Wi-Fi calling and VoLTE. What’s more, Apple has been selling the T-Mobile version of the iPhone unlocked and contract-free, with the option for signing up to T-Mobile’s financing program in store.

As a T-Mobile customer then, you’ve already had it great from Apple this past few months. So today’s news may not mean that much to you.

But if you’re a T-Mobile customer who likes to travel, or if you like being able to swap out different carrier SIMs when you feel like it, this unlocked model will offer more flexibility. Model numbers are A1586 and A1524 for the 6 and 6 Plus respectively and they support LTE on the following U.S. carriers:

  • Appalachian Wireless
  • Bluegrass Cellular
  • Boost
  • C Spire
  • Cellcom
  • Chariton Valley
  • Chat Mobility
  • Defense Mobile
  • MobileNation
  • Nex-Tech
  • NorthwestCell
  • nTelos
  • Pioneer Cellular
  • Sprint
  • STRATA Networks
  • Syringa
  • Thumb Cellular
  • United Wireless
  • US Cellular

Essentially, the new model is the Sprint iPhone 6 with a few added bands. Sadly, there is no support for T-Mobile’s band 12 700MHz frequency network on this model. My guess is we will be waiting until the next generation of Apple smartphones before we see compatibility with the low-band T-Mo network.

Short version of the story: Check through the available bands on both and weigh up which suits you best.

Source: Apple 1, 2 and 3
Via: 9to5Mac, TodaysiPhone

Tags: , , , , ,

  • Garblicks

    I have a htc one m8. I own it and I’m not getting another phone without the low band lte spectrum. It’s a total waste of money if you have a phone that’s under 3 yrs old to upgrade without low band spectrum antenna

    • Jay Holm

      I totally agree! It’s important to be ready for the near-future.

    • UMA_Fan

      Actually you SHOULD upgrade the M8 since it doesn’t support LTE on 1900mhz which is what tmobile is using to robust it’s LTE network in areas low band isn’t available.

      • Garblicks

        Ummm, no. This phone has lte and I’m ok with my reception. What i won’t do is pay for another phone without low band frequencies in it. That’s asinine

        • Fabian Cortez

          There are phones out there with band 12 and band 2 LTE…

          They’re not mutually exclusive.

      • Mr Paul

        1900MHz to ROBUST it’s LTE network? LOL! Silly Sprint, they should have used that same terminology when they tried and failed at 1900MHz.

  • besweeet

    It still supports all of those LTE bands, except for band 12… I guess the next iPhone has to have a selling point since there will hardly be any other differences.

    • Derek Wildstar

      LTE Band 12 is too new. Apple didn’t release new hardware, just unlocked the Sprint version of the iPhone 6, released in Sep 2014, designed the year prior. So I would not expect Band 12 LTE to be on any phone designed last year, so you are correct, it will probably be on next year’s model, or phones just now coming out that were designed last year.

      • besweeet

        There are already half a dozen smartphones that came out prior to 2015 that support band 12, most notably the Galaxy Note 4. It seems as though Apple could’ve added it, but just chose not to.

        • Derek Wildstar

          I bet if such a small upgrade like that form note 3 to note 4 was done from iPhone 5s to 6 — Apple would have had plenty of time to add LTE band 12 last minute too, so you are probably 100% right, including it is all about being a money maker for those who need it to be. Maybe Samsung will add 64 bit processor to the Note 5 next year, since they have already caught up on the LTE bands that are just now rolling out.

        • Derek Wildstar

          I bet if such a small upgrade like that form note 3 to note 4 was done from iPhone 5s to 6 — Apple would have had plenty of time to add LTE band 12 last minute too, so you are probably 100% right, including it is all about being a money maker for those who need it to be. Maybe Samsung will add 64 bit processor to the Note 5 next year, since they have already caught up on the LTE bands that are just now rolling out.

  • Chris Hilbert

    Why is everything with the iPhone “we’ll get it in the next version”? Starting to think the stupid Samsung commercials were right. I think them excluding band 12 was a huge mistake. Full disclosure: I have 2 Android Phones, 1 Windows Phone, and 3 iPhones in my family/account.

    • donnybee

      I’m fine with no band 12 support. Look at all the success the network has been producing without band 12. My experience has been fantastic without it. By the time it’s a viable network the new iPhone will be out anyway. I don’t see T-Mobile deciding to mess up their current network when 700 is activated so even if I keep this phone my experience won’t be degraded.

      • Chris Hilbert

        Several markets are already Band 12 with more coming in the near future. While my experience on Band 4 and Band 2 has been great as well, I’ll gladly take better coverage/building penetration on Band 12 as soon as it’s available to me.

        • donnybee

          True. I wish we had a planned release for band 12 here in Utah, but unfortunately T-Mobile will need to purchase more before we get that kind of love!

          But even so, I sometimes feel people forget that things are great and getting better even with our current network. By no means is any current phone less fantastic with no band 12 support yet. I’m sure we’re going to see more devices launched with band 12 support (I think T-Mobile should require it) in the immediate future. There’s also the issue with markets evacuating channel 51 too.. So there are more things that need to happen before a band 12 radio in a phone really holds any value. But I do agree – I would gladly accept better coverage and signal strength when it comes! By then we should see most of T-Mobile’s devices holding support for it.

        • In fact, T-Mobile announced in November 2014 that they will release phones with 700 MHz band 12 in HSPA+ and LTE starting on January 2, 2015 (as of five days ago). IPhone 6’s street date was in 2014, that’s why it does not have 700 MHz band 12 support.

  • David C

    I dont get it… So the version they just started selling has some LTE bands taken out?! Why!!

    • VG

      Apple is not removing any LTE bands; Apple is now selling the unlocked Sprint version of the iPhone 6 and 6+ as a factory unlocked option. The Sprint model always supported 20 LTE a bands since day 1.

  • VG

    Cam, unless I’m mistaken, the 1586 model of the iPhone 6 looks like an unlocked Sprint model which supports 20 LTE bands (the same 16 as the 1549 model plus 4 additional TD LTE bands). If someone wants a true world phone, it looks like the 1586 model (again, I think this is simply a Sprint model that is fully unlocked) supports all the same bands as the T-Mobile/AT&T/Verizon model.

    • Fabian Cortez

      That’s what it looks like.

      Apple was simply saving money by not selling one phone (the Sprint version) to begin with.

      The [now] unlocked Sprint version will carry more value moving forward.

      • Dan Hesse

        Cool story bro…
        You won’t be able to activate on Sprint or Verizon. Just bc its unlocked that doesn’t mean CDMA carriers activation policies are somehow circumvented – they still are CDMA. Sprint for sure won’t activate unlocked and compatible Nexus 5s, so what makes you think the same stupid policy wont apply to “unlocked” iphones? The best value phone is a Verizon iphone, any day and everyday…

        • VG

          As per Apple’s statement on their web site: “You can activate and use the unlocked iPhone on the supported wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint in the United States.”

        • Derek Wildstar

          Not exactly correct; I activated on Verizon, I just had to call them to get the IMEI added to the database. The best phone is the 1586/1524 unlocked, it has all the bands. Now, the prolem is getting it activated on SPRINT, who won’t add phones to their white list, but they suck anyways, who cares. use the phone in other countries that is what this is about, not Sprint, and not Verizon. The Verizon phone doesn’t have the bands 38, 39, 40, and 41 – so you’re limited if you wan to use that phone in let’s say China or Japan or Australia, you won’t get the fast LTE there. Using the Sprint or Unlocked Sprint phone (aka 1586/1524) you have that choice, and you can get it activated on Verzion if you call them (they would not do it in store for me and I tried 3 stores)

        • Dan Hesse

          Good points and excellent intel. If the experience you shared with, and I understood correctly, that you can buy an unlocked iPhone from Apple directly, which happens to be identical to the locked Sprint iPhone 6, and have Verizon “add” the IMEI to their “white list” database. Is this the correct understanding? Wow, that’s excellent info to know. Can you please share what you said and who talked to (dept) to accomplish this? How did you try this if the unlocked iPhone just came out?

          Now if your info is as I understood then yeah, this is probable the more “valuable” iPhone model – generally speaking.

        • Derek Wildstar

          Well first off, they would not activate it in the store (I tried several0 and acted confused when saying “add IMEI”, and wanted to sell me theirs — but on the phone they did it, said my IMEI was not found but offered to add the unlocked version bought in the apple store, now a part I did not tell you was I also got a verizon sim chip from the apple store (its free) but they sent me to the verizon store first, I told them they would not help so they gave me a verizon sim – the rest I did over the phone to get it activated. I called them at 1-800-922-0204, and got to activate new service. Hope this helps. PS as already stated, this method did not work for my friend, who tried it on SPRINT, they would not budge at all, so not sure if anyone else has any success stories for Sprint adding in the IMEI.

        • Dan Hesse

          Thanks Derek.

          Sprint is run by some seriously clueless “leadership” – and I can say this now, I did not know this when I was part of it. However you’re right, with postulating why anyone would want to activate on Sprint weak and almost shameful data network. I merely posed the question because the unlocked iPhone 6, if it could be activated on all for of the 4 major domestic carriers, then it would be an amazing device. That Sprint would turn away anyone from activating a device that is identical to the one they sell is incredibly stupid. I get why no one at the retail stores would care to help you, they want to sell you a device, but if corporate makes it a policy not to “white list” a device it is just dumb and crazy.

          Anyway, kind sir, I appreciate your response and I humbly stand before you head bowed and concede I have been adequately and respectfully corrected. Thank you again.

        • Babiegurl36

          You can activate the unlocked version on sprint!

        • Babiegurl38

          Wrong! I’ve bought the iPhone 6+ (model A1524) and was able to activate my phone on sprint without an issue.

    • It seems to me that the models A1549 and A1586 merely added some TDD LTE bands found in the Far East. Yet, both, along with A1549 and A1522, band 28, the 700MHz APT band widely deployed around the world, with much better spectrum allocation than in the US, making it the most uniformly available LTE band around the world.

  • 9to5Slavery

    Does this have sprint spark band 41? And if not, will this be unlockable once signed with sprint? Or leaving sprint for another domestic carrier?

    • VG

      Yes, it has band 41. According to the Apple web site, you can use this with Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T. It looks like Apple is now selling the unlocked version of the Sprint iPhone 6 and 6 Plus that supports 20 LTE a bands.

      • 9to5Slavery

        So, next question is, will it be network locked after assigning profile from sprint? I know some phones was in that situation

        • VG

          Good question, but I don’t have an answer. I have never heard of an unlocked phone becoming locked after being used with a particular carrier. And I would imagine Sprint would get into a ton of trouble for locking a phone that is sold unlocked by Apple.

  • VG

    As per Apple’s web site when you click on About the Unlocked iPhone:

    The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a wireless contract commitment or a carrier installment plan. You can activate and use the unlocked iPhone on the supported wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint in the United States.
    If you don’t want a multiyear service contract, or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone is the best choice. If you choose T-Mobile, your iPhone comes with a T-Mobile SIM card already installed. You will need to contact T-Mobile or visit an Apple Retail Store to activate your iPhone.
    Otherwise, the unlocked iPhone does not come with a nano-SIM card for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, or iPhone 5c so you’ll need to get one from any supported carrier worldwide. To start using your iPhone, simply insert the SIM card into the slot and turn on iPhone by pressing and holding the On/Off button for a few seconds. Then follow the onscreen instructions to set up your iPhone.
    Purchasing an unlocked iPhone means you will not qualify for the lower iPhone price associated with a contract or a carrier installment plan. The unlocked iPhone 6 model is A1586. The unlocked iPhone 6 Plus model is A1524. The T-Mobile iPhone 6 model is A1549. The T-Mobile iPhone 6 Plus model is A1522. For details on LTE network support, please see http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE.

  • VG

    As per Apple’s web site when you close on About the Unlocked iPhone:

    The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a wireless contract commitment or a carrier installment plan. You can activate and use the unlocked iPhone on the supported wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint in the United States.
    If you don’t want a multiyear service contract, or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone is the best choice. If you choose T-Mobile, your iPhone comes with a T-Mobile SIM card already installed. You will need to contact T-Mobile or visit an Apple Retail Store to activate your iPhone.
    Otherwise, the unlocked iPhone does not come with a nano-SIM card for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, or iPhone 5c so you’ll need to get one from any supported carrier worldwide. To start using your iPhone, simply insert the SIM card into the slot and turn on iPhone by pressing and holding the On/Off button for a few seconds. Then follow the onscreen instructions to set up your iPhone.
    Purchasing an unlocked iPhone means you will not qualify for the lower iPhone price associated with a contract or a carrier installment plan. The unlocked iPhone 6 model is A1586. The unlocked iPhone 6 Plus model is A1524. The T-Mobile iPhone 6 model is A1549. The T-Mobile iPhone 6 Plus model is A1522.

  • UMA_Fan

    It’s a shame apple is updating LTE bands but still snubbing tmobile with 700mhz. I would totally forgive Apple of they just updated the models to include 700mhz a block.

    • VG

      Apple is NOT updating LTE bands. They are simply selling the Sprint model as factory unlocked.

      • UMA_Fan

        Ok that makes more sense

  • Bill

    Apple is finally playing catch-up.

    • VG

      Apple is simply releasing the Sprint model of the 6 and 6+ as factory unlocked … How is this playing catchup?

  • I see Microsoft has some pretty good Lumias getting ready to get lined up. I hope some of the dual SIM models they are coming out with (the 1330 and 1420) support the low band 700 MHz band 12 on either LTE or HSPA+.

  • Just bought 6+

    What is the difference with the A1524 vs A1522 model

    • VG

      Model A1524 supports 4 additional TD LTE bands: 38, 39, 40 and 41. Other than that, they are exactly the same phone.

      • NapoPeb

        Exactly correct. Shame Cam is unable to get his tiny brain around this.

        • Michael Belcher

          out of everyone on her with opinions your the only one thats act like an ass about it all there is a right way to correct someone

        • NapoPeb

          You are far too sensitive. Grow some balls.

        • NapoPeb

          PS – It’s ‘you’re’.

        • Michael Belcher

          As we say in the army no need to sharp shoot anyone but hey maybe the term ambivalent is better suited for you.

          It’s a discussion thread.

        • NapoPeb

          You’re in the army? Well, say no more.

        • Michael Belcher

          Why yes say no more most don’t have the guts to serve say no more. Only one percent of the nation.

          Combat arms
          Air traffic control
          Occupational therapist in case you were trying to reference intelligence have served in all those capacities.

        • NapoPeb

          Or, alternatively, those who are too dumb in school to do anything else other than go to ‘fight’ for their country.

        • Michael Belcher

          get off your mommas couch put down the junk food actually get some exercise and then let’s talk

        • NapoPeb

          Lol. Ok. I’m not an American as it goes, but reel free to continue the accurate stereotype of your fellow American. Chortle.

        • Michael Belcher

          Of course your not you would have to be blind not to see that. With as rude as you are and arrogant.

        • NapoPeb

          Why thank you!

        • Michael Belcher

          You have become boring I’m ending this game respond if you want. I am not responding back.

        • Michael Belcher

          huh that’s odd I didn’t think they let people do air traffic control and occupational therapy that were Non educated that’s good. wow you’re just too smart for me. I should just stop this conversation

    • monkeybutts

      basically it’s the sprint phone which has more bands than the others but unlocked so you can actually use it on AT&T T-mobile and other gsm networks, probably verizon too since but they won’t activate it you need to get a sim another way.

      • VG

        The Apple web site clearly states: “You can activate and use the unlocked iPhone on the supported wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint in the United States.” Assuming Apple is correct, Verizon and Sprint (and all the other carriers) will allow you to activate it on their respective networks.

  • Intl. Punter extraordinaire

    I always go punting to Thailand or Colombia Cam. Twice a year to each. I met my last wife in Phucket 10 years ago. That said, which model would you get. I mostly go to these places because the getting is good and I’ve gone to most other spots but these are the best value and safest imho. I need to upgrade by March so any feedback will be helpful. Keep in mind my latest phone is an iPhone 3G. Thanks Cam.

    • Nick Gonzalez

      L M A O

      • Intl. Punter extraordinaire

        @NICK WTF is so funny? iPhones are expensive and my 3GS was my back up after I lost my Nexus 4. I don’t buy phones until I really need them, and I need a new phone because my 3GS is slow on 3G, even if on T-Mobile. Great phone, but I need to upgrade to LTE.

        Anyway, Cam let me know which you would get.

        • Nick Gonzalez

          You are. That was hilarious, thank you!

    • Thailand uses band 1 and Colombia, 4 and 7. Most phones sold in the US support bands 4 and 7 and many, band 1, including the iPhone 6.

  • Cam Fas

    If it came with 700 support I’d be pissed that I got the 128 gig plus

  • VG

    Cam, you really need to delete or modify your statement above: “this model doesn’t support many of the North, Central and South American LTE bands offered by the current unlocked T-Mobile iPhone 6.”. Your statement is completely inaccurate and causes confusion. The unlocked iPhone 6 and 6 Plus now sold by Apple supports the same, exact 16 LTE Bands as the T-Mobile iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, plus four additional TD LTE bands.

    • Along with: “If you’re more likely travel to Italy or Japan than Brazil or Colombia, it’s certainly worth going for the newer unlocked model.” Italy uses bands 3 and 7, Brazil, bands 7 and 28 and Colombia, 4 and 7. So the original iPhone 6 works just fine in these countries.

      • Cam Bunton

        I’m going based on the information here: http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/

        • Unless Apple locks the phone to the 3GPP regions that a model is sold in, there’s no reason why the model A1549 wouldn’t work in Italy or Japan. This might be the case, which would suck.

        • Cam Bunton

          Looks like I was wrong. I was looking at the wrong list.

        • NapoPeb

          Cam. How hard is this for you to understand? The North American ‘unlocked’ iPhone 6 is simply the Sprint model which comes with ALL the LTE bands present in model A1549, plus a few extra.

          Sort your journalism out.

        • Sectime

          Congrats you and your buddy get the douche of the day award. To be twelve again.

    • NapoPeb

      Yes. This article is complete hogwash. But that’s what happens when the editor is based in England!

    • Cam Bunton

      I was under the impression that this is the Model A1586, which doesn’t contain the same bands as Model A1549. Are you saying that this is neither of those models, and is – in fact – a brand new model which isn’t yet listed on Apple’s site?

      http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/

      • VG

        The unlocked 6 now being sold through Apple is indeed Model A1586. But look at the list of the LTE Bands supported by both Model A1586 and Model A1549 (the T-Mobile 6); they each support the same 16 LTE bands, while Model A1586 supports 4 additional TD LTE bands.

        Ignore the list of countries & carriers on the right hand side (those are the models sold through those carriers). Model A1586 will work flawlessly on any carrier network that supports Model A1549.

        • Except for note #3 at the bottom of the page: “LTE wireless service may not be available even if listed bands are supported by your carrier.” Smells fishy…

        • VG

          I think LTE is only enabled on the iPhone if the carrier is officially partnered with Apple.

        • So basically one buys a phone that’s not locked by a specific carrier but is locked by Apple? If one buys an iPhone, is it his or Apple’s?

        • VG

          I didn’t say locked. The iPhone will still work, but LTE is only enabled on the iPhone if Apple is a partner with the carrier you are using (I think the carrier file that is downloaded to the iPhone enables LTE for that carrier). I don’t know if this is still the case, but I do remember when the iPhone 5 came out, LTE was not immediately enabled for the carriers in Italy until a few months after initial release.

        • NapoPeb

          That’s complete nonsense.

        • VG

          OK, I guess I’m wrong about LTE only being enabled on carriers that Apple has blessed. I said I think (a.k.a. I wasn’t sure). I still have no clear idea about what the carrier update file on the iPhone really does, I just know a new file is installed each time I install a different SIM card,

        • kk888
        • Anthony S Jennings

          This was the case with the iPhone 5/5s/5c. The option to enable LTE was either grayed out, or removed from view by Apple. On the 6 models the option is available, with a warning that it may not be supported by the carrier you choose. I use a data-only SIM from Red Pocket and I get LTE here in the Washington DC area.

        • That’s because Apple approved carrier bundles are required for LTE service to function. Otherwise it’s just a GSM/UMTS phone.

        • Cam Bunton

          I see the error. Thanks for clarifying.

        • NapoPeb

          Finally! Rejoice.

      • NapoPeb

        How hard is this for you to understand? This is the Sprint phone, except unlocked. Your article is incredibly inaccurate and misleading. You’ve already been corrected.

        Stop debating the fact that you’re wrong, and correct the article!

        • g2a5b0e

          He asked a question, he wasn’t debating anything. Stop trying to be *ssh*le. If you don’t like what’s being written on this site, I’m sure there are many others you can get your news from.

        • NapoPeb

          Na. I’m fine thanks. That the INACCURATE information is still posted on the news page is unacceptable.

        • Scott

          Wow.

          Ever considered anger management?

          Or a nice indica dominant…

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    Was hoping to see band 12 support. guess ill have to get nexus 6

    • flipicaneze

      I don’t know if you would take this with a grain of salt, but according to a T-Mobile rep over the phone, T-Mobile is working with Apple to “unlock” LTE band 12 in a future update of iOS.

      • dontsh00tmesanta

        lol a tmo rep know less than us

        • William Wilson

          Hence….the grain of salt.

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          really

  • Mike

    Sounds like Apple is trying to widen its market by selling a versatile unlocked phone that can be used by some pretty small companys not just the big 4. Guess the exclusively offered through the big 4 no longer makes sense for Apple.

  • Raiterio Patterson

    I understand perfectly. Apple is now re-issuing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ that was locked to Sprint’s network but now it’s unlocked! Think of it like when Nike keep re-issuing the same pair of Jordans every year but in different colors!

  • drklahn

    I can verify the SIM Free version of the iPhone 6 Plus works with T-Mobile Wifi Calling and VoLTE.

    • thespacecowboyx

      thanks. That’s the SIM free, versus the ‘T Mobile’ SIM free right? My wife has the SIM free one carrier free. If so, i’ll have a play setting up wifi calling.