When T-Mobile’s Galaxy Note II passed through the halls of the FCC with LTE support, it gave us hope that the Note II would be future proofed for the company’s eventual LTE rollout. Now, thanks to some sleuthing by the boys from AnandTech, T-Mobile’s hardware is discovered to essentially be the same as AT&T’s own model.
One of the most interesting things about the Galaxy Note 2 on T-Mobile is that it literally is the same hardware as the AT&T Note 2 with LTE. Sure, the model number is different, but the T-Mobile Note 2 includes support for LTE bands 17 (which AT&T uses) and 4 (AWS, which AT&T has specced devices out for and T-Mobile has confirmed it will deploy LTE on). This is to my knowledge the first T-Mobile handset with overt LTE support, and thus a solid future-proof purchase if you’re determined to have a T-Mobile handset that will work with the carrier’s upcoming LTE on AWS plans.
With “confirmation” from the incredibly reputable gents over at AnandTech, The Verge took it step further and contacted T-Mobile directly and received exactly the answer we wanted to hear:
The Galaxy Note II features a Qualcomm 9215M chipset which provides the hardware capability to support both HSPA+42 and LTE. T-Mobile plans to reach more than 200 million Americans with LTE by the end of 2013. The Galaxy Note II will not automatically access T-Mobile’s LTE network. We will share more information on how and when the Galaxy Note II will support T-Mobile’s upcoming LTE network when the network is available.
The good news is that the extra $70 you’re paying for the Galaxy Note II with a direct from T-Mobile purchase will pay off when you find that you don’t need to upgrade your device to take advantage of T-Mobile’s LTE network. Whether or not that’s worth the extra $70 to you is up for debate, but it should offer some measure of comfort that you won’t find yourself desperate to upgrade next year. However, as T-Mobile’s statement shows, the LTE bands are not readily available and will require a software update to activate— but we imagine some XDA folks will take care of that long before T-Mobile does.
Good news all around.