Existing Samsung Galaxy S III phones won't work with T-Mobile's LTE network

The wireless carrier's new LTE network debuted on Tuesday and will reach 200 million people by the end of the year

Existing owners of Samsung's Galaxy S III will not be able to use the phone on T-Mobile's LTE network, which debuted Tuesday and will reach 200 million people by the end of this year.

The Galaxy S III does not have a compatible LTE radio, said Randy Meyerson, senior director of product marketing at T-Mobile, during an event in New York City, where the company announced the official rollout of its LTE network and new mobile plans.

At the event, T-Mobile announced an Apple iPhone 5 that will work on its LTE network. Other phones that will work on its LTE network include BlackBerry Z10, HTC One, and S3's successor, Samsung Galaxy S4, which will go on sale starting on May 1. Samsung's Galaxy Note II, which started shipping in September last year, will also work on T-Mobile's LTE network, said a representative for the wireless carrier at the event.

T-Mobile officials declined to comment on whether an LTE version of the Galaxy S III would become available.

The S III was announced last year and started shipping in the U.S. for all major networks starting in June. When announced, the smartphone worked on LTE networks from AT&T and Verizon, but T-Mobile at the time did not offer LTE and was working on deploying the network. The S III smartphone shipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon MSM8960 chipset, which includes an integrated LTE radio.

However, it remained unclear if the S III would work on T-Mobile's LTE network. That led to discussion threads in T-Mobile's forums and on other websites like XDA-developers on whether S III had forward support for LTE based on the MSM8960 chipset specifications. Forum members sent related questions to Samsung and T-Mobile representatives, but got mixed answers.

All S III phones use Qualcomm's MSM8960 chipset, but Samsung and T-Mobile may have disabled the LTE capability on the smartphones designed for T-Mobile networks, said Anand Shimpi, a chip expert and founder of Anandtech, which reviews hardware.

Smartphones are planned starting roughly 18 months ahead of their release, and are designed for specific bands and frequencies, Shimpi said. It was likely too early for T-Mobile to determine what frequencies its LTE network would run on.

"You need the right front-end to enable LTE on the right frequency," Shimpi said.

Qualcomm is trying to solve some of the LTE compatibility issues by cramming in support for a wide range of LTE bands in its chips, which could help smartphones interoperate on multiple networks in different countries, Shimpi said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags telecommunicationconsumer electronicsCarrierssmartphonesSamsung ElectronicsqualcommT-Mobile USA

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?