Wind Mobile – What about the iPhone?
Well, Wind Mobile is here, and while people seem generally excited about their plans and service so far, the phone selection leaves a little bit to be desired. So what really is available, what is coming, and what about the iPhone?
What is available now?
As of now, Wind’s lineup consists of just 4 phones: the BlackBerry Bold 9700, HTC Maple, Samsung Gravity 2, and the Huawei 7519.
Why so limited?
The main reason is because Wind purchased spectrum in the new and not widely used 3G advanced wireless service (AWS) band which uses frequencies in the 1700 and 2100 MHz bands. This was the block of spectrum that was up for auction so Wind really had very little choice. In the US, T-Mobile purchased a similar block of spectrum to build their 3G network, and have thus driven some demand for 3G AWS phones, but even that lot is limited.
Think of it this way, Wind is setting up in FM while everyone is still making AM radios.
What is coming?
According to a fellow blogger, the Nokia N900, Sony Xperia X10, and some Android devices will be coming in a couple of months as the manufacturers include hardware support for 3G AWS.
What about the iPhone?
Simple answer: The iPhone is not 3G AWS capable.
There are nothing more than rumours floating around at this point, likely due to the fact that even if Apple had 3G AWS capable phones in the hands of telecom companies for testing purposes they would be under strict NDAs, however, here is what I can tell so far.
First, it looks like North America is moving to adopt 3G AWS. Spectrum is being auctioned off in the US, Canada, and Mexico, and is being bought up. The major telcos all have portions of this spectrum, and the new entrants have been getting bits and pieces here and there as well. Hardware manufacturers will only incur a minimal additional cost to add support for AWS to their devices so there is no reason for them to limit themselves and not adopt the new markets.
Second, there are several articles speculating that T-Mobile will be getting the iPhone in the US when AT&T’s exclusive contract with Apple ends next year. Because T-Mobile’s 3G network is based on 3G AWS, Apple will have to update the hardware in the 4th gen iPhone to include support for this band. It may even be the case that such devices exist, but of course we’ll never hear about them until Apple officially announces something. My guess: we’ll see a 3G AWS iPhone at the next refresh sometime around June 2010.