Seriously what is the advantage of T-mobile vs Unlocked?

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d_ganggreen

Senior Member
Mar 3, 2014
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Schertz
I have an S20U now that is unlocked. What I love is that I get the updates faster it seems (although, the S20 has had way more updates than normal). I am thinking of getting the branded Tmobile one, I have never had any issues using their software and it seems to work better on the network. I do not honestly care about "bloatware" as I will at least be getting a 256GB model.
Anyone have any experiences either way?
 

kangi26

Retired Forum Moderator
Nov 8, 2006
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I don't have any experience with TMO specifically, but what I do know is that typically the carrier branded devices get their updates WAY fast and more often than the Unlocked ones. I'm in the same boat, I don't really care much one way or another about the bloat. If I don't like it I uninstall it if I can or at the very least disable it
 
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Eudeferrer

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Aug 27, 2012
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I don't have any experience with TMO specifically, but what I do know is that typically the carrier branded devices get their updates WAY fast and more often than the Unlocked ones. I'm in the same boat, I don't really care much one way or another about the bloat. If I don't like it I uninstall it if I can or at the very least disable it
It is my understanding that the unlocked one can be used in any country and any network. Just switch sim card and you are done. The TMobile one, may be locked until you pay off the device. You also don't get the bloatware with unlocked (one less thing to Uninstall if you don't care for it).

Sent from my SM-N976U 5G using XDA-Developers Legacy app
 

kangi26

Retired Forum Moderator
Nov 8, 2006
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Seattle
It is my understanding that the unlocked one can be used in any country and any network. Just switch sim card and you are done. The TMobile one, may be locked until you pay off the device. You also don't get the bloatware with unlocked (one less thing to Uninstall if you don't care for it).

Sent from my SM-N976U 5G using XDA-Developers Legacy app

There are 2 "Kinds" of Unlocked, you're referring to SIM unlocked, the other is the U1 devices sold by Samsung. Which I suspect what the OP is referring to
 

Gary02468

Senior Member
Jul 25, 2011
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typically the carrier branded devices get their updates WAY fast and more often than the Unlocked onest
That used to be true, but not for the last couple of years. The unlocked US Note10+ (N975U1), for example, has gone through 18 software releases in the 12 months it's been out. Many of its updates came out within the first few days of the month, and included that month's Android security patch.

T-Mobile has been lagging for the past few months in its updates for both the N975U and the N975U1, but you can manually download and flash the latest unlocked software immediately.
 
From my experience, AT&T, the branded phones have the extras like wifi calling and VoLTE enabled and the unlocked ones don't. Some of the video call features are missing. I wouldn't have a problem with the bloatware but AT&T seems to force it back on and there is no way to remove it without root (which i don't do anymore). This has been my experience from Note 5 , 2 of the 7's ,note 8 and the note 9 I currently use, all have been unlocked.

Sent from my Samsung SM-N960U1 using XDA Labs
 

mardukeme

Senior Member
Oct 2, 2006
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Unlock has free caller ID builtin, Tmobile you have to pay for it. Unlock has no Tmobile branding or bloatware. Unlock version is easier to bypass tmobile hotspot apn, and usage limits

T-Mobile version has video calling on the phone app, unlock use to, but not anymore. There might be a few more things but I can't remember right now.

Sent from my SM-N975U1 using Tapatalk
 

bkeaver

Senior Member
Dec 10, 2006
3,722
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Dayton, Ohio
Also, it is my understanding that Tmobile tweaks it's cellular radio's to perform slightly better than the unlocked version of any phone used on it's network.
This simply isn't true with the Samsung phones. I have had both and there definitely is no difference in connectivity in either data or calls between unlocked and carrier version.

Sent from my SM-G986U1 using Tapatalk
 
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marctronixx

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Jul 18, 2007
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agree - that was a bunch of talk on this forum last year when the note 10+ was shipping . lots of cats on here were trying to say this and it was just not true. i had 3 unlocked phones on tmo and service was consistent.
 
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chetly968

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Jul 15, 2014
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Last edited:

ccommcomm

Member
Jul 18, 2013
38
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I have an S20U now that is unlocked. What I love is that I get the updates faster it seems (although, the S20 has had way more updates than normal). I am thinking of getting the branded Tmobile one, I have never had any issues using their software and it seems to work better on the network. I do not honestly care about "bloatware" as I will at least be getting a 256GB model.
Anyone have any experiences either way?

Thank you for your post. Does the Wifi Calling on Tmobile work on the Unlocked phone? I am looking at buying the unlocked 512gb model but have to have wifi calling when I am traveling internationally.
 

MrAwesome75

Senior Member
Oct 2, 2014
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OnePlus 7 Pro
Does anyone know if the stock firmware can be flashed on any device if it's factory unlocked? I think the answer is yes, but just want to make sure before I purchase one used. I know your can flash the carrier firmware so I assume you can do the reverse.
 
Thank you for your post. Does the Wifi Calling on Tmobile work on the Unlocked phone? I am looking at buying the unlocked 512gb model but have to have wifi calling when I am traveling internationally.

Yes. and if you follow a few of the guides here you can "unlock" video calling and RCS in Samsung messages as well. And if you are really creative, there is another guide to expanding bands and tweaking receiving antennas

And the last question, if you buy the U1 unlocked, you can flash carrier firmware or unlocked firmware either way all you want, but keep in mind going from u to u1 firmware requires a wipe.

The old "unlocked" was slower to get updates is only true if you wait for Tmobile to release it. If you use Frija and Odin, you can pretty much get it the same day Samsung releases it. I'm too impatient to wait for Tmobile to "get around to" reviewing it and re-releasing what Samsung released weeks before.

Most of the "negatives" of having unlocked are long gone at this point and it tilts more into the positives.
 

Limeybastard

Senior Member
Yes. and if you follow a few of the guides here you can "unlock" video calling and RCS in Samsung messages as well. And if you are really creative, there is another guide to expanding bands and tweaking receiving antennas

And the last question, if you buy the U1 unlocked, you can flash carrier firmware or unlocked firmware either way all you want, but keep in mind going from u to u1 firmware requires a wipe.

The old "unlocked" was slower to get updates is only true if you wait for Tmobile to release it. If you use Frija and Odin, you can pretty much get it the same day Samsung releases it. I'm too impatient to wait for Tmobile to "get around to" reviewing it and re-releasing what Samsung released weeks before.

Most of the "negatives" of having unlocked are long gone at this point and it tilts more into the positives.

U and U1 have the same radios in them, they are made specifically for the USA market. Depending on what carrier sim card you insert those bands for said USA carrier will be made available for the user. No need to expand bands. The technical specifications of the U1 and U models are listed on samsung USA website for cross referencing.
 

NippleSauce

Senior Member
Jun 23, 2013
461
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T-Mo non-unlocked Samsung phones (maybe just the Note 20 Ultra though since I haven't been with Samsung since the Note 3 lol) have a bunch of issues. They're about one month behind on updates when compared to all of the other companies. Additionally, I saw someone mention that they have better mobile data quality. That is also true... I found that out once I manually switched to the Android 11 beta as my 5G speeds went from a constant 130mb/s down to 0.5 - 2mb/s without the firmware being specifically from T-Mo. In my settings, all of the mobile connection stuff is exactly the same as it was before...

Also, I don't have voicemail support. Yet another T-Mo problem (but you can easily add Samsung as a possible cause of that problem too)... Had to switch back to the Google Phone app just so that I could get old-school style voicemail (where you have to call your own phone number to get in).

---------- Post added at 11:29 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:25 AM ----------

Anyone successfully using call recording feature on either version? Still looking for my U.S t-mobile variant..

This hasn't worked for me either. It's starting to seem like Samsung pushed some of their development onto the phone carriers now lol.

Hey Samsung, why not just leave Android alone when you get it from Google so you don't have to cause so many problems with your own, customized (ad filled, feature removing) version moving forward? Heck, I've already had some problems with a bunch of your apps and have gotten zero help or answers from you guys. That's the reason I've switched back to a bunch of Google apps, however, half of those didn't even work on this phone!!! But I messaged Google about these problems as well, and you know what? They fixed ALL OF THEM within two weeks.

I'll definitely be buying from a different manufacturer moving forward. Even more so since there's rumours spreading around online right now that the Note 20 was the last Note phone to be released since the upcoming S21 is going to have stylus support...
 
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Jake.S

Senior Member
The difference between unlocked and t-mobile is that unlocked gets its updates directly from Samsung and is not branded.

While t-mobile version is branded and you receive the updates from t-mobile and not from Samsung. So delay or longer waiting time on updates would happen and maybe even won't get few of the updates.

Since t-mobile has to release them, which take longer time.

Skickat från min SM-N986B via Tapatalk
 

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    I don't have any experience with TMO specifically, but what I do know is that typically the carrier branded devices get their updates WAY fast and more often than the Unlocked ones. I'm in the same boat, I don't really care much one way or another about the bloat. If I don't like it I uninstall it if I can or at the very least disable it
    1
    Also, it is my understanding that Tmobile tweaks it's cellular radio's to perform slightly better than the unlocked version of any phone used on it's network.
    1
    Also, it is my understanding that Tmobile tweaks it's cellular radio's to perform slightly better than the unlocked version of any phone used on it's network.
    This simply isn't true with the Samsung phones. I have had both and there definitely is no difference in connectivity in either data or calls between unlocked and carrier version.

    Sent from my SM-G986U1 using Tapatalk
    1
    agree - that was a bunch of talk on this forum last year when the note 10+ was shipping . lots of cats on here were trying to say this and it was just not true. i had 3 unlocked phones on tmo and service was consistent.