GSM frequency bands in the USA

Michael Spacefalcon msokolov at ivan.Harhan.ORG
Fri Feb 21 23:06:02 CET 2014

Nick <openmoko-community at> wrote:

> I'm going to the USA soon,

Do you know which part of USA?

> and would ideally like to use my GTA02
> there. It is a European 900/1800/1900MHz version (I presume - I
> bought it 2nd hand - is there an easy way to check?).

As others have said, look at the sticker inside the battery
compartment.  It's the only way to tell, there is no software-based
way: as discussed on this list earlier, with the standard
/gsm/com/rfcap setting from Om the modem has no knowledge of which
version it is, believing itself to be quad-band instead.

> Can I just use any network in the USA,

In the part of USA where I operate (Southern CA) there are only two
GSM networks: 310260 (current marketing name "T-Mobile USA", used to
be VoiceStream) and 310410 (current marketing name "AT&T", used to be
Cingular - the decoding table in our GSM firmwares still calls it
"Cingular", BTW).  All of my current/recent experience is with
T-Mobile; the last time I used the other network was some 11-12 y ago,
back when they were Cingular.

If you come to Southern California, I can confirm that you can go to
any T-Mobile retail store, buy a SIM card, plug it into your GTA02
(mine is exactly like yours), and it will work.  (For me it works with
*both* the original factory IMEI and the one I made up for testing. :)

If you decide to try the other network (AT&T), you'll be venturing
into so-far-untested territory, and contributing new knowledge. :)

> and it will just register with the 1900MHz band

Yup, that's the band I've been using here for all my cellphone-using
life.  I have yet to use a phone with 850 MHz capability - this
"secondary" USA band is a relatively recent addition (a spectrum
reallocation from AMPS, it seems), and back in 2003 when I got my
first Mot V66 (the subsequent ones have been from ebay), all phones
officially sold in USA with carrier branding were 1900 MHz only or
900/1800/1900 MHz "world phones" like that Mot V66!

Again, this is with a T-Mobile SIM card, connecting to T-Mobile base
stations in the 1900 MHz band - no idea what the picture looks like
for AT&T.


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