T-Mobile MVNO Solavei said on Wednesday it will fully support all of the HSPA+ radios in the new version of the iPhone 5. That means anywhere T-Mobile offers 3G service, Solavei will too. Previously all iPhones’ 3G capabilities were restricted to areas where T-Mobile had completed its ongoing network overhaul, which to date is about 50 cities. Solavei – which has adopted a multi-level marketing approach (think Amway) to distributing its service – is selling the unlocked iPhone 5 directly to customers for the steep price of $700 through its retail partner GSMNation. But unlocked versions of the device will work just fine with Solavei’s SIM cards.
T-Mobile’s 3G network, though, is nothing to scoff at. T-Mo the only U.S. carrier to offer dual-carrier HSPA+, which is now accessible by the iPhone 5 and many other devices supporting its Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) band. T-Mobile also has several other MVNO partners, such as Tracfone’s Straight Talk Wireless, that can theoretically support the iPhone 5. Solavei is the only one we know of that is selling a nano-SIM card that fits into to device, but many consumers are getting around that problem by cutting larger SIM cards down to size.