iPhone on Solavei

This guide will help you determine whether using an iPhone on the Solavei network is right for you. You will learn:

  • Whether your iPhone is compatible with Solavei
  • What levels of coverage to expect on your iPhone
  • How to unlock your iPhone
  • How to activate your Solavei Mobile Service
  • Frequently Asked Questions
iPhone 6

iPhone Coverage on Solavei's Network

iPhone 5s and 5c

If you have an iPhone 5s or 5c, you will be able to take full advantage of the Solavei network* if it is unlocked.

Check Your Coverage

* The Solavei network does not yet support LTE.

iPhone 5

If you have the updated version of the iPhone 5, you are able to take advantage of the widest coverage of 3G/4G speeds Solavei can offer.

What version of the iPhone 5 do you have?

You can find out if you have the updated model of the iPhone 5 that will take full advantage of the Solavei network* with one of the two options below. If you have the older iPhone 5 model, see "Older iPhones" below for what data speeds to expect.

1. On the Box

Look for "1700/2100" under UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA.


Look for one of the below model numbers.

  • ME486LL/A
  • ME488LL/A
  • ME490LL/A
  • ME487LL/A
  • ME489LL/A
  • ME491LL/A

* The Solavei network does not yet support LTE.

2. In Settings

Tap "General" then "About." The model should be one of the following:

  • ME486LL/A
  • ME488LL/A
  • ME490LL/A
  • ME487LL/A
  • ME489LL/A
  • ME491LL/A

Older iPhones

The original iPhone 5 and older AT&T iPhones will be able to get full voice and text as well as slower data except in the areas listed to the right. In these updated areas, you will get full 3G/4G speeds even if your iPhone only shows 3G.

coverage map

Current Areas With Up To 4G Speeds:


  • Mesa
  • Phoenix
  • Tucson


  • Anaheim
  • Fresno
  • Los Angeles
  • Modesto
  • Oakland
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Silicon Valley
  • Stockton


  • Denver


  • Ft. Lauderdale
  • Miami
  • Orlando
  • Tampa


  • Atlanta


  • Chicago


  • Kansas City


  • Boston
  • Cambridge
  • Springfield
  • Washington D.C.


  • Baltimore


  • Ann Arbor
  • Detroit
  • Warren


  • Minneapolis

New Jersey

  • Newark


  • Las Vegas
  • Reno

New York

  • New York


  • Philadelphia

Rhode Island

  • Providence


  • Austin
  • Dallas
  • Fort Worth
  • Houston
  • San Antonio


  • Richmond
  • Virginia Beach


  • Seattle
  • Solavei runs on the HSPA+ network with coverage for more than 220 million people in more than 200 markets, creating the largest 4G network in the country.
  • Solavei's mobile network partner plans to add even more major cities to the 1900 MHz network with locations announced as they become available.
  • Outside of these specified markets, you will still have data coverage with 2G speeds.

HSPA+, or Evolved High-Speed Packet Access, is a technical standard for wireless, broadband telecommunication. HSPA+ enhances the widely used WCDMA (UMTS) based 3G networks with higher speeds for the end user that are comparable to the newer LTE networks.

Information current as of 5/2013

< Back Next >

Unlock Your iPhone

Your iPhone must be unlocked in order to work with the Solavei mobile network. Follow these steps to ensure your iPhone is unlocked.

T-Mobile Versions of the iPhone 5s, 5c and 5 (GSM)

If you purchased an unlocked version of the iPhone 5s, 5c or 5 for T-Mobile's network or SIM-free, you are good to go to the next step.

AT&T Versions of the iPhone (GSM)

You can unlock your iPhone by:

After you are notified that your device has been unlocked by your previous carrier, follow these steps to complete the unlocking process:

  • Connect your iPhone to your computer and back up your device via iTunes
  • Restore your device from backup — select the most recent backup of your device

This will complete your unlock from your previous carrier and then you’ll be ready to switch to Solavei

If the provided instructions do not work for your device, there are alternative solutions available on the internet. Use one of the available search engines and enter "How do I unlock my (insert phone model here)."

Other Carriers (CDMA)

Solavei only supports unlocked GSM phones. The Verizon and Sprint versions iPhone 4 and 4s are CDMA iPhones and are not supported on the Solavei network.

< Back Next >

Getting a Solavei SIM Card

Get a SIM Card From Your Sponsor

If your sponsor has SIM cards on hand, you can select the corresponding SIM card for your iPhone.

iPhone Versions Original iPhone
iPhone 3G/3GS
iPhone 4/4S
iPhone 5/5c/5s
SIM Card Type Standard SIM Card (Mini)
Standard SIM Card (Mini)
Micro SIM Card
Nano SIM Card

After you have your SIM card, you can follow the enrollment process through the link your sponsor provides. You can follow the enrollment walkthrough for more detail.

Enrollment Walkthrough or Enroll Now

Enroll and Get a SIM Card from Solavei

You can enroll with Solavei and have a SIM shipped to you. Make sure that you have a link from the person who introduced you to Solavei to go through enrollment.

Enrollment Walkthrough or Enroll Now

< Back Next >


When you receive your SIM card, insert it into the SIM slot.

Then set up your APN Settings on your iPhone to ensure your picture messaging and data (Internet) work. Click the arrows or each step to see the corresponding screenshot on the iPhone.

Before setting up your APN Settings, reset your Network Settings:

  1. From the home screen, select Settings
  2. Select General
  3. Select Reset
  4. Select Reset Network Settings
  5. Select Reset Network Settings again

< Back Next >

General FAQs

Does Solavei have its own Mobile Network?

No, Solavei service operates on T-Mobile's nationwide 4G network. Solavei members have access to the exact same levels of coverage and data speeds as other T-Mobile users. Coverage and service levels may vary from phone to phone, however, as data speed and other capabilities depend on the radio frequencies in its unique hardware.

What can affect my service?

Buildings, trees, walls, and weather can all diminish the radio waves that cellular towers broadcast. Even if our coverage map features 4G coverage, you may not get strong cell reception if, for example, you are in the basement of a big, concrete building. This is the case with any mobile phone under any carrier, not just Solavei. However, because different carriers operate on different radio frequencies, coverage may vary between a Solavei phone and an identical phone with another carrier.

Why can't all unlocked GSM phones (like iPhones) get 4G data speeds?

Each wireless carrier uses a certain set of radio frequencies for different services or data speeds on their mobile phones.

Most mobile phones can only detect a few different radio frequencies. An AT&T phone uses different frequencies for different services than a Solavei phone — so you may experience different levels of coverage or data speeds, depending on which carrier your phone came from.

If a phone uses a different set of radio frequencies for 4G than Solavei does, that phone may not be able to access 4G data speeds on Solavei’s network, or even use the Solavei network at all.

The reason we ask you to check the Device ID (IMEI) number from your phone during enrollment is to check whether your phone is compatible with the Solavei network.

  • You can check compatibility by going to Solavei.com and looking under "verify your phone"
  • Current members can also go to solavei.com and log in to use the Device ID (IMEI) check, which is labeled "Prequalify Phone" at the top of the screen.
How do I know if my phone is unlocked?

If you purchased your phone with a contract and have not contacted that carrier to get your unlock code, your phone is most likely locked. If you purchased your phone from someone stating the phone was "unlocked" and you want to double check, the Data APN settings in your phone can only be changed in an unlocked phone, so if you have access to that function in your menu, your phone is most likely unlocked.

Will I ever be able to get 4G data on my iPhone with Solavei?

Our network operator participates in ongoing efforts to enhance our network so that more phones, including the iPhone, will get data speeds up to 4G. These changes are already being rolled out in select markets.

The 4G logo will not appear next to the carrier logo, however, if you are using a compatible iPhone in one of our re-farmed markets you will experience speeds that are comparable to a 4G experience. Your phone should display a 3G logo, only because the device lacks the software to display the 4G icon.

  • Current major markets that get up to 4G (HSPA+) on the 1900 MHz network — Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson, Anaheim, Fresno, Los Angeles, Modesto, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Stockton, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Boston, Cambridge, Springfield, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Warren, Minneapolis, Newark, Las Vegas, Reno, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Seattle and more.**
  • Solavei's mobile network partner plans to add even more major cities** to the 1900 MHz network with locations announced as they become available.

** Information current as of 5/2013

Will Visual Voicemail work on my iPhone on the Solavei Network?

To utilize Visual Voicemail, you can download a third party app such as YouMail. Find out more about Visual Voicemail.

Can I use a "jailbroken" phone on the Solavei network?

We don't recommend purchasing or using an iPhone unlocked by anyone other than the original service provider, as some of the services and features that you expect on an iPhone may not be available on a "jailbroken" device.

Is iMessage supported?

Yes, iMessage is supported. You must have the iMessage feature turned on in Settings>Messages>iMessage:ON. It is also recommended to upgrade to the latest operating system.

When a new iOS comes out will my iPhone re-lock during the update process?

If you followed the proper steps through your carrier, your Device ID (IMEI) should be excluded from the re-locking step of the update through iTunes. If you used another method to unlock your iPhone, then there is a strong possibility that your phone will be "relocked," and you will have to go through the unlocking process again.

Does Solavei offer mobile hotspot?

Mobile Hotspot and Tethering are not currently supported services.

Can I connect my iPhone to iTunes once the APN Settings are changed?

Yes, if you followed the proper unlocking steps, you can still connect to iTunes.

iPhone 5 FAQs

Does Solavei offer Nano SIMs?

Yes! Learn more about how to get your SIM Card.

What is a Nano SIM card?

A Nano SIM card is smaller and 15% thinner than a Micro SIM card, a new standard that launched with the iPhone 5. Do not to attempt to modify your current SIM card to fit it into the Nano SIM slot in the new iPhone 5 for the following reasons:

  • You could irreparably damage your SIM card, which would cause you to lose saved data and be without service until you receive a replacement SIM card.
  • You could damage the new iPhone 5 because of the difference in size and configuration of the Nano versus current SIMs.
How do I know if my iPhone 5 will get the best service and coverage?

On April 12th, an updated iPhone 5 model was launched that has new hardware to support the 1700/2100 frequencies that we use for 3G/4G data speeds nationwide. Not all iPhone 5's sold from April 12th forward will be the updated iPhone 5 because dealers will have remaining stock of the older iPhone 5 version. Unlocked, iPhone 5c and 5s's will all be able to take full advantage of the Solavei network if.

You can find out what version of the iPhone 5 you have by one of the following two ways:

1. On the Box

Look for "1700/2100" under UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA.


Look for one of the below model numbers.

  • ME486LL/A
  • ME488LL/A
  • ME490LL/A
  • ME487LL/A
  • ME489LL/A
  • ME491LL/A

2. In Settings

Tap "General" then "About." The model should be one of the following:

  • ME486LL/A
  • ME488LL/A
  • ME490LL/A
  • ME487LL/A
  • ME489LL/A
  • ME491LL/A
How do I buy an unlocked version of the iPhone?

On Apple's Online Store

To purchase an iPhone 5s or 5c (the iPhone 5c is comparable to the iPhone 5) on www.apple.com, follow the below steps.

  1. Select iPhone from the top menu
  2. Select the desired phone at the top of the page
  3. Select the blue "buy now" button in the top right menu
  4. Select the color you want (ignore the price for this step)
  5. Scroll down past the carrier section to the "Unlocked and contract-free T-Mobile" section
  6. Select the iPhone with the storage that you want
  7. Select the "SIM Free" option
  8. In the top right corner under "Summary"  please click on "Select"
  9. Add any desired accessories and click on "Add to cart" (even if you didn't choose any accessories)
  10. On the next page click "Check Out" and follow the next steps.

In an Apple Retail Store

When you go to purchase an unlocked iPhone 5s or 5c (the iPhone 5c is comparable to the iPhone 5) in an Apple store.

  1. Inform them that you want to buy an unlocked iPhone 5s or 5c compatible with T-Mobile
  2. The amount of memory and color you want included with your phone (16GB, 32GB, 64GB) and (white,black)

< Back