Skip to main content

Are you on T-Mobile US and want a Nokia Lumia 1520? You have options

The Lumia 1520 now holds my record for longest used Windows Phone, previously held by my Lumia 920. There’s just something about the raw horsepower of a quad-core 2.2 GHz CPU and that 1080P six inch display that makes it hard to resist.  Sure, it’s big, but it’s also awesome.

Unfortunately, for those on T-Mobile in the US, the Lumia 1520 is but a pipe dream. That is until the Lumia 1520.3 (RM-938) hit third party retailers. In a very lengthy thread in our forums, this version of the Lumia 1520 has been confirmed to have the necessary AWS bands for T-Mobile, as well as reportedly getting AT&T LTE, as well. That is in addition to having 32 GB, of internal storage and Qi wireless charging. It’s the Holy Grail for those yearning for a Lumia 1520, but who reside in the States.

That’s the good news. The bad news is twofold.

  1. AvailabilityNegri Electronics and New Egg (opens in new tab) both stock this version, but it’s only available in Black right now, with White and Yellow back ordered
  2. Price – You want the best of the best and carrier unlocked? It’ll cost you between $624 and $657 to attain this ultimate Lumia 1520

Users in our forum have had good results with the device, which is carrier unlocked and rocking Windows Phone 8.0 Update 3. Some users are experiencing some issues with Windows Phone 8.1 Preview, though nothing we haven’t heard of before on various devices.

Being able to run the Lumia 1520 at LTE speeds on T-Mobile (or even AT&T) with 32 GB of storage, the ability to use a 128 GB micro SD card and Qi wireless charging (which AT&T removed) is hard to pass up. The good news is, if you want yellow or white, you have some time to save your pennies, as you’ll need ‘em.

Read more in our forums, but grab a cup of coffee as it’s 18 pages long.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

145 Comments
  • The wallpaper is amazing how can I have one like this
  • Just search for "Nexus 7 2013 wallpaper" Hope you're not a Google hater cause you'll stop liking that wallpaper then lol
  • There are nicer ones on the HD Wallpaper app.
  • ThanQ you. No not at all
  • You mean "the good news is, if you want yellow or white..."
  • oops.  totally misread.
  • Paying $300 or more full cost is so played out right now, and not worth it. Phones costing more than computers is just crazy! But as long as people keeping buying, they can keep selling!   Also the AT&T model (940) works with T-Mobile LTE when unlocked. It can be found online for much less brand new. 
  • That's what I used to think. But now, I'll happily pay a little more for a great phone, versus a crappy laptop - as the phone gets much more use by me throughout the day/week.
  • "Also the AT&T model (940) works with T-Mobile LTE when unlocked. It can be found online for much less brand new."
    That's highly misleading. It works in re-farmed areas, which may be few and far between (I have never personally experienced this is NY or MA). That does not equal the same AWS bands at T-Mobile and there's a world of difference if you're traveling. I think stating it as you have will cause a lot of disappointed people. Regarding price: it's relative to your income and not my place, or yours, to judge. If someone wants this, let them decide.
  • It has nothing to do with income smarty. It called being smart with your finances, and not wasting it on something like a phone. Don't try to insult me, as I'm sure I make more money than you do. If you have forgotten, opinions are like assholes. ..we all get one. Respect it. Edit** I see why you came with your smug remarks, lol. You wrote this article, lol. Well you shouldn't put things out there if you are only expecting things to go your way. Enough said.
  • mrjlwilliamsZ10 you're a charmer!! I am not one to suck up, and I am not sure if Daniel remembers but I am not shy at criticizing him if I feel it is appropriate.   In this case though he has every right to bring up the difficulties that people may expect if they were to follow your advise not knowing the complications. Whether or not it has to do with income or "being smart with your finances", it is still the decision of the individual.   As as far as being smug "smarty", I think on that issue you're doing fine...
  • ^^^ This is a bad post.
  • I think you should get off your high horse and accept some facts. He simply corrected you on the misleading information you provided. Even the price remark doesn't seem to be "smarty", but then again, when people get defensive, they go all the way and assume stuff. If I had bought the phone after reading your information (Though, I'm not one to buy without doing my own research), I would be quite frustrated. That's just my opinion, and as you said, I'm entitled to it. ;)
  • But yet you put something out there got a response and got butt hurt.  Then you have the nerve to say respect someone's opinion.  Damn.  Get some consistancy in your beliefs.  And yes.  The price on anything is relative.  And it's your perspective of what is expensive.  I find buying a $3 coffee at Starbuck expensive, but I find buying a Surface Pro at $899.00 well worth the price.  And yes, that's my opinion! 
  • What he said is correct, the AT&T Lumia 1520 works fine on T-Mobile LTE. All AT&T LTE phones do. AT&T uses bands 4 and 17 for LTE and T-Mobile uses just band 4 for LTE.  AT&T disables band 4 UMTS because they're dicks. All AT&T LTE phones should technically work on AWS band 4 3G just fine since the modem and antennas are capable of it, it's just disabled in the baseband. This makes it not work on T-Mobile 3G in areas that aren't re-farmed. This is an issue even if there is LTE in a non re-farmed area because you won't be able to do simultaneous voice and data as it'll have to drop to 2G to do voice. 
  • BLAAAMMM    thats why i drive a aventador and u a geo... 
  • I first bought the RM937 and only got 3G speeds. Then I bought the RM938 from NewEgg (1st purchase) and now I'm "ballin" on LTE courtesy of T-Mobile in South Florida.
    The T-Mobile agents are always amazed whenever they see it and even more amazed when I show them Official Instagram.
  • FFS. Why couldn't you have posted this a week ago BEFORE I bought the RM937 version from Amazon >.< I'm wondering if its better to just wait for a new WP on t-mobile at this point, my EDGE/3G speeds leave something to be desired...
  • Move to Baltimore. LTE/4G 95% of the time anywhere I go.
  • I have a ATT Lumia 920 that works on LTE in MA. And I'm about 15-30 minutes away from the closest major city.
  • Yeah I'm with you. My (unlocked) AT&T Lumia 920 gets great LTE here in Los Angeles on T-Mobile's network via MetroPCS.
  • Well said
  • As Daniel pointed out, AWS on LTE is NOT the same as having AWS on UMTS, which makes a world of difference. If you're not in a refarmed area with good UMTS signal on band 2 and TMO doesn't have LTE, then you're stuck on edge. Not fun.
  • depends on how old the model is as well as if its already a unlocked user or a brand unlock. 
    im alway on ebay/craigslist and oversea's sites looking around for deals, and normally factory unlocked phones normally run much higher here than brand unlocks because we dont have unlocked carrier uses like they do in alot of countries over sea's. the age and use of the phone also affect the price; more use/broken or anything like that will cost less, an older model will cost less after a certain amount of time as passes.  its totally normal for it to be very expensive still since no other models of this caliber and size is there to compete as of yet, so it will be awhile before it goes down. other model's will priced different just as it will be in store because where it's ranged on a capicty scale of features and processor.  with the bandwith of LTE that will depend on where you plan on using your phone, there are still a large number of area's where t mobile has not vamped their towers up to the new signal-band access standard, and the only place you can find it in a larger city area alot of time. i have a lumia 925 on T-mobile, when my phone was stolen i was looking into getting a 928 from verizon, or a 1020 or att. i saw many, many complaints from people who switch over from either company or buy an unlocked on that does not use the LTE feature unless they change their VPN if their not by a revamped tower that also had some other feature flaws because it was harder for the phone to connect properly via service because t mobile's tower's are not the same band-length.  while it may work in some area's looking into your current band usage for your carrier in your area will also cut down on a head-ache in case that happens. 
  • It's a lot more difficult to cram everything into a small form factor, therefore more expensive. Phones have multiple antennas & SIM slots, that also cost money... Tablet models with built-in 3G & LTE are always more expensive than their WiFi equivalents. $300 is either for a very old model, or one subsidised by your contract - so you pay more in the long-run instead of more up-front... I bought my mobile for $600 and pay $20/m for service, my mate bought the same phone on contract for $75/m & $0 upfront. You do the maths, but I'm well ahead at the end of his 2 yr contract.
  • Getting integrated wireless charging and LTE (since my area is not yet refarmed) makes this worth it to me. Getting an ATT version would disappoint many I am afraid.
  • The article was about more than getting a phone with working bandwidth. The at&t version doesn't come with 32GB or Qi wireless charging so this post was mostly moot anyway as it doesn't help anybody who wants those features. The article was clearly written for those looking for more than just the bandwidth.
  • I just use the ATT one, abused their hate for tmobile a while back to get $250 trade in value for two old phones and paid $126 for my Lumia 1520 outright and got it unlocked.
  • Nice deal
  • I just got the "basic" 1520 (glossy red) from AT&T unlocked and running on TMO. I don't really have any complaints yet, as it seems to run fine.  I am in a "refarmed" area of Seattle, tho..
  • I think the Lumia 1520 should've been released with these specs, not added later on
  • It's a very good device and I still recommend it, despite its issues such as the touch screen itself and lack of wireless charging. You could gripe about only 16GB internal storage, but I offset it with a 64GB MicroSD card. Never was a big fan of Qi charging to begin with.
  • This version of the 1520 has Qi and 32GB storage.
  • But the question is this: does it still have the touch screen issues of the AT&T Lumia 1520?
  • What touchscreen issues? I have no...touchscreeen issues...
  • Great article, too bad I don't have a the $650 to drop on the phone though.
  • Tnx Daniel, I have the 1520 on att but will sell this one when a yellow one will be available unlocked and carrier free the 32g and qi are something's that always bothered me... I agree that the 1520 is hard to get rid of.... I love this phone
  • I think it's also a safe investment. Sure, there will be new hardware in late 2014/2015, but the 1520 I think will go for a long time as is.
  • Totally agree
  • Great Daniel...but i will just add this to my DREAM List and not even my wish list 'coz its too pricey for me...LOL<..>
  • This is what I've been waiting for...time to get rid of this 810
  • Exactly what I did. The only thing I miss is the OLED screen on the 810 looks better for the glance screen.
  • I think I'll hang on to my 810 for while. See if T-Mobile reacts positive or negative. I appear to have time with colors pending.
  • If only a similar deal with the Icon could happen...
  • +1  I really want an Icon, but not as much as I really don't want a Verizon deal.
  • +920 same here, to hell with Verizon
  • Wait for the 930 in June.
  • I was under the impression that the 930 for for non-US customers.
  • My black one is on its way! Can't wait. Going to be selling my 1020 and accessories which will help pay for this phone.
  • Wow, I'm surprised this thread didn't make the WPCentral headlines sooner!  I've had my RM-938 Lumia 1520.3 running on T-mobile for about 2 weeks now and it's AWESOME!  This was a perfect upgrade from the Lumia 925 that I was previously using.  This is absolutly the best Windows Phone out there right now, as long as you don't mind the size.  It checks off every must have for a Windows Phone power user!
  • I've been following it, but let's not mince words: that's a long, unwieldy thread with lots of 'not sure' comments from people. I was waiting for a few to confirm things, as there was a lot of misinformation floating around ;)
  • That's true, but it's the "Real McKoy" Daniel.
  • Question does the screen look dull and flat next to the 925?
    I had a Rogers 920 and that screen looked awful next to the 925. The 925 screen really pops and is very vibrant. As much as I want the 1520 if it's not vibrant it's not for me.
  • From my experience, my opinion is that the Lumia 925 has an AMAZING screen.  I know exactly what you mean when you say the 925's screen is very vibrant...totally agree with you.  When I got the 1520 I did notice right off the bat that the screen didn't "pop" the same way the 925 did.  However, these are two different screen technologies and we all know there's pros and cons between OLED vs. LCD.  That being said, I personally feel that, specs aside, the 1520 screen is a tiny notch below that of the 925.  On the other hand, I definitly wouldn't give up my 1520 to go back to the 925.  The higher screen resolution more than makes up for it!  You should definitly take a trip to a nearby AT&T store and compare the two side by side to see how noticeable the differences are.
  • oh yay, my forum post is actually mentioned :D
  • Um, we cover forum posts 3-5 times a week. It's mandatory for our writers to cover and it has been for weeks now. See http://www.wpcentral.com/category/forums
  • I didn't mean it like that :P I just liked the forum post mention.
  • lol, np
  • Will the Lumia 930 have try the necessary bandwidth for at&t
  • We can probably expect something like a 935 from AT&T. But I wouldn't expect qi wireless charging on an AT&T branded device.
  • That phone looks nice
  • Yeah but black is best colour but I am biased. Just to make sure I have bought two spare backs in yellow and white. I can change the colour when I want now or a least when I get them. Got both with sim and SD card trays for under £150
  • Nice phone Daniel, I would go for it if I were in US
  • Glad you guys put this up here. Because T mobile's offerings on Windows Phone assume we All want budget devices or crippled old devices that are no longer worthy of being called flagships
  • The 925 is hardly crippled. Personally, even if T-Mobile offered a 1520 variant, I'd stick with my 925. I don't need or want a phablet.
  • My brother want's the 635 when it hits T Mobile,so flagship phones are not always needed.
  • You need at least one flagship to not appear biased and give Android and iOS competition. Legere hasn't committed to Windows Phone and had already backed out of BB10.
  • I don't want a phablet either, but with the "Other" storage issue constantly nagging me, even after they said it was "fixed" many of us need an SD card and good specs. At least AT&T offered a 32GB version. T mobile left this phone kind of undesirable pitted against flagships like the IPhone 5S, Galaxy S4, and HTC one at the Time.
  • Went to the AT&T store to checkout a 1520 not thinking I would buy,but after a few minutes with the 1520 I was hooked and walked out with one:)BB10 sales were dismal and T Mobile pulled the product.WP sales are not setting any records,but they are not bombing either.
  • I haven't had an issue with other storage sine GDR3.   on any WP8 device.
  • The 925 unquestionably is a decent phone but it's crippled on both legs with a non-expandable 16gb storage. I just bought a high gross red AT&T unlocked 1520 using on T-mobile network and the experience is matchless. I get decent Lte signal in Columbus so no problem with coverage here. My only gripe with it is that I can't get wireless tethering to work on it even though I have tried all the tricks discussed in the forum.
  • The 925 unquestionably is a decent phone...
    Agreed!
    ...but it's crippled on both legs with a non-expandable 16gb storage.
    Again, agreed!
    My only gripe with it is that I can't get wireless tethering to work on it even though I have tried all the tricks discussed in the forum.
    Just so I am clear, are you referring the ability to create a hotspot with the phone or are you referring to the Wi-Fi Calling app that T-Mobile provides? I didn't think about the latter option which is important for me since I live in a rural area. In fact, it was a selling point to move from Sprint to T-Mobile.  
  • I was referring to the inability to create wifi hotspot on the phone. Wifi calling feature is available only on T-mobile branded phones but it will be nice if we can get the Wifi calling app hacked unto the non T-mobile branded phones.
  • Because you got your 1520 from AT&T, is it possible their version disallows WIFI tethering? All Nokia Lumina's allow it. But I am not sure if AT&T's greed didn't have their 1520's modified.
  • Tempting!
  • Could you please share the wallpaper!
  • He already did a few days ago.
  • I bought a used and unlocked ATT model. For me, it was worth paying a lot less for the gimped capability but I live in a large city. I use this so much for content consumption that I sold my surface to help offset the cost. Unfortunately, I have the touch screen problem. Gotta send it in...
  • Daniel, people can of course go to the forum but it might be worth mentioning here that users are reporting a valid US warranty on these units.
  • Bought one around christmas time last year and been using it on tmobile since... I'm out in LA works great.
  • I've got the 937, and while I don't get LTE, I get speeds that are pretty good.
  • Wish I could afford it...I would jump on that in a heartbeat. I will just have to settle for whatever T-Mobile comes out with in the future. Hoping they will at least get a variation of the ICON (Lumia 935?) but with even better specs than the ICON. Don't think T-Mobile will ever get a Windows Phone Phablet... Our at least not for a long time....
  • Well that price makes my 925 feel much more desirable at the moment. But I REALLY want a bigger screen. Only issue I have is that I *know* I won't be able to go back down in screen size if I use something like that for a while. Does anybody have any word on if the 930 will work on US T-Mo or not?
  • Price down to $508 on ebay -- white/yellow/black available http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nokia-Lumia-1520-Black-RM-937-FACTORY-UNLOCKED-6...  
  • That's a different phone entirely, the RM-937 is the ATT model, which does not include Qi, or the actual AWS bands TMobile uses. While the RM-937 will work in refarmed areas like Portland and Seattle, it will not work in all markets and will get much lower speeds. Model for T-Mobile and other carriers is the RM-938.
  • Hmm.  I guess we are both a bit wrong. Here's what I dug up: RM-937 Global variant 32 GB built-in Qi-Charging RM-938 Latin America variant 32 GB built-in Qi-Charging RM-939 Chinese variant without LTE 32 GB built-in Qi-Charging RM-940 AT&T variant 16 GB Qi-charging only with optional cover - No WCDMA 1700/2100 T-Mobile USA customers should try to get RM-938 variant http://forums.wpcentral.com/nokia-lumia-1520/247006-1520-different-varia...
  • Actually, the wireless charging with cover on the AT&T vartiant, RM940 is NOT Qi.
  • Good point! "But that won’t be the case with the AT&T version. Due to its relationship with Powermat, the carrier has abandoned any semblance of restraint and pulled a move we’re more used to seeing from its arch-rival Verizon Wireleless. It hasn’t just added Powermat compatibility; it’s removed Qi compatibility to do it. And -get this- the phone will still require a case to work with Powermat chargers." source: pocketnow dot com 
  • Nice to have another T-Mobile option but dang, that's a big ass phone!  Personally for me the sweet spot for screen size is the 4.5" to 5" range.  Maybe we will here more about an unlocked Icon/930 that will work with T-Mobile soon!
  • Already went this route with my Rogers 1020 from Negri, and now just waiting for its successor to appear as I prefer to stay in the 41MP club for my next phone. :)
  • I love that phone, but my Nokia 521 is the perfect size for my pocket. And now being able to put apps on SD cards space isn't an issue. My question is, is there really a noticable difference with that quad core processor compared to the 521s? Are load up speeds of apps noticeably faster?
  • Is this a serious question? The bigger game titles (if you're a gamer) won't run as well if the developers even make them available for 512mb phones. And I'm sure there will be more and more apps that take advantage of the higher horsepower housed in the 1520. If not, why have a quad core in the first place?
  • That Screen.
  • I'm running one of these 1520's with 8.1 on tmobile and I have had no problems other that "full" LTE hspa+ runs around 10mb down and 5mb up. this by far is the best phone I have used but I have ne gripe about the phone is the cam is not as fast as the 920. I feel I got better pics on my 920 vs the 1520
  • I have been on the fence about this for the last couple of months, almost bought the AT&T variant when the MS store had them on sale for $100 off and I've been regretting not jumping on that price (but didn't want the uncertainty of whether my service would be affected by moving from locale to locale)  This phone is what I want and I've paid close to that for a phone (I bought my most of my last few at full retail on day one) but I see sales on the 925 and other models and worry that there's some shiny unannounced phone that will instantly make me unhappy that I didn't wait another week.  This isn't helped by the fact the phone has been out already as long as it has.  My second issue is that if something goes wrong with the device, regular insurance won't cover it since it's not a TMOUS device.I've replaced my 925 a couple of times already for various odd things) so I'd be a bit nervous about that as well.  So while I love that you've answered the question for me (FINALLY), do you have any information to address those other concerns (new devices on the horizon and insurance replacement for the carrier one)
  • I think I answered my own question (insurance)... BTW Black is sold out at newegg now :)   They have 1 year accidental coverage for $66. I almost am sure something new is coming soon because the rumors and stuff always seem to stop being reported on right around that time and my ASSUMPTION is that is because after seeing or being told about devices under NDA our favorite sites no longer can share information about these things (oddly enough).
  • Dream come true
  • I purchased my Lumia 1520 full priced from the Microsoft store for $459.00 plus tax. Then got it hooked up on AT&T prepaid go-phone. It come out cheaper. I pay $60.00 a month and never have to worry about overages.
  • Well I bought mine (AT&T) off of Amazon full priced at $512... And hooked it up on StraightTalk for $45 a month... It came out cheaper and I never have to worry about overages!
  • The Lumia 1520.3 is the most perfect Windows Phone out there. I'm running 8.1 on it for ever a week now without any issues.
  • I was excited until I got to the end. I'm not paying more than $380-400 at once for a phone and that's the beauty of paying an extra $21-27 a month on T-Mobile's plans. And can't we just buy one off eBay for $150-200 cheaper and unlock it ourselves or is that unlocking law still in effect. If I didn't have an unlocked Lumia 920 on T-Mobile I could possibly make a strong case to buy the 1520 but only if I knew I was going to keep it for three years minimum.
  • Ahh Lumia 1520, when will you truly draw nigh to T-Mobile? When will I finally get to say, "I can has 1520?!" without it emptying my pocket. Sigh. [Turns and walks off into the sunset]
  • funny :) I'm in the same boat. I wish I gets a bit cheaper. I wouldn't think about it twice! I would just have to convince my wife to take on my 925 :)
  • Same here lol
  • Right lol
  • I'm saving up now...dang! I'm saving up for my Xbox One! Well can't get the phone.. Guess I'll stick to my 925 for now..
  • There's another similarity. They're both behemoths.
  • This may be the BEST news I've heard this year from WPCentral. I've been on at&t paying $90+ a month, and I think this may just be the device I need to switch to T-Mobile, have my cancellation fee paid for, sell my 920, and get ready for WP8.1!! Snapdragon 800 + 3400 mAh + 6 inch 1080p + Qi Charging + 32 GB & SD expansion = Hallelujah!
  • + Data Sense and LTE w/unlimited 3G!
  • T-Mobile throttles to 60kbps. hardly3G.
  • No throttling on an unlimited plan with T-mobile.  So far I'm up to 16GB downloaded on my T-mobile plan this month...still at full speed.  Getting between 15-30mbps download speed in the NYC area.
  • Does it have the pic/group text issues that my unlocked 920 on t-mobile has, would be my main question.
  • I wish my 928 had LTE on T-Mobile. That would be awesome
  • Bought mine from Omegacell and using it on WIND Mobile in Canada.  Great upgrade to my 920, which I am also still using for my corporate line.  Don't think about it, just buy it!
  • hey, omegacell has a bunch of diffrent versions which one should i buy to make it work with wind?
  • You know, thry could just end all this exclusive crap, that way we wouldn't have this problem all the time.
  • This is actually a great deal, since an iPhone 5S with 32 GB is like $699. So this is def worth $620-640. I might wait to see if it ever goes below $600 tho...
  • Well tell you this , I'm in US and I have my Lumia 1520 with T-Mobile carrier ... Those are the good things about the unlocked phones :D
  • Guess this is a sign that wind is getting it. At least rogers users can now make use of the att version
  • If anyone is on the fence about this I highly recommend doing it. I bought mine two weeks ago and couldn't be happier. I get LTE on AT&T, wireless charging, and I have a 64GB SD on top of the 32GB inside. I loaded the dev preview onto it and have only had minor issues here and there.
  • It's a big phone (and I'm coming from a Note 3) but it's pretty awesome. Go play around with it at the store and see if you can handle the size. If so it really is the best media consump