Earlier this week, the third generation Apple Watch -- the Series 3 -- was announced alongside the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. While the Apple Watch Series 3 looks pretty much like its predecessors from the outside, customers now have the choice to add LTE connectivity with a starting price of $399.
However, we're learning that at least one U.S. wireless carrier is instituting what looks to be a money grab from customers -- and it's not that carrier that you might expect. MacRumors first noticed earlier this morning that T-Mobile will throttle the Apple Watch Series 3 to 3G speeds, capping out at 512kb/s on its network. The language that describes this limitation was first noticed on the preorder page for the device.
All U.S. wireless carriers (including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint) charge the same $10 per month to add an Apple Watch Series 3 to your cellular plan. However, only T-Mobile seems to have implemented an artificial limit on download speeds.
T-Mobile will allow you to unlock the full LTE data speeds that the Apple Watch Series 3 is capable of, but it will cost you. “Customers can do everything they want to do with the watch at 512kbps,” said T-Mobile in an emailed statement to The Verge. “If customers feel they need high-speed data, they can choose high-speed data with paired DIGITS for $20 with auto-pay.”
So, in other words, you're looking at double the price if you want to access the download speeds that the smartwatch was designed for. And if you don't sign up for autopay, you'll actually pay $25 total per month to operate your Apple Watch Series 3 on T-Mobile's network at LTE speeds. Bummer!
It seems quite odd that T-Mobile would impose this restriction, especially considering that the Apple Watch Series 3 and its data consumption prowess is probably minuscule compared to smartphones like an iPhone X or a Galaxy Note 8. In addition, the third-place wireless carrier was just bragging about how fast its download speeds are compared to the competition. Is T-Mobile really worried that a few smartwatches are going to somehow cripple its network?