Thursday, September 13, 2012

Verizon and Sprint LTE iPhone 5s still cannot surf and make voice calls simultaneously

CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint's cannot handle voice and data at the same time. It's a limitation of the technology. Now that the iPhone 5 will support LTE on those networks, that's no longer the case, right? Wrong.

Apple has made a conscious design decision to not allow simultaneous voice and data calls on the iPhone on LTE networks that sit in parallel to a CDMA carrier's 3G network. The only way to do both is to be on wi-fi. Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney said it was Apple’s "call" (pun intended):

“The iPhone 5 is designed to allow customers to make voice calls on the Verizon Wireless network and surf the Web on Wi-Fi. It was an Apple decision.”

An Apple spokeswoman, Natalie Kerris, said: “iPhone 5 supports simultaneous voice and data on GSM-based 3G and LTE networks. It is not yet possible to do simultaneous voice and data on networks that use CDMA for voice and LTE for data in a single radio design.”

Since someone using Samsung's Galaxy S III, an Android LTE superphone can do so, why can't the iPhone 5? It's because, as we've discussed before, LTE currently can't handle voice transmissions.

{MetroPCS is actually leading the pack in terms of Voice-over-LTE or VoLTE services.)

When you place a phone call on a 4G LTE smartphone, it’s actually using whatever the 3G service is on the device. So, if you are using an AT&T iPhone 5, it will use AT&T’s older GSM network, which can already handle both voice and data simultaneously. However, if you place a phone call on a Verizon or Sprint iPhone 5, it will instead use their older CDMA networks, which, as we noted, are incapable of simultaneously supporting both voice and data calls.

You might say, "So?" The Galaxy S III on both networks can do both just fine, as long as the devices are in an area with LTE service. Why can't the iPhone 5?

It's because Samsung added an extra antenna which allows it data to flow from the 4G LTE network at the same time that it’s using another antenna for voice.

Why didn't Apple do the same? It's because the iPhone, which has been criticized previously for signal strength (remember the iPhone 4?) already has two antennas in an effort to improve reception. Apple would have had to add a third antenna solely for Verizon and Sprint in order to give their devices the ability to do simultaneous data and calls,

Apple simplified its design in terms of the global market by omitting that third antenna. However, while the LTE iPhone 5 means that one major advantage that AT&T has had - speed - is no longer an advantage, AT&T's iPhone still the edge over both Verizon and Sprint.

No comments: