No Simultaneous Talk And Surf On The Verizon And Sprint iPhone 5 [Update: Apple Explains Why]

No Simultaneous Talk And Surf On The Verizon And Sprint iPhone 5 [Update: Apple Explains Why]

Earlier today we told you that the Verizon iPhone 5 was the best choice to buy, but this news may change your mind. The Verizon and Sprint (CDMA) iPhone 5 will not be able to talk and surf the web at the same time, while the AT&T (GSM) iPhone 5 will. It’s been that way since the iPhone 4 debuted on Verizon back in 2010, but nothing has been officially said about the iPhone 5’s ability to talk and surf until now.

Verizon has confirmed that you won’t be able to use 3G or 4G LTE data while talking on the iPhone 5. Due to the fact that Verizon and Sprint both run on the CDMA network standard, this limitation assumedly extends to the iPhone 5 on Sprint as well.

The Verge got a statement from Verizon:

The iPhone 5 was designed to allow customers to place a voice call on the Verizon Wireless network, while letting customers access the Internet over the WiFi.

The Verizon iPhone 5 will allow for simultaneous data and voice when connected to a WiFi network, but not on Verizon’s 3G or LTE bands.

According to AT&T:

AT&T customers can talk and surf simultaneously on the new iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5 won’t be able to use LTE data speeds alongside voice, but at least customers will be able to use AT&T’s current HSPA+ network.

Certain LTE Android smartphones on Verizon can do simultaneous talk and surf, so this looks to be the result of the baseband hardware Apple chose to put in the iPhone 5.

Update: The New York Times spoke to Apple about why the iPhone 5 can’t do simultaneous talk and surf on CDMA:

An Apple spokeswoman, Natalie Kerris, put it this way: “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.”

Essentially, Apple would have to put a third antenna in the CDMA iPhone just for this feature, and that’s just not feasible for mass production. LTE will also eventually support simultaneous talk and surf in a single radio. Apple is betting on the future rather than accommodating for the present.

  • Jonathan Ober

    This limitation is key for me and is why I am still not a switcher. ATT simultaneous talk and data is big for me.

  • araxara

    The free Verizon Hotspot becomes less desirable, if you can’t receive phone calls while using it.

  • RaptorOO7

    This is a HUGE failure on Apple’s part. Android phones do not suffer this issue since they have designed their phones around LTE/EVDO & CDMA/EVDO dual radio configurations. So why bother touting HD Voice when no carrier in the US offers it.

    Also with AT&T you can’t do Voice and Data over LTE, as noted the iP5 will step down to HSDPA which is not 4G at all to make that call happen.

    Still for me Verizon is the right choice given their LTE coverage makes AT&T look like they are in the kiddie pool and not the big olympic pool.

    I am still pre-ordering my iP5 on Verizon, in the 16+ years I have used them rarely have I ever had an emergency where I needed to do voice and data so I haven’t experienced it.

  • Rob Klaproth

    I’m still going with Verizon. Who cares if they have simultaneous voice and data if their network sucks.

  • ddevito

    Ha Ha what a joke. Folks there’s plenty of room on the Android train. Seriously Apple what were you thinking?!

  • ddevito

    I’m still going with Verizon. Who cares if they have simultaneous voice and data if their network sucks.

    Indeed. AT&T’s LTE doesn’t even compare with the blazing fast LTE speeds I get on Verizon.

  • rockarollr

    Ermahgerd! erPhern Ferv! :D

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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