Apple iPhone 5 on Verizon and Sprint Won’t Juggle Calls and Data

September 14, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Months before the iPhone 5 was launched, we started speculating and gushing about it, and now even after two days since its release we are still talking about it. The discussions would go on for some more time as the gadget has touched a chord among the masses with its price and a compatibility issue.

However, the new iPhone is incapable of handling voice and data simultaneously on 4G LTE, despite the support for LTE all over the world. This compatibility issue, especially on Sprint and Verizon, is due to the lack of an antenna.

Due to this hardware handicap, users on Sprint and Verizon’s networks would need Wi-Fi connection inside their apps to rein in data when they make a voice call. This is entirely in contrast to the other devices in Verizon’s line-up; all of them support simultaneous voice and data on LTE.

The only network provider who isn’t troubled by this is AT&T. Ever since the iPhone 3GS was released, iPhones on AT&T have supported simultaneous voice and data due to the GSM network it uses.

AT&T has confirmed that iPhone 5 on its network supports this feature irrespective of HSPA+ or LTE, although LTE speed is not available while on call. This compatibility difference on different networks was not mentioned by Apple during the device’s launch.

Since the different versions of iPhone 5 utilize different LTE bands, it would be a trifle hard for users to choose between the networks they want. Apparently, it was Apple’s decision all the way.

The company wanted to design a phone that would allow its customers to make voice calls, while simultaneously engage in internet activity. Devices like Sprint’s Galaxy Nexus 4G and Droid Razr M on Verizon provide the same capability on 4G LTE.

But these devices sport an extra antenna which enables them to rope in data from 4G LTE network, while the original antenna takes care of the voice call. Apple’s new iPhone lacks the extra appendage.

The 4G LTE technology is relatively new and is not yet sufficiently equipped to handle voice transmissions. So when a device is on voice call, it tracks back to the carrier’s older CDMA network.

That’s where AT&T wins over Verizon and Sprint. Ma Bell’s older networks support both voice and data simultaneously while the other two doesn’t.

Apple, reportedly, didn’t add the extra antenna because the iPhone 5 already sports two antennas for improved reception. With two antennas in its casing, the iPhone 5 works on several carriers, so Apple didn’t find the need to make another version for Sprint and Verizon.

Besides, 4G LTE is still growing and with time, maybe, a third antenna wouldn’t be necessary. But for now, it’s the customers who would find themselves in a dilemma; which network to choose from?

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