I’d like to give an update to yesterday’s post on which network to choose when buying an iPhone 5. One of the things that I mentioned was how Verizon’s network will now support simultaneous voice & data. Turns out that’s not 100% true.
An Apple spokeswoman named Natalie Kerris said the following according to the New York Times:
“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.”
Other Verizon 4G LTE devices are able to deal with this by adding a second antenna – one to handle the voice, and one to handle the data. Except it’s a bit more complicated with the iPhone 5 in that they too use two antennas, but they do so to simply improve the signal quality. Those two antennas use the same technology at the same time meaning it can’t split between LTE and CDMA bands.
The Verge was a quick to report that the iPhone 5 won’t support simultaneous voice and data on Verizon or Sprint based on the following quote from a Verizon spokesperson:
“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.”
But it’s still not clear whether or not the iPhone 5 is compatible with a possible future implementation of voice calls.
The Voice Over LTE elephant in the room
One possibility is that the iPhone 5 will support Voice Over LTE in the future. Right now it doesn’t seem to be a capability but considering that the radio is the same, it’s possible that it could be implemented via a software update (this statement is based on my current knowledge of cellular radios). Verizon began testing VoLTE capabilities late last year and are reported to be pushing the technology in 2013.
When VoLTE becomes a capability of the Verizon network, theoretically the iPhone 5 will have the ability to support simultaneous voice & data while connected to an LTE network. However, Apple hasn’t made any statement about the above yet.
I, for one, am hopeful. I have a strong hatred for all that AT&T has done lately and am very keen on going to a different network. However, it appears that the decision may be a bit tougher, at least in the short-term.