At&T iPhone is less capable

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by RedCroissant, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    In another thread, I said that I would like to see Apple make one version of the iPhone that is truly a world phone. In the process of preparing my responses to other posters, I contacted AppleCare and was told that there are actually 2 versions of the iPhone 4S; the retail unlocked version/Verizon version, and the AT&T version.

    The problem with having these two versions is that the AT&T phone is not truly a world phone and is only compatible with GSM networks, while the Verizon and retail unlocked version does have both the CDMA and GSM capability; making it the actual version of the phone that should be considered a world phone.

    The question is, is this less capable version simply manufacture to maintain a similar form of exclusivity with AT&T, albeit not a great attempt since more and more carriers are adopting the iPhone?
  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    Every iPhone 4S that comes out of Foxconn's factories has the exact same hardware inside allowing them to do the exact same things. An AT&T 4S can do CDMA, if you can get Verizon to add that iPhone's numbers to its database of allowed devices.
  3. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Actually, I need to fix my post since since I was slightly incorrect....

    1. The retail unlocked version will only work on GSM networks..(This is stated on their website)
    2. The AT&T version will only work on GSM networks.

    I know a lot of people think that the phones are all the same, but I spoke with an AppleCare rep that specifically told me that there were two different versions of the phone.
  4. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    This is the same thing. All iPhone 4S' are the exact same hardware with the exact same configuration. The AT&T iPhone 4S can and does work on CDMA networks, pending you get it added to the network's operator's list of allowed phones. AppleCare representitives are known to not be very well informed and often give out incorrect, outdated, or ill-advised information. This is an example of doing so. This is normally caused by the script Apple has them reading.
  5. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Wheres the problem though? If the device was assigned to GSM yes that's all you can use. So you can use the phone everywhere that has GSM (everywhere) assuming its internationally unlocked. If you have a CDMA 4S you can use it everywhere that offers GSM networks (everywhere) assuming its internationally unlocked.

    End result is the same, same coverage area and everything. The fact remains you can't use an ATT iphone on Verizon here in the states, and you can't use a Verizon iPhone on ATT.

    There's no threads about this because its a non issue.


    From my reading I've found I haven't found this to be the case. The simless cdma device is registered to the carrier, whereas with GSM the sim card is registered to the carrier. There are no cdma cards to make a GSM registered device work on a foreign network.

    This is just my understanding of it though so I may be mistaken. Regardless who cares? The world works on GSM so who cares if the device is registered to one cdma network or not.
  6. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    The Apple care rep misinformed you.

    Regardless, I don't view CDMA capabilities to be a good thing. You would essentially have to roam on CDMA where available. You won't be able to activate, say a Verizon iPhone to work specifically with an overseas CDMA carrier. You will be forced to pay the exorbitant prices that VZW charges for roaming.
  7. Scrub175 macrumors 6502


    Apr 25, 2012
    Port St Lucie FL
    AT&T iPhone can utilize internet during an active phone call, my verizon 4S can't. Thats a big plus for AT&T. Verizon 4G phone will allow simultaneous surf and talk though.
  8. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Verizon's pretty relaxed when it comes to unlocking for GSM international use.


    Yep, and att version can use hpsa+ since their network has it. I have a Verizon 4S but I rather have an ATT 4S. My employer pays for it so I can't complain too much.
  9. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Right, I am talking about wanting to use CDMA internationally. You won't be able to outside of paying Verizon roaming fees.
  10. al256 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2001
    The problem isn't with the phone. The problem is with the carriers and personally, I think the U.S government should get involved.

    Though this analogy isn't fool-proof, it's like having a car that can run on diesel and gasoline. Only, that function is disabled by the gas stations in the United States. You could go to Canada with your diesel vehicle and *magically* put in gasoline but as soon as you get back to the states you're forced to run on diesel because no station is allowed to supply you with gasoline.

    The carriers' ability to restrict your options with a fully purchased, contract-free phone is unacceptable. Somehow they were able to convince Apple that a Sprint phone is a Sprint phone and a Verizon phone is a Verizon Phone even though all 4S's come as a tabula rasa from the factory.
  11. sulpfiction macrumors 68030


    Aug 16, 2011
    Philadelphia Area
    The phones are EXACTLY the same. And each is a world phone to be used on either GSM or CDMA..aka everywhere. An AT&T phone is not less capable.

    And just on a side note...I wouldn't take everything an apple cust service rep says as fact.
  12. PNutts macrumors 601


    Jul 24, 2008
    Pacific Northwest, US
    Then why start a new thread?

    Different versions don't necessarily mean different hardware.
  13. Xenomorph macrumors 65816


    Aug 6, 2008
    St. Louis

    The OP is a bit misinformed. ALL iPhones have the same GSM & CDMA hardware.

    On AT&T's network, the iPhone can download faster than on any other network (up to 14.4 Mbps on AT&T, 7.2 Mbps on Verizon) *AND* you can talk & download at the same time on AT&T (not on Verizon).

    The AT&T iPhone seems more capable to me!
  14. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    Verizon's CDMA EVDO-A network has a max downlink of 3.1Mbps and a real world downlink speed of 2.8Mbps.
  15. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Then why does Apple's website info on the retail unlocked version state "The unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon and Sprint."?

    Why would Apple manufacture a retail unlocked version to only work with GSM?
  16. eastercat macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    You really don't seem to understand how cdma works.:rolleyes: Every phone apple makes has the gsm and cdma radios. Any restriction is carrier based.
    The reason the unlocked phone won't work on cdma networks is the fault of the cdma providers. They require you to buy a phone from them and won't accept a phone not in their database. Also, if you try to use your verizon phone on sprint, you're out of luck. It's one of the reasons I hate cdma and wouldn't go with one of their providers.
    Maybe you should ask verizon what's so wrong with their phones that it won't work on the sprint network and vice versa.

    At least gsm gives you the option of being able to bring in your phone without buying from the provider. I figure it's why europe went with gsm instead of the proprietary cdma.
  17. Tarzanman macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    As far as I know, all iphone 4s have the same HARDWARE. Same chips, same display, same circuit boards, same radio RX/TX.

    The difference is the firmware. Verizon phone carry radio firmware to operate on their network with the option of unlocking for UMTS service (only internationally, Verizon restricts it from AT&T/T-mobile USA)

    Sprint iphones carry their own radio firmware and AT&T iphones have their own radio firmware.

    If it were possible to flash different firmware to the phone (as you can with Android), and make the corresponding software adjustments then you would be able to rig a Verizon iPhone to run on AT&T.

    This isn't possible because Apple does not want anyone messing with their artificial market barriers.
  18. fireshot91 macrumors 601


    Jul 31, 2008
    Northern VA
    I thought that the VZW 4S had a little difference in the placement of the volume buttons/vibrate switch? That's why at release some cases were found to not work with both models?

    I could be mistaken, however....
  19. Givmeabrek macrumors 68040


    Apr 20, 2009
    That was the older iPhone 4. The 4s is the same.
  20. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    This was true with the iPhone 4. AT&T version had different volume placement the the Verizon iPhone 4. All the 4S's have the same placement of the volume buttons.

    I think it was Verizon that kept the same placement between the 4 and 4S. Where att's moved. I could have that reversed though.
  21. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    That's not true at all. If that WERE the case, then you wouldn't be to use an unlocked iPhone on ANY carrier, since technically no carrier "owns" the phone and has put their firmware on it.

    A carrier profile is added to the phone upon activation. If you activate your iPhone with Sprint, Sprint pushes their carrier profile to it. If AT&T, then AT&T pushes theirs; if Verizon, then Verizon pushes theirs to your phone... you get the idea. The key here is that the carrier must have the phone's IMEI/MEID in their database as active on their system.

    The problem is that neither Sprint nor Verizon will add the IMEI/MEID of any phone they haven't subsidized. This is true even of the "born CDMA" iPhones... if you bring a Verizon-activated and Verizon-unlocked iPhone to Sprint, Sprint won't let you use it, even though it's already been shown and proven to work on a CDMA network.

    Why? Because they want you to buy one of theirs, so they can lock you in a contract and give you a locked-down iPhone that won't work on any other North American carrier... even though the hardware and the software are perfectly capable of doing it if Sprint chooses it.

    So again, it's not a hardware issue. It really isn't even a software problem. It's a carrier control issue.
  22. Satnam1989, Jul 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012

    Satnam1989 macrumors 65816

    Nov 16, 2011
    Umm I just went into the "Carrier Bundles" folder on my Factory Unlocked iPhone 4S Running on Bell(Virgin) Network in Canada currently, it has the "Sprint_OTA_US.bundle" and "Verizon_OTA_US.bundle".....Its not that the Carrier pushes their carrier profile to the iPhone, they are included and come with the iPhone 4S along with 50+ other carrier bundles because they are the official iPhone carriers(Actually all the Official iPhone Carrier bundles COME WITH EACH AND EVERY IPHONE despite being useless on the iPhone's that are locked to greedy carriers).....I have highlighted the key point that is truly/really the actual issue why we cannot use the iPhone 4S Factory unlocked from apple store or Unlocked through AT&T on a Sprint/Verizon Network.

    One thing I do wonder is if you can use a iPhone 4S on MetroPCS....or other carriers that do accept "Flashed" CDMA phones.....since they do allow adding of any IMEI/MEID...I wonder if one can activate the CDMA radio and perhaps use the iPhone 4S on Boost Mobile?
  23. RedCroissant thread starter Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    I just have to say it again...

    Not only did I already call and speak to an Apple rep before posting this thread, I spoke to Verizon, At&T, and even called Apple again to confirm.

    Anyone here should feel free to call and hear it for themselves if they want. I have now been told numerous times that there are in fact different versions of the iPhone 4S; not just the iPhone 4. The retail unlocked and AT&T iPhone 4S are the same version and are not compatible with CDMA networks (as is stated on their website.)

    So if you truly want the iPhone version that is more capable as far as hardware is concerned to be able to change carriers on both CDMA an GSM networks, the better buy is the Verizon version.
  24. ValerieDurden macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2010
    Philadelphia, PA, USA
    Every iPhone 4S is the same regardless of what you're being told, AT&T Sprint and Verizon just has their 4S locked to their specific networks.
  25. MisterDisney macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2010
    I'll try to remember that my iPhone is "less capable" the next time I'm using voice and data at the same time.

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