Battery life GSM vs CDMA ?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Mikesus, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Mikesus macrumors 6502

    Apr 7, 2011
    Anyone else seeing this?

    I just switched off Sprint and I am finding that the battery life on GSM (ATT) is night and day difference. (Maybe due to signal strength?)

    On Sprint my wife and I could barely get a day on our iPhone 4s

    On ATT, I am currently at 80% battery with 1.5hrs usage and 16hrs of standby.

    Anyone else switch and seeing this?
  2. Tarzanman macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    Signal strength is the most likely culprit. Even though AT&T was teh suck in terms of connectivity as little as 1.5 years ago (and the iPhone isn't exactly a top-of-the-line radio communcation device), they have seriously upped their game.

    Even if your service is spotty or slow with AT&T, there is a high probability that you have a good signal with the towers themselves (which means that your phone doesn't have to give as much juice to the transmitter).

    My gf has a phone similar to mine on Sprint (I am on T-mobile) and her battery life is noticeably worse.... but Sprint is the worst nationwide carrier (in terms of coverage) of the big 4 here in Atlanta.
  3. Jare macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2010
    Both phones have exactly the same battery and OS. The only difference is which signal the antennae is receiving.

    As stated above, the only thing that would effect battery life would be your signal strength.
  4. pilot1226 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 18, 2010
    Maybe you had a bad Sprint phone battery? I'm typically between 4 and 5 bars and I can usually get away with 36 hours with typical use.

    I've forgotten to charge mine at night and it made it through a shift at work with just 20 minutes on the car charger each way.
  5. Mikesus thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 7, 2011
    On both phones? And both would get 12hrs or so.

    I suspect that the GSM side handles low signal better than CDMA.
  6. jschu22 macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2008
    You are correct about the battery and OS, but GSM radios are known to consume less power than CDMA. This is why there is a difference in battery life.
  7. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    With light usage I get 1.5 to 2+ days on Verizon's CDMA network because I usually get great signal.

    At a good friend of mine house I get terrible reception and I can only get about 4 - 7 hours out of it.

    Technology may make a difference but I believe signal strength makes a bigger difference.
  8. onthecouchagain macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    I'm curious, between ATT and Verizon, whose signal penetrates buildings better?
  9. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I wouldn't think there is too much of a difference however Verizon has far superior coverage so I think you'd be more likely to have better luck with Verizon. I'm in a basement right now with great signal strength.



    -68 dbm signal!!!!


    Can't beat that.
  10. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Depends on far more than just which carrier. It's not as black-and-white as you're making it out to be.
  11. kdarling, Feb 9, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012

    kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 46 years ago
    That's true when comparing 2G voice and data.

    It's been a bit out of date ever since GSM added a WCDMA radio for 3G voice and data.

    Signal strength is a major factor, as are the number of users on a cell and the environment.

    Depends on the frequencies in use. Lower = better penetration.

    For a long time Verizon had the advantage in places like NYC, because they were in the 850 MHz band whereas AT&T was up in the 1900 MHz band for everything.

    That is why some of those major city speed and reliability survey charts were misleading, because for ATT they usually were snapped with the user being out in the open (the only place to get a good signal), whereas the Verizon speeds included users inside buildings, under bridges or even in elevators.

    However, starting about two years ago AT&T began deploying 3G in the 850 band in major cities. That made the number of users within buildings jump by 20%, which ironically led to a slowdown that AT&T had to apologize for.

    Since then they've improved by adding more cell sites and backhaul.
  12. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    CDMA radio does drain more than the GSM does. That said, your biggest variant would be your signal strength.
  13. Tarzanman macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    If you know as much about UMTS as you're implying, then you'll know that there isn't an answer to that question without establishing a dozen other parameters first.

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