GSM vs CDMA iPhones

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ronm99, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. ronm99 macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2012
    I am currently a Verizon customer, but I'm thinking about switching to TMobile. I've done their testdrive, and it has worked well for me. However, in case things go wrong, I will not be under contract with TMobile, so I'd like to option to go back to Verizon.

    My understanding is that CDMA phones are effectively a superset of the GSM phones. i.e. CDMA phones work on GSM (presumably since GSM is more common worldwide and this allows better roaming), but GSM phones cannot work over CDMA.

    Is that correct? Can a CDMA phone do everything a GSM phone can but not vice-versa?

    If so, I guess I'm better off buying a Verizon phone before switching, then terminating my contract and getting a TMobile SIM for my phone.
  2. Diseal3 macrumors 65816

    Jun 29, 2008
    Do as you said and get the Verizon iPhone in case you want or need to switch back from tmobile.
  3. ronm99 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2012

    The funny thing is that it is actually cheaper that way. Verizon subsidizes the phone by $450 and then charges a $350 early termination fee. So I'll get a phone compatible on both networks, and save $100 in the process :)
  4. inthecup macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2010
    AT&T contract free?

    I seen in the Apple store that only the TMobile iPhone 6 is for sale contract free .... does this mean you cannot buy a contract free iPhone 6 to be used on the AT&T network .... or just not on the launch date. Thanks:mad:
  5. ronm99 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2012
    I believe that you can ... you just need to be signed up for AT&T's service. When you try to buy the phone from Apple or AT&T's website, it will say that you are not eligible for a discount, and will charge you the full price and your contract will not change (i.e. if you had a year left on your contract previously, you will still have a year left).

    Or ... if you have no contract now and don't want a contract, I think if you buy using AT&T "Next", you will get the phone for free with the payments for the phone spread out over your next 20 or 24 phone bills. If you terminate the contract earlier, you simply need to pay off what you still owe for the phone (with no extra fees).

    Of course, AT&T still insists on locking their phones, so you won't be getting an unlocked phone. You can unlock it once it is fully paid for and you are no longer under contract.
  6. Breaking Good macrumors 65816

    Sep 28, 2012
    I would caution you to wait before doing this. We don't yet know all the versions Apple will maufacture. They might manufacture phones with specific LTE bands, or they might just manufacture a single model that can be used on all LTE bands.

    Further, while it has been stated on here many times that Verizon is prohibited from locking the LTE SIM portion of the phone, that doesn't mean they can lock the GSM SIM portion.

    Finally, even though the radios may be present in the phone, that doesn't necessarily mean that the firmware version in the phone will be compatible with T-mobile's network.

    Honestly, I think I'd go look to buy a Motorola G and use it for a few months on T-mobile to make sure you are happy with it.
  7. ROLLTIDE1 macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2012
    just order one from Verizon they will have them very soon just have to pay full retail price
  8. Breaking Good macrumors 65816

    Sep 28, 2012
    I would hold off until you can buy a true, unlocked phone before paying full price. Just because you pay full price doesn't mean the the phone is not locked to a carrier, in this case T-mobile.
  9. danyull macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2013
  10. ronm99 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2012
    Yes ... Apple has updated the LTE band info for the various phone models:

    You can see that T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T all have the same model of phone.

    I'm actually planning on buying a iPhone 6 on Verizon and then terminating my contract and switching it to T-Mobile.
  11. danyull macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2013
    So if they all have the same model number, will they all technically be unlocked within the US at least?
  12. ronm99 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2012
    Unlocking is a separate issue. AT&T locks their phones, but will unlock them if you finish your contract or if you pay the early termination fee. Verizon phones are all sold unlocked (I believe because of some agreement they have with the FCC). I also think that T-Mobile phones are sold unlocked.

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