iPhone 7 Models From AT&T and T-Mobile Do Not Support CDMA Networks

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Choosing which iPhone model to purchase this year should be more carefully considered, as both AT&T and T-Mobile models of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus do not support CDMA networks such as Verizon and Sprint in the United States. Apple confirmed the matter in fine print in the iPhone 7 tech specs and on its LTE page.


    A customer that purchases an iPhone 7 from Apple's website and selects AT&T as their carrier, for example, would be unable to later use the smartphone on Verizon, Sprint, or any other CDMA network, even if the device is unlocked. By comparison, all iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models worked on both GSM and CDMA networks.

    A customer that purchases an iPhone 7 from Apple's website and selects Verizon as their carrier, on the other hand, would also be able to use the smartphone on AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or any other GSM or CDMA network.

    It was previously reported that Apple would switch to Intel modems for select iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models, including AT&T models, and Intel modems do not support the CDMA standard in the United States. That is likely the reason why AT&T and T-Mobile models are limited to GSM networks.

    Only Verizon and Sprint models support both GSM and CDMA networks

    The same report said Qualcomm would supply modems for the remaining iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus units, including Verizon and Chinese models, and this appears to be the case. Qualcomm modems support both the GSM and CDMA standard, which explains why the iPhone 7 from Verizon and Sprint will work on all carriers.

    Qualcomm, which holds patents for WCDMA and CDMA2000 standards, is the main CDMA modem supplier in the United States. The company developed the first CDMA-based cellular base station in 1990, and since then it has licensed its technology to companies like Apple in return for royalty payments.

    Until this year, Qualcomm was Apple's exclusive supplier of modems for LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, which explains why the iPhone 6s and previous generations supported both GSM and CDMA networks regardless of carrier. But with Intel entering the mix, choosing which iPhone to purchase is now more meaningful.

    All iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models supported both GSM and CDMA networks

    The lack of CDMA support in iPhones with Intel modems may be short lived, fortunately, as Intel acquired CDMA assets from VIA Telecom in 2015. It is believed that this acquisition could pave the way for Intel to release its first LTE modem with both GSM and CDMA support as early as 2017 or 2018.

    Ultimately, the most obvious choice should be to purchase a Verizon or Sprint model, even if you are an AT&T or T-Mobile customer, especially when considering resale value. However, some customers may have difficulty purchasing from another carrier, depending on their current status with their existing carrier.

    Apple should also release an unlocked SIM-free model in the U.S., likely based on the Verizon/Sprint model, in a few weeks based on past launches.

    Article Link: iPhone 7 Models From AT&T and T-Mobile Do Not Support CDMA Networks
  2. garirry macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2013
    Canada is my city
    CDMA should no longer exist. It's literally one of the oldest technologies ever, yet companies like Verizon still use them? So goddamn evil.
  3. randymac09 macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2014
    Thanks, Macrumors! I was curious which phone to get because I'm going to be switching from Verizon to AT&T after I receive this phone. I appreciate the info.
  4. RedOrchestra Suspended

    Aug 13, 2012
    Glad we don't have this "trickery" in Canada - here, one size fits all.
  5. Mlrollin91 macrumors G5


    Nov 20, 2008
    Ventura County
    Well interesting. I wonder if Apple will sell me a Verizon phone for AT&T via IUP.
  6. davenlm macrumors newbie


    Jun 23, 2016
    Does anyone knows if the ATT or T-mobile will be unlocked? if you use it in another carrier from other country or something like that?
  7. MacBird macrumors 6502a

    Apr 1, 2010
    Will the unlocked phones that Apple sells through the annual upgrade program support both standards?
  8. BrandonZ macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2008
    thats what Im wondering
  9. DotCom2 macrumors 68040

    Feb 22, 2009
    I'm just gonna go ahead and get the ATT model and using the 12 month trade in program, I'll just trade it in then. No problem!
  10. Mlrollin91 macrumors G5


    Nov 20, 2008
    Ventura County
    The phone you get for the IUP is for the carrier you are currently on. I am on AT&T, but Im wondering if they will sell me the Verizon one. If you can make a case for needed CDMA that is.
  11. ssl0408 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2013
    New York
    This is such crap. Just release one damn phone for all the carriers and stop going back and forth on it.
  12. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    Orbiting a G-type Main Sequence Star
    Weren't VZW and/or Sprint working on converting their networks over to GSM? I thought I remember something like that once before.
  13. TheRealTVGuy macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2010
    Orlando, FL
    Literally just went through this while switching to Verizon 3 hours ago. Although, my wife's AT&T (yes it's capitalized, because that's how it was in the 80s and still should be) iPhone 6s wouldn't register on the Verizon network, contrary to what this article says.
  14. KdParker macrumors 601


    Oct 1, 2010
    This definately blows if you want to move carriers and not upgrade all your phones.
  15. 1paine1 macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2015
    CDMA is the reason you have good coverage in rural areas and inside buildings. Old yes, outdated only in Europe! WTF Apple?
  16. Return Zero macrumors 6502a

    Return Zero

    Oct 2, 2013
    I wonder if this affects battery life at all. After that TSMC/Samsung debacle, I'm sure there will be lots of people out there doing unscientific tests and claiming that the intel modem is more efficient, giving the GSM-only models a few more minutes of usage. :confused:
  17. Fall Under Cerulean Kites macrumors 6502

    Fall Under Cerulean Kites

    May 12, 2016
    Why are these carrier-locked in the first place? There are no longer subsidies that require this. Is it simply the SIM?

    If I do purchase a phone locked to my currrent carrier, can I take my SIM out of my iPhone 6 and insert it into my iPhone 7 without notifying the carrier?
  18. carltabet macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2007
    It's usually the T-mobile model that is Unlocked and works with international carriers.

    It comes with a T-mobile SIM but you can just throw it away.

    My iPhone 6s T-mobile works fine in Lebanon with a local SIM.
  19. lamanzana macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2014
    Agreed, the obvious choice should be the Verizon or Sprint model so it could be used in any CDMA/GSM network, IF those Verizon or Sprint models are unlocked. Do you know if those come unlocked? i.e. I buy the Verizon or Sprint model and right away in put my T-Mobile chip, will it work?
  20. snowboarder macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2007
    Can anyone explain if I can take either model to Europe and use it?
    I was planning to get a T-Mobile unlocked model and use it in Europe, some one told me Verizon and Sprint
    might not have a SIM at all... and they are not unlocked.
  21. WeemanWise macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2009
    Well that seems like a step backwards, they should have just not used Intel yet.

    They need to just release one model that has everything for all regions. No more of this carrier/region specific capabilities or features. Just one phone to rule them all.
  22. lamanzana macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2014
    In the Apple page says it is Unlocked, but comes with a T-Mobile chip. It shows that in the details shown in the phone once you select T-Mobile, during the purchase (pre-order for now) steps.
  23. runbuh macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2008
    If you get the Verizon model, does it support the "450Mbit LTE" being promoted with the iPhone 7?
  24. twocents macrumors regular


    Mar 31, 2016
    California, USA
    Beyond the Intel switch, Would love to see the day that Apple comes out with an unremovable and un-lockable Apple SIM for iPhone. Carriers are driving me nuts and this would show them their place
  25. doboy macrumors 68000

    Jul 6, 2007
    This is good to know, but then again I always buy Verizon iPhones and use it on T-Mo.

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