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. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    It depends. As a VAR, BB will likely - but not always - place a Pending Order on an account if that account is used to buy the VZW-compatible handset, and one will need a VZW nano-SIM to activate the handset. The iPhone will ship as not activated, sealed in its original packaging. I buy VZW iPhones from BB solely to extend my UL data using the latest BB loophole (the latest version is buy online and flip and destroy the toxic SIM, which I did just a few weeks ago with a 6S - always not-activated iPhones ship). Sometimes I get POs and sometimes I don't - the latest purchase did not result in a PO and I sold it on CL with the caveat I would open the still-sealed box and destroy the SIM; a VZW customer agreed, and activated the 6S with his SIM.

    I do use some of those VZW iPhones on ATTWS, but they're always activated with a VZW SIM first...
  2. nfields1, Sep 18, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016

    nfields1 macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2013
    So, is the Intel modem better or faster than the Qualcomm modem? I don't quite understand why they would contract out to two different manufacturers if qualcomm is able to provide a single modem that is compatible with both standards.
  3. chatin macrumors 6502a


    May 27, 2005

    My new Intel modem equipped iPhone 7 is displaying a truer and faster signal strength than the old Qualcomm. I noticed how fast the activation was - from box to first call was 45 seconds.
  4. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Jul 25, 2011
    I've concluded the Verizon activation issue is limited to iPhones purchased from Apple on a Verizon account, or those that were reserved for in-store pickup on launch day. In regards to my previous post, don't think this should be an issue for too many others unless they are ordering on a Verizon iPhone from Apple using a friend's Verizon account. In which case, from what I've read, you can just enter '0000' and '00000' for the SSN/Billing Zip entry and it should automatically go thru.
  5. MisterAndrew macrumors 6502


    Sep 15, 2015
    Portland, Oregon
    I previously posted that a Verizon store associate told me they will not activate an iPhone 7 on prepaid. Perhaps they are not willing to do it in store, but you can do it online. I just entered in an IMEI for a Verizon device-only iPhone 7 purchased from the Apple store on their page and I'm able to select a prepaid plan.

  6. macmai, Sep 19, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016

    macmai macrumors newbie


    Jul 13, 2010
    Ok I'm gonna report back here.

    Background: ATT/iPhone user since 3G. Pre-ordered a Verizon variant iPhone 7 Plus (Model A1661) 256G Jet Black full price unlocked from Apple Store website on 9/9 12:05am PT, confirmation email time marked 12:13am PT. Originally ships 1-2 week and delivers 9/26-10/3. Received today 9/19 1:31pm PT. After a quick check there's no hissing, no screen color tint, no overheat, and cosmetically perfect. The only thing needs to do is to activate it. Here are the methods I tried in sequence:

    1. Simply swapped the VZW with my ATT SIM before power it on - saw the dots/LTE but no carrier. Got stuck on "Activation" page (see attachment, the VZW phone number is linked to this iPhone). The 00000 for zip and 0000 for SN didn't work.
    2. Called Apple (1800MYIPHONE). After explaining the issue the 1st CS said it's not normal situation and insisted I go to Verizon to get it unlocked. I asked for senior level and the 2nd CS told me that I have to use my friend's Verizon credential to unlock it with the sim shipped with the phone, and it should be done after plug the new iPhone to iTunes and get the iOS update. So I think the only useful information is the CS said the credential is only for activation procedure of this particular phone so my friend's sim card, service and everything won't got affected. The total time on this call is about 35 minutes.
    3. After I went back to office I borrowed a VZW sim and put it into the i7+, no dice. Still gives me the activation page. The 00000 for zip and 0000 for SN didn't work either. So I finally input my friend's credential with my coworker's VZW sim (without iTunes update, NOT using new sim came with i7+) and it got activated right away. Put my ATT sim in, works perfectly too. Then I put the new sim (came with i7+) into my unlocked 6+, and there's no carrier and can't make calls (tried and it says the call will be transferred to a Verizon CS and I just hung up) - so I guess I won't get charged the $20 activation fee from VZW and my friend shouldn't got affected. I'll update here if it's not the case.
    Thank you all from this thread and hopefully this post can help some too. The chaos of this year's CDMA/GSM model difference issue is finally resolved for me. Now I'm going to enjoy my new phone :)

    Attached Files:

  7. tlkudo macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2016
    Thanks for posting how things went for you. Based on my own experience, and what I've read since Friday I'm more and more convinced that this 'Activation' page is primarily a device activation to prevent scalping. It also has a side benefit of being able to activate a new SIM card in place of an old one to generally make the upgrade process smoother for 90% of the people out there. I say side benefit, because if this were truly the only or main purpose, Apple would provide a simple way to bypass the whole thing on the device itself by tapping 'This isn't my phone number' and letting you into the iPhone anyway.

    I suspect that, similar to the carrier account wall when ordering the phone this 'device activation' part is primarily on Apple's end, and very little actually occurs on the wireless carrier's end. I have two more 7s coming, the next one should be here Wednesday based on the tracking info (although it seems to have been stuck in China for the last 3 days...) For this phone I intend to install my AT&T SIM card and use my AT&T data connection to provide the same VZW account info that I used to order the phone. We'll see. I also wouldn't be surprised if no SIM card installed, WiFi for data would allow you to activate the device, as long as you have the VZW account info provided at time of purchase.

    I also suspect that the only time the carrier gets involved, other than to validate the provided account information is if you 'device active' with the new SIM installed that ships with the device. In that case only, then some magic happens on the carrier backend to activate the new SIM card as well and de-activate the old one.

    I'll post back how things go with the next phone later this week... In the meantime, if anyone manages to screw up their friend's wireless account please share how you did it so the rest of us won't make the same mistake ;)
  8. beq macrumors member

    Dec 13, 2011
    Thanks for all the useful reports.

    For those entering a friend's VZW account/line to purchase a phone outright from Apple, will that prevent the friend from also getting a new phone under that line?

    Anyone I know that may be on VZW are also upgrading, so I didn't even want to bother them. But still looking to get 5-6 of the 256GB Qualcomm iPhone 7+'s for my own family on AT&T :(
  9. nfields1 macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2013
    Thanks for the helpful report, Chatin, but can you be sure that these improvements are the result of the modem and not other improvments in the iPhone7 design, like the faster processor or more powerful antenna? I currently have AT&T, and may switch to T-Mobile at some point...probably wouldn't ever get Verizon or Sprint. I just want to make sure I get the most bang for my buck.
  10. ShortThug macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2006
    I couldn't get past the activation so I just restored my phone from a backup and it worked.
  11. tlkudo macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2016
    Yeah, you'd think apple would want to make it easy for someone looking to spend the cost of a decent used car on their cell phones ;)

    Yes, you are locked out of purchasing another phone for a period of time. However, it appears that after the first new 7 is device activated, then you are able to order another 7 for that line. I checked and would have been able to purchase another 7 under the VZW line that I used for my current 7 (which has been on AT&T since Friday ;) So this means that once your friends have their phones, you can use their account info to order more phones for yourself under your Apple store account.

    Option 2 would be starting a new account at a VZW store where they have all the phones on hand and purchase them outright. Then after you've got everything activated, swap SIM cards over to your AT&T lines, cancel the VZW service and keep the phones. If you do it within 14 days then there should be no charges other than the cost of the phones.

    Option 3 reserve the VZW phones at Apple for in store pickup. Not convenient if you end up having to make multiple trips or don't live near an Apple store (as is my case).

    Option 4 wait for a SIM free version of the 7 to hit the Apple store. This won't happen until Apple has caught up with all their orders and there is no wait to purchase. At least November if the current trend on the Jet Black model keeps up.

    Good luck!
  12. macmai macrumors newbie


    Jul 13, 2010
    If you are gonna pay full price there shouldn't be a problem. My friend ordered her iPhone from VZW few days after let me use her info. I think she ordered with some Verizon's upgrade plan (not full price) but since I paid in full for mine there's no affect to her line/account. Yesterday she even didn't notice a thing when I activated my new phone btw.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 20, 2016 ---
    I think it's a good guess. I didn't try using my ATT sim or no sim while input my friends credential since my coworker's sim was in the phone already at the moment. But I think your theory should be correct - those credential just like a temporary password (on Apple server) to prevent unauthorized people to activate/use the phone (since it's "unlocked" so Apple put a layer of protection on it), and nothing to do with VZW or any real wireless line "activation" in the terms we have in mind. So yeah any sim, no sim, as long as there's wifi/internet and the original phone#, zip, last 4 ssn as password, it will do the trick.

    btw confirmed that my friend didn't notice a thing when I activated my phone yesterday. Not sure if it's crucial but not use the new sim came with the new iPhone is a good practice.
  13. punkypj macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2012
    Just as an update, after the senior iOS advisor raised a ticket with the engineering dept (they don't work weekends though so had to wait until Monday) they resolved the activation issue.

    In my case, I didn't have to enter any of the 0000 that has been mentioned before in previous posts. Instead when I restarted the phone those Verizon activation pages never appeared at all, it just went straight through activation normally like on all previous unlocked iPhones I have purchased.

    Thanks for everyone's help on this :)
  14. metsjetsfan macrumors 65816

    Feb 2, 2011
    So it sounds like the intel model is inferior in everyway possible.

    Its slower in actual and theoritical speeds and its based on a 28nm process whereas the qcom is based on 14nm so it could suck more battery.

    Also it doesnt support new standards like 4x4 etc.
  15. tlkudo macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2016
    Another Update - My 2nd 7 Plus showed up this evening and more or less confirmed everything above. As expected, it activated no problem from the device using my AT&T SIM and AT&T data connection with the VZW account information that I used to order the phone in the first place. It did throw up an extra screen that I wasn't expecting though. After inputting the billing zip code and the last 4 of the VZW subscriber's SSN, it gave me an error screen that there was a problem and I'd need to call Verizon to resolve. The message said something like 'there was a problem with activation. Call Verizon customer support then tap NEXT once this has been completed'. Of course, I just tapped NEXT, the device activated and all was well ;)

    The included VZW SIM remains inactive and no issues with my friend's VZW line. It looks like the final verdict is 1) don't use the included SIM and 2) don't worry about Apple's 'Device Activation' steps.

    Thanks again to all who have posted their experiences. I think I speak for us all when I say that this thread has been a huge help for those of us who wish to vote with our wallets against an inferior version of a thousand dollar phone...
  16. nealh macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2010
    Wish I could find a place to actually purchase the Verizon version.
  17. gregnauman, Sep 25, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016

    gregnauman macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2010
    Yes you did say it will work on a VerizonLTE network but the LTE network is not the only radio a phone will have. I know you know this but that is not what this conversation is about. CLEARLY both iPhone 7's being sold DO NOT HAVE CDMA and GSM. LTE is another story. Don't mislead people by saying it will work on verizon's LTE network. The point in all this is SOME people want a phone that works on GSM, CDMA and LTE.

    Furthermore, LTE is MOSTLY used for DATA not voice. Eventually it will be done with VoLTE but that doesn't help customers now who want a phone that works on every network available for VOICE. GSM, CDMA. So my post at what apple said is correct. LTE shouldn't even be in the conversation about phones being able to be used on both networks.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 25, 2016 ---
    First lets look at the title of the Thread. IT WILL NOT SUPPORT CDMA NETWORKS. Nothing about LTE

    Yea I know what he is saying, but it is misleading for people who don't understand LTE vs GSM vs CDMA. If you are going to post about the differences in the phones lets just use apples statement and leave it at that.

    "The ATT and Tmobile phones will not work on sprint or verizons network." Unlocked or not.......
    After all it is called a PHONE. Who gives a crap if it can work on LTE networks if you can't make a phone call without VoLTE.

    Apple is taking the stance that the phone will not work on the other networks. PCMike is taking the stance, Yes it will.

    The answer is IT WILL NOT FULLY work on sprint or verizon. PERIOD. It does not have a CDMA radio.....
    --- Post Merged, Sep 25, 2016 ---
    --- Post Merged, Sep 25, 2016 ---
  18. terroralpha macrumors newbie

    Sep 16, 2012
    no. they were not. GSM is an ancient technology, even older than CDMA. What Verizon (and eventually Sprint) decided to do was use the same 4G technology as everyone else, which is LTE. The core network will remain CDMA for some years to come. at least until 2019 when their LTE network will become robust enough to handle all the voice and SMS traffic nationwide, and not just the data network.

    the evolution of wireless technologies went something like this


    CDMA > EV-DO > WiMAX

    there was some half measures thrown in along the way, like HSPA+, but those aren't important. WiMAX turned out to be total s**t so Verizon went from EV-DO to LTE instead of WiMAX. Sprint initially started rolling out WiMAX but quickly realized that it was s**t and started their 4G roll-out from scratch

    CMDA has the best signal penetration for any wireless network ever deployed by any carrier. i live in NYC and briefly switched to AT&T. my iphone 6 (same exact device used on both carriers) started dying by 3pm on AT&T's network every day because the phone was struggling to maintain voice connections. and service in elevators disappeared. with verizon i was typically good until 7-9 pm and had service everywhere. and this wasn't just in NYC. i had the same exact problem in Las Vegas and Miami.

    personally i hope CDMA stays around forever on verizon just for voice service, but it doesn't look like this will happen. verizon has firm plans to kill CDMA in 2019.
  19. Pinkstiletto66 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 12, 2010
    New York City.
    With the example about the signal strength and your phone lasting longer with Verizon, would it make a difference for a person like me with T-Mobile to buy a Verizon phone? It looks like a few posters said the phone functions faster. Apple have more of the verizon models I want available for pickup as opposed to the T-Mobile model. I followed the thread for a reason but for simplicity purposes and fear of not being able to successfully activate it (although I think I would chance it since I could always return it in the store).
  20. dreamroar macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2013
    Your guess is mostly likely right. I did the same thing when iPhone 6 came out. Phone works fine and No activation fee at all. But still curious to see whether an activation fee will be charged on verzion holders account or not this time. Please keep us updated. Thanks!
    --- Post Merged, Sep 29, 2016 ---
    Thank you for sharing your experience. Please update if the activation fee is charged or something is affected in verizon holders account. Thanks!
  21. JonathanK81 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 7, 2006
    I normally know my Apple iPhones, but since this is new to me the different modems. Question for you all. I was able to get my iPhone 7 Plus AT&T unlocked. I currently only have a Sprint sim to test with. Will that work at all? I know it doesn't have the CDMA radio. But will it at least acknowledge the Sprint Sim so I can be assured it is truly unlocked? Thanks all!
  22. tlkudo macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2016
    Should work as long as Sprint has LTE coverage in your area. Give it a shot and let us know how it goes!
  23. Cristinamacrumor macrumors newbie


    Sep 22, 2016
    What if you first power it on with the original Verizon sim in and then you swap the sims? Is that not going to work?
  24. Cristinamacrumor macrumors newbie


    Sep 22, 2016
    That is not a problem if you go to a physical store, ask if they have in stock the model you want, and if they do just tell them you don't have a Verizon account, but plan to use it with a Verizon mvno such as page plus. That is how I got my Verizon iPhone 7 128gb rose gold. The problem that I am having is that, once I got my Verizon iPhone 7, I haven't been able to activate it with boost, cricket or Ecomobile (verizon Ecomobile). I bought the sprint/boost sim, also the Ecomobile sim, and still no luck. Do I really have to activate it on Verizon first.? I would hate to have to activate with Verizon and then cancel and pay whatever fines come with that.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 8, 2016 ---
    If you look at the tech specs for 6s for the model of your phone you will see that your 6s is compatible with all 4 carriers.
  25. richxps macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2008
    Has anyone yet tried to put a Verizon or att sim in an unlocked att 7 or 7 plus ? If your in a good lte area will it work with voice
    And data ?

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