USA GSM vs CDMA iPhone 5

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by iMikeT, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. iMikeT macrumors 68020

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    #1
    I've searched the forum looking for a clear answer to this but no too much success.

    I have been trying to wrap my mind around this but can't come to a clear conclusion. I am currently with AT&T and seriously considering switching to Sprint. I know that both these carriers have different spectrums. The question is this, by the time my contract is done with either carrier and unlock my iPhone, which version of the iPhone 5 (GSM/AT&T or CDMA/Sprint) will be most advantageous to me if I use it abroad?

    I know that the CDMA version has a SIM card slot but what does that mean if I use it abroad? Can I use it on a GSM network?

    I currently have an iPhone 4 which I am going to unlock and use if I travel in the meantime.
     
  2. i-John macrumors 6502a

    i-John

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    #2
    It depends on what you intend to use and where you want to go.

    If you want LTE, the AT&T version, can only be used in US and Canada. The Sprint/Verizon phone does have the same frequencies as used in Europe, but they are selling as different phones, so there is no guarantee full compatibility in Europe.

    You will be able to get 3G pretty much anywhere in Europe with the GSM model as that's what used over there. I don't think any carrier in Europe uses CDMA.
     
  3. iMikeT thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #3

    Thank you, that helps a lot.

    I'd like to be able to use LTE abroad in places like Canada and Europe. But 3G is fine with me, well at least for now. 3G will probably be like EDGE is now in a couple of years. :rolleyes:

    So I was totally under the impression that the iPhone 5 is a world phone but that obviously isn't the case. I thought Apple managed to put the GSM and CDMA chips in a single phone. :confused: My question now is this, does the CDMA iPhone switch over to GSM if used abroad?
     
  4. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

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    #4
    Wrong info. The CDMA model of iPhone 5 contains the same LTE frequencies the GSM model does as far as international carriers are concerned. So you will get LTE internationally on your Verizon or Sprint iPhone 5.
     
  5. i-John macrumors 6502a

    i-John

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    #5
    It will use LTE.

    If you want better coverage, the AT&T (GSM) model is the better option
    If you want better speed, the Verizon/Sprint (CDMA) model is better.

    LTE is new, even for Europe. It has limited carriers and coverage (just like here).
     
  6. MVRL macrumors regular

    MVRL

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    #6
    If you want to be able to stream data while talking, AT&T is better lol
     
  7. ViperDesign macrumors 6502a

    ViperDesign

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    #7
    Better coverage, ATT? Really?
     
  8. iMikeT thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #8
    So after much thinking about dealing with my carriers, I'm still unsure what to do about which iPhone 5 to go with.

    The biggest part that I'm confused about is this, is LTE completely separate from GSM and CDMA, like and entirely different spectrum or just another frequency that GSM and CDMA use?
     
  9. ITS ME DAVID macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Forget sprint either go verizon or att. Verizon phone comes factory unlocked and you can insert a gsm sim into it and will work or go att gsm and you can unlock it just look for a unlock on ebay there like $10 and take 24hrs to Do and ten you can take it abroad.
     
  10. iMikeT thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #10

    I'd like to go to Verizon but they do not offer an unlimited data plan. Thanks but no thanks.
     
  11. ITS ME DAVID macrumors 6502

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    #11
    yea but sprint data sucks its slow and there lte isn't available at a lot of locations go either att or verizon
     
  12. m0no macrumors regular

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    #12
    The Verizon version is the more "wordly" iPhone. I will be moving overseas so I made sure this was the version I got. The CDMA will work in US/Japan and the GSM is already unlocked so can swap and use in any country really. The Verizon version also supports some of the LTE bands in Europe; the ATT version does not.
     
  13. xofruitcake macrumors 6502a

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    #13

    May be it is best to look at the information in Apple website.. ATT phone can work in Canada, Sprint and Verizon phone can work in KDDI in Japan and that is about it for now. I am sure Apple will release more information about other European and Asian countries as they continue to launch. LTE coverage is awefully confusing when it come to different countries.. You can only make the best decision looking at a complete table...

    http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/
     
  14. LapsangSouchong macrumors 65816

    LapsangSouchong

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    #14
    What???:confused: The Verizon Iphone works (3G) in over 200 countries. LTE coverage does not.
     
  15. iMikeT thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #15

    Indeed it is. And this is exactly why I can't decide which to go with.
     
  16. iMikeT thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #16
    Ok. So this is what I'm trying to get clear....

    With the GSM (AT&T) iPhone 5.... I can use LTE only in the USA and Canada. I simply pop a SIM and go. In foreign countries, I can only use 3G. Same deal, pop a SIM and go.

    With the CDMA (Sprint/Verizon) iPhone 5.... I can use either carrier's LTE network in the USA and some LTE networks in Europe. When I go to a foreign country, do I just simply pop in a SIM and go and it will use LTE or will I have to do something on the CDMA side to get it to work with an LTE network?

    Since the CDMA iPhone 5 also has GSM bands, will it matter with LTE networks? Meaning, is there a difference with LTE when it comes to CDMA or GSM or is LTE its own thing?

    Lastly, if I go with a CDMA iPhone 5, I know that I will lose the ability to be on a call and to be able to surf the web at the same time. This was on 3G. Does this also apply to LTE?
     
  17. dontwalkhand macrumors 601

    dontwalkhand

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    #17
    The SIM slot supports both C-SIM (CDMA SIM) and SIM/U-SIM (GSM SIM/LTE).

    Verizon utilizes both the CSIM and the USIM in the iPhone 5, and it is totally unlocked to accept other USIM/SIM but not CSIM (i.e. No Metro PCS SIM cards, Sprint, etc...You are only allowed to use the Verizon SIM Card for CDMA service, but you ARE ALLOWED to use any other GSM SIM card you want).
     
  18. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

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    #18
    I think LTE roaming in Europe is just icing on the cake. I would NOT pick service in the United States because of it, as getting Sprint means you probably won't have LTE service unless you live in a lucky few areas. HSPA+ networks are far more robust in Europe anyway with several networks to choose from, and it's not uncommon to get speeds of 10Mbps down and 2 Mbps up which for traveling should be just fine.

    Pick a carrier that works for you in the US, and roam on HSPA+ outside of the United States. I'd save *real* LTE world roaming for the next iPhone when more bands can be supported in the same model (up to 7 from the current 5).
     
  19. m0no macrumors regular

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    #19
    Exactly, Canada is not Europe and therefore does not support those GSM LTE bands (1, 3, and 5).
     
  20. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #20
    The LTE on the Verizon and Sprint phones will work in Europe, look at the bands that it has, they are the same. The carriers Apple specifically lists the CDMA one as being compatible with are the 3 CDMA carriers it is offered on, Verizon, Sprint, and KDDI. When it is unlocked and you put it on a GSM network the bands are there for it to work with European LTE, and other places it will run on 3G GSM.
     
  21. xofruitcake macrumors 6502a

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    #21

    man, I would love to hear your comment about these two article. When you are making such a sweeping claim, do you know that even in UK different carrier support different LTE band?????? How can you say that Verizon and Spring version will work in Europe without verification from Apple?


    http://www.computerworlduk.com/in-d...th-iphone-5-leaves-europe-on-the-back-burner/

    he iPhone 5 will come in three versions, equipped to use different sets of frequencies: two phones for the GSM family of technologies and one for CDMA, which also includes GSM bands for roamin

    On top of those frequencies, each model includes selected bands for the faster 4G LTE technology, a key selling point of the iPhone 5. However, the new lineup leaves out two bands – 800MHz and 2.6GHz – that will be critical to LTE service in Europe, according to Tolaga Research analyst Phil Marshall.


    "If you were to build a European device, it would have 800MHz and 2.6GHz in it," Marshall said. Carriers in Germany, Sweden, Italy and other European countries already have or are expected to deploy LTE in one or both of these bands.


    Apple does include the 1800MHz band for LTE in two of the iPhone 5 models, which could provide for LTE use in some parts of Europe, Marshall said. This set of frequencies, also called Band 3, is used by about 25% of LTE operators worldwide, according to Tolaga.

    http://www.zdnet.com/uk/why-the-iphone-5-will-work-on-the-uks-new-4g-network-7000004059/

    The situation this time around is very different: we now have one operator with services poised to go live on 1800MHz, and trials already taking place in major British cities.

    In addition, the UK has 3.5GHz set aside for 4G use. Add to this the upcoming spectrum auction that will free up other operators to offer 4G services in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands.
     
  22. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #22
    Ok, from those two articles Europe may not be as standardized on LTE frequencies as I thought, but the CDMA iPhone 5 still has the same frequencies as the one in Europe so it will work just as well over there as the iPhones that are being sold in Europe even if it doesn't work on every carrier.
     
  23. czar44 macrumors member

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    Sep 21, 2012
    #23
    I've been going back and forth. I travel to Eurpoe occasionally and also know that VZW has much better LTE coverage in my area. BUT, the big issue I keep coming back to is simultaneously accessing calls an data. There are lots of times when I'm tethering on the train, using GPS in the car, etc., when I'm also on a call. Or when I'm on a call and then need to look at something - like a menu, restaurant info, directions, etc., where I can put the caller on speaker phone and access data. Was so disappointed that the way the LTE chip is set in the VZW phones that this still can't be supported. That's pretty much the only thing stopping me from switching since the data plans would be identical for me. And most of the ATT 4G coverage in my area is HSPA+ so I'm getting 7-10 down and 1-2 up, which is same as home network. Still, I try to reserve a VZW model each night at an Apple store to test it out...

    Also, from my experience traveling and living in Europe, I've found that data portion of SIM cards to be lacking a bit - usually not as robust as post-paid. But haven't lived there in a few years and last year when I traveled to France and Switzerland, I used Skype and wifi in lieu of SIM cards.
     
  24. xofruitcake macrumors 6502a

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    #24

    For Europe user, it seems HSPA+ is the realistic target to shoot for instead of LTE. European LTE is in a big mess in term of spectrum. Theoretically, HSPA+ can go up to 21 MB/s. So if the local carrier has a good network, it probably satisfy most customers..

    http://www.zdnet.com/iphone-5-meet-europe-where-4g-really-means-3g-lte-is-scarce-7000004284/
     
  25. ANMA dojo macrumors regular

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    Mar 22, 2010
    #25
    sort of. unlike Verizon, AT&T iPhone 5 doesn't come factory unlocked unless paid full price, but it currently only costs $6.85 to get it factory unlocked from UnlockFusion on ebay (pretty fast too - mine was ready in 1.5hrs)
     

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