Here’s Why iPhone 5 Won’t Support Simultaneous Voice And Data on Verizon or Sprint

BY Jason

Published 13 Sep 2012

iPhone 5

Few minutes back, we reported that iPhone 5 won’t support simultaneous voice and data on Verizon or Sprint.

We were not sure if this was indeed a limitation of iPhone 5 or limitation of Verizon’s and Sprint’s 4G LTE network. We’ve just got the answer.

Currently LTE networks only support data. This means that Apple would have to add a third antenna to support simultaneous voice and data on Sprint and Verizon’s network. It looks like Apple has decided not to add a third antenna to the iPhone 5 model offered by Sprint and Verizon as it would have complicated the manufacturing process. In the future, LTE networks are also expected to support voice calls.

NYT reports:

So why does Verizon’s Samsung Galaxy S III, a 4G LTE phone, juggle calls and data? Samsung added an extra antenna so that it pulls data from the 4G LTE network at the same time that it’s using another antenna to do voice, said Anand Shimpi, editor in chief of AnandTech.

Then why didn’t Apple add another antenna? It actually already has two antennas in an effort to improve reception, and it would have had to add a third antenna just for Verizon and Sprint phones to give them simultaneous data and calls, Mr. Shimpi explained. Leaving that third antenna out allows Apple to simplify its manufacturing process of the iPhone for multiple carriers. Plus, in the next two years the 4G LTE network is supposed to evolve to support voice calls, which would render another antenna unnecessary later.

Apple has issued the following statement to NYT on the issue:

“It is not yet possible to do simultaneous voice and data on networks that use CDMA for voice and LTE for data in a single radio design.”

That also explains why AT&T’s iPhone 5 won’t be able to use LTE speeds while on a call. In case of AT&T’s iPhone 5, it connects to AT&T’s 3G network, which is capable of both voice and data (3G speeds) – a feature that has been available since the iPhone was launched. Verizon and Sprint’s iPhone 5 connects to the CDMA based 3G network for voice calls, which don’t support simultaneous voice and data.

Do you surf while you talk on your iPhone? Is it a deal-breaker if the feature is not available?