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

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Apple is making four different models of iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c to expand LTE support, but they won’t support simultaneous voice and data on Verizon or Sprint.

TechCrunch reports that Apple has confirmed that iPhone 5s customers won’t be able to surf the web while on a call on Verizon or Sprint’s network.

It has been one of the limitations of Verizon’s and Sprint’s CDMA Network.

The problem, says the company, does not reside with the iPhone but the networks involved.

That’s partially true, as it would actually be possible for Apple to allow this functionality by adding additional radios. But it does not in order to keep the phone thin and light. It is also unlikely to make that concession because Voice over LTE capability is likely to come to carriers and devices sooner rather than later. This would mean that devices would only lack simultaneous access when they fell back to older network methods like 3G. 

Currently LTE networks only support data. This means that Apple would have to add a third antenna (it already has two antennas to improve reception) to support simultaneous voice and data on Sprint and Verizon’s network, as 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. However, since carriers are expected to add support for voice calls on their LTE network, it looks like Apple has again decided not to add the third antenna, which could also have other design implications.

The feature will work on AT&T and T-Mobile’s network, though like the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s customers will not be able to use LTE speeds while on a call. That is because iPhone 5s connects to a 3G network when a user wants to make a call, and AT&T or T-Mobile’s 3G network supports simultaneous voice and data, but it means that you get only 3G speeds. Verizon and Sprint’s 3G networks do not support simultaneous voice and data.

It is not clear when carriers will add support for voice calls on their LTE network. But it is high time they do, as it is an annoying limitation.

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

[Via TechCrunch]