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I’ve ordered my iPhone 4S, and What About Two Networks at Once?

I’ve ordered my iPhone 4S, and looking forward to it from my aging iPhone 3Gs.

When you buy from Apple, the links on this site to Apple or our advertiser OWC gets us credit, a great way to support what you’ll find on this site, thank you.

One question I’ve not seen answered is that as a “world phone” compatible with both GSM and CDMA, can the iPhone i4S simultaneously be on the AT&T and Verizon networks?

It seems to me that if a phone has dual antennas and corresponding chipsets for the GSM and CDMA standards (and maybe it does not), then it ought to be able to work on either or both networks at the same time. That would be a GREAT feature.

One reader read this and got off on a tangent about roaming, I am simply saying I want one phone that can simultaneously accept or make calls on either AT&T or Verizon. That would be wonderful— two numbers on one phone so that coverage quality would be greatly enhanced in some areas where only one of the vendors has a decent signal.

Lorenzo Z writes:

The global feature on the iPhone is used for those that pick a CDMA carrier in the US (Verizon or Sprint) so they can roam on GSM networks in most other countries. The previous Verizon iPhone 4 would be totally useless in countries with only GSM networks for example. The carrier you choose and sign a contract with and which subsidizes the phone will be your only carrier in the US. But, that specific carrier has roaming agreements in certain areas (for example Sprint sometimes lets you roam on Verizon's network), but you can't pay 2 carriers for service simultaneously (like AT&T and Verizon).

Also, on the iPhone specs from the Apple website under footnote 4 says: CDMA available only if iPhone 4S is sold and activated for use on a CDMA network.

Not sure if that means the CDMA radio is "locked" down, or if it doesn't have the hardware at all.

Verizon and Sprint have sold many "global" phones, for the sole purpose of being able to use it abroad on a GSM network. It may be possible to unlock your phone and switch SIM cards to pick another network, but CDMA phones can only be activated by the carrier (no SIM... but it could be different with the iPhone 4S).

Basically, the answer is no, you cannot simultaneously use, or choose on demand, AT&T and/or Verizon. Lastly, I believe neither have mutual roaming agreements because of their different technologies, and competitive nature.

Even if you pay both AT&T and Verizon separately, you can't have your phone registered on both networks (even after unlocking).

Hope that makes sense and answers your question,

MPG: the convoluted balkanization schemes of cellphone companies defeat a simple and basic need: two phone numbers on two networks active simultaneously for overall superior coverage where one carrier is weak or absent.

Funny how Steve Jobs never fixed that one for iPhone users, but one brilliant star can't fix all problems and it’s too late now. It appears that the only solution is to carry both an AT&T phone and Verizon phone, but after looking at pricing with data plans, I think I’ll be sticking to a single AT&T phone.


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