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Differences: AT&T iPhone vs Verizon iPhone

With the Verizon iPhone a reality, there is one question of current iPhone owners: should I switch carriers?

The primary difference between the AT&T iPhone and the Verizon iPhone is the technology each uses for 3G connectivity.
In the end, your phone is going to work essentially the same on both networks, and the truth is that the vast majority of users won’t notice any difference. Here are some key points to remember, though:

  • Calls: In general, Verizon will drop less calls. It’s unclear what impact the iPhone will have on its network, but we don’t expect it to be as bad as AT&T was in its early years. Verizon’s network has proven itself to be more robust.
  • Speed: In general, AT&T has the faster 3G network, and in some cases it’s a great deal faster than Verizon. This of course only work if you cab get a signal.
  • Simultaneous voice and data: Only AT&T is capable of talking on the phone and surfing the web at the same time, but Verizon is working on a solution, saying the fix might be implemented by the end of this year.

The latter point may become a non-issue soon, though. According to The Wall Street Journal, a solution to carry voice and data simultaneously on CDMA networks is coming later this year.

Technical details:

AT&T employs the UMTS, Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, in its network. UMTS is built upon concepts from the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard, the basis for EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution). Because of this shared architecture, most UMTS devices support GSM and EDGE, including the AT&T iPhone. GSM/UMTS technology is widely used worldwide. UMTS phones can be easily moved from one UMTS network to another, making them ideal for international use.

Verizon, uses CDMA, code division multiples access, a form of spread-spectrum signaling that utilizes bandwidth more effectively than most other solutions; it’s often considered more spectrally efficient. CDMA also utilizes soft handovers of phone calls, so instead of switching directly from one tower to the next (hard handover), CDMA devices can receive a signal from multiple towers simultaneously. That makes the shift between towers less detectable, and it decreases the rate of dropped calls. On the other hand, AT&T UMTS devices aren’t as efficient at soft handovers. Verizon’s CDMA can’t use a SIM card, making it far more difficult to switch phones.

This argument between CDMA and UMTS may become a moot point in the next few years, though, as 4G networks overtake 3G technology. WiMax and LTE are the primary 4G standards. Both AT&T and Verizon are utilizing LTE as a standard for their 4G networks.

adapted via Mashable

  • 01/13/2011
  • IT