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Does an iPhone 4s or 5 have all radios in it?

248 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Jun 23, 2013 12:45 PM by diesel vdub RSS
mleeber Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Jun 23, 2013 8:41 AM

Is an unlocked iPhone 4s or 5 truly capable of working on all networks??? I am currently a Verizon customer and while they are the best carrier in my current market AT&T and T-Mobile both have markets where they are much better than VZW. Also, I have just about had it with VZW nickel and diming me every time I turn around!!! VZW might be the best carrier in the Southeast US from a network standpoint but they are the worst on cost and shenanigans. Buying an unlocked cell phone that does not work on ALL PLATFORMS is like buying a new car that will only work with Shell gasoline.


So, if I buy an unlocked iPhone 5 can I activate it on a CDMA or GSM network with T-Mobile, AT&T or VZW (or God forbid Sprint...the worst of the four in every market)?


On another note, I had one of the original iPhone 5s when they came out and had the time sync problem so I returned it; have they fixed the time sync issue yet???



  • KiltedTim Level 8 Level 8 (35,890 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 23, 2013 11:22 AM (in response to mleeber)

    There is no such thing as an "unlocked CDMA" phone. The SIM slot on the Verizon iPhone 5 is unlocked out of the box and it can be used with any GSM carrier. The SIM slot on the Verizon iPhone 4S can be unlocked by Verizon for current customers in good standing for use on foreign GSM networks. A Verizon 4S can never be used on any US carrier other than Verizon.


    If you purchase a new unlocked iPhone (be it 4S or 5) it will be usable on any compatible GSM network. It will not be usable on any CDMA network. That's due to the nature of CDMA and the fact that the US CDMA carriers will not permit you to bring your own iPhone to their network. There is no law that requires them to do so, therefore, they will not.


    The "time sync" issue, so far as I understand it, was not a problem with the phones. It was a problem with the various carriers LTE networks.

  • diesel vdub Level 7 Level 7 (20,675 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 23, 2013 11:22 AM (in response to mleeber)

    There is no such thing as an unlocked CDMA device.

    CDMA devices are locked to the carrier and virtually no carrier will activate a CDMA device sold for another carrier on their network.  MVNO's are essentially the only exception to this.


    An iPhone 4S and 5 do have all the radios in them, but if purchased unlocked the CDMA portion is essentially disabled.  The only reason for purchasing an unlocked phone is to be able to use it on any GSM carrier.


    Sprint and Verizon are both CDMA carriers.  While iPhones purchased for Sprint or Verizon can be unlocked to use on other GSM carriers, the companies will only unlock them for use outside the US.

  • diesel vdub Level 7 Level 7 (20,675 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 23, 2013 12:45 PM (in response to mleeber)

    MVNO - Mobile Virtual Network Operator


    Examples: Straight Talk, Boost, Virgin, Net 10, etc.


    Straight Talk actually operates on multiple networks depending on where the user is at. 

    A Verizon device will only work on Verizon's network.


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