Apple iPhone still not supporting simultaneous voice/data for Verizon, Sprint

A year ago, it was widely reported that the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 would not support simultaneous voice and data for legacy CDMA operators such as Sprint (NYSE:S) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ). What a difference a year does not make. ABI Research reported that Apple still does not support SVLTE or SVDO for simultaneous voice and data in the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.

The news is interesting because, ABI contends, Verizon requires its other handset suppliers to support simultaneous voice and LTE (SVLTE) and simultaneous voice and EV-DO (SVDO), and has for quite some time. But the largest U.S. operator has apparently made a unique concession in its requirements for Apple and its popular iPhones.

"It is understood that the selling power of Apple warrants some exceptions but we expected that after a year Apple would have included the capability in their iPhone 5 variants--the 5s and 5c," said Jim Mielke, ABI's vice president of engineering.

While ABI's report comments focused specifically on Verizon, it is most certain that the lack of SVLTE or SVDO support also applies to any iPhone carried by other CDMA operators, such as Sprint.

SVLTE or SVDO require two RF chains in a CDMA-based phone, but Apple apparently insists on having only one in the iPhone, which gives the device extra room to support more LTE bands while remaining thin and light. Having just one transmit chain can also improve power consumption.

Many 3GPP-based operators use circuit-switched fallback (CS-FB) to enable LTE transmissions to fall back to WCDMA/HSPA, which already multiplexes voice and data. AT&T (NYSE:T) has long marketed as an advantage the fact that its customers can simultaneously enjoy voice calls and Web surfing, unlike those on rival Verizon's network. While that comparison no longer holds true for most of Verizon's smartphone lineup, it does apparently still apply to the iPhone.

For more:
- see this ABI release

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