Verizon Wireless & Voice over 3G/LTE

A few years back I switched to Verizon Wireless here in the States which is a predominately CDMA-based carrier with a fairly large LTE 4G network.  Previously I was on AT&T which is a traditional GSM network with a LTE 4G network as well.  I left AT&T because their footprint where I spend most of my summer is quite poor and results in the inability to work remotely there or even enjoy streaming radio.

There are times I do regret leaving a GSM provider.

One of those times is when I remember I can’t use data on the phone while I’m talking on it.  Granted I don’t make all that many phone calls with my iPhone 5s but when I do it always seems to be when I’m using data.  I’ve heard the arguments before – why do you need to surf the web when you’re talking on the phone?  In the past that argument satiated me but recently I’ve realized I use data ALL THE TIME.

  • iMessage – You can’t get messages while you’re on the phone unless the sender is on a phone and has the ability to send a text when it fails.  Sucks.
  • FaceTime – Same deal, no data, no FaceTime.  The FaceTime users get no indicator you’re on the phone because your Mac back home is ringing without you there.
  • Navigation – I use Waze for navigation and traffic – it’s a pain when I’m on the phone right before my last turn comes and the data craps out.
  • Finding shit for friends – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the phone and need to look something up like directions or what have you.

The list could go on forever.  Verizon DOES have a solution for this – route calls over their 3G or LTE networks.  It’s been in place for some time with their 3G network but they’ve neglected to roll it out to their most popular phone models including the iPhone.  This update would effectively turn all your calls into VoIP calls and go over the data connection.  I do this already with FaceTime Audio when I’m talking with someone who has it but the downside is by doing it myself, I’m using up my data allocation.  I’d assume Voice over LTE wouldn’t go against your data plan but rather stay with the voice plan.

I’m not sure what the delays are other than they underestimated strain on their already strained network.  I’d also like to go back in time and kick whomever designed CDMA in the head that didn’t allow simultaneous voice and data.

CDMA / Verizon iPhone

There has been quite a bit of press about the upcoming Verizon / CDMA iPhone.  I’m happy to hear that AT&T will finally lose the monopoly on the iPhone in the United States, but I’m disappointed that nothing has come out yet about T-Mobile carrying the GMS version of the phone.  AT&T needs the competition to spread out the massive amount of users onto another network because frankly, they can’t handle the amount of growth they’ve experienced.  The iPhone is a great device, and I’ve had nothing but a positive experience for the most part with AT&T.

I’ll probably never switch from AT&T over to Verizon for the simple fact that GSM provides SIM cards, whereas CDMA does not.  I like having the option available to me to swap my SIM into a different device, like when I go camping, so that I don’t risk damaging the $400+ device when I don’t need to.  Of course, the iPhone 4’s micro-SIM provides its own unique challenges, but a simple physical adapter allows it to be used in an older traditional SIM card holder.

CDMA phones, at least in the USA, require the phone provider to activate each device and you cannot swap on a whim.  Most people could care less.  I on the other hand like being able to switch around equipment when needed, and not having to pay the provider to do it.