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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

The Apple site clearly says that the unlocked iPhone 5 off their site only works on GSM networks yet a friend of mine just activated her unlocked phone on Virgin mobile which is a CDMA carrier. Can someone explain this to me?

Here is what Apple says:

"The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment. You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice. The unlocked iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 will not work with CDMA-based carriers."
 

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Virgin Mobile customers also have access to Bell's 3G network since virgin mobile is owned by Bell now. If you pop in the virgin sim card into the iphone, the iphone will work on 3G HSPA, not CDMA.
 

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So 3G HSPA and above is the same across all carriers? What if you roam away from the 3G HSPA network there would be no way for the phone to default back down to the EVDO network and you would end up with no coverage. Is that correct?
 

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^^^^
That is correct. Are there any 3G or later phones that support CDMA 2000, outside of Public Mobile?

BTW, UTMS (3G) is also CDMA, but a different version than the 2G CDMA 2000 that was used on Bell and Telus.
 

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Thanks for the clarification. So is the info on the Apple.ca site is out of date or are they just saying that to ensure you maximize your coverage and to cover their butts?
 

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So is the info on the Apple.ca site is out of date or are they just saying that to ensure you maximize your coverage.
My guess is that it's just one of the many things copied from the US website - apple.com -without much thought. It has never been accurate in Canada, so it can't be considered out of date - the CDMA iPhone came after the CDMA carriers in Canada had HSPA 3G networks.
 

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BTW, UTMS (3G) is also CDMA, but a different version than the 2G CDMA 2000 that was used on Bell and Telus.
No, it's not. Wideband Code Division Multiple Access is but one of several air interface standards withing the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System family. WCDMA is definitely not equal to UMTS; you can have UMTS without using WCDMA (and some carriers have).

WCDMA is also not the same as CDMA. In fact, they're not even the same technology. WCDMA and CDMA2000 are air interface standards while CDMA is just a channel access method. WCDMA uses CDMA, but it is not equal to CDMA.

So, a more accurate statement would be that some UMTS networks (including those in Canada) use an air interface standard that makes use of the same channel access method as CDMA2000 networks.

Of course, in Canada and the United States, we've come to shorten CDMA2000 to simply CDMA, and this has passed into colloquial language. In that case, we're referring to the air interface standard and not the channel access method. This is what Apple is doing in this case. If you're discussing networks from a technical standpoint, this is technically incorrect, but if you're talking about them from a consumer standpoint, this has become colloquially correct. And this is a consumer electronics forum.

Because of this, UMTS carriers in Canada have specifically avoided ever referring to their networks as WCDMA, using UMTS or HSPA instead. Calling them WCDMA or simply CDMA would only serve to confuse consumers.

It's a similar situation to Macs vs PCs. Technically MacBooks are just as much personal computers as Dell's Windows-based laptops, but the difference has passed into colloquial language. You can argue about it until you're blue in the face, but it won't change, it's too far engrained into our language now.
 

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Thanks for the clarification. So is the info on the Apple.ca site is out of date or are they just saying that to ensure you maximize your coverage and to cover their butts?
I think what's out of date is the perception that Virgin is "CDMA based-carrier." Bell/Telus and all their MVNOs like Virgin are actively promoting HSPA/LTE and gradually sunsetting the old CDMA network. In my area of Ontario, network expansion using CDMA has ceased altogether, and new towers are only using modern technology.
 

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Agreed, but on the prairies, especially in SK and MB the upgrades don't occur as quickly therefore, as soon as you are outside of major cities with your phone, you could find yourself without service because your phone doesn't support CDMA. Of course that will change over time. I suppose the same could be said for northern Ontario as well.
 

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Dr. Dave thanks very much for that link and that post. It pretty much has all the answers to my questions.
 

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Agreed, but on the prairies, especially in SK and MB the upgrades don't occur as quickly therefore, as soon as you are outside of major cities with your phone, you could find yourself without service because your phone doesn't support CDMA. Of course that will change over time. I suppose the same could be said for northern Ontario as well.
SaskTel's HSPA network has pretty much equalled its old legacy CDMA network, and all new sites are HSPA only so there is better coverage density in Regina, Saskatoon and some other cities on the new network. Perhaps this is a Manitoba-only thing.
 

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PhotoJim, the difference is that MTS had a roaming agreement with the other incumbents for CDMA. They partnered with Rogers for the HSPA+ network, so Rogers has the same 97% coverage in Manitoba as MTS.

Telus has been building their own HSPA network which has limited coverage outside of Winnipeg. So Bell/Telus and Sasktel have the advantage of roaming on MTS's CDMA network, but are limited to Telus' network for HSPA.

Sasktel have a roaming agreement with Bell/Telus for CDMA and HSPA, so the coverage is similar for both networks. MTS roams on the Sasktel CDMA network or the Rogers HSPA network, so in that case CDMA coverage is better than HSPA in Saskatchewan.

Hope that all makes sense. :)
 

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That makes sense. So you Manitoba people are screwed - you either have to have the terrible coverage of Bell and Telus in Manitoba, plus great coverage in the rest of western Canada, or you have to have the great coverage of Rogers and MTS in Manitoba, but the pathetic Rogers coverage in Saskatchewan. Lovely dilemma. :)

I ported to SaskTel from Rogers last year but luckily, the only place I've been in Manitoba since I've done that has been the Winnipeg airport. The Telus coverage there is quite good. :)
 
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