Christopher Price is the Founding Editor of Today, he leads the team building Console, Inc. - a new kind of Android™ device. He still likes to pontificate... a lot. You can visit his personal blog at

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17 responses to “In-Depth: Why iPhone 4S Can’t use CDMA on GSM Networks”

  1. yosun

    it’s an essay… on !!!

  2. 1oddmanout

    And Soooooo good to have the old Chris back again! Keep writing like this.

  3. Matty

    I’m glad someone has explained this as well as you…. people thought I was crazy… and I felt like I was trying to explain it all the time.

    Again, Thank you.

  4. Roberto

    “Now I have another question, will I be able to activate the Sprint’s iPhone 4S on their MVNO Boost Mobile?”

  5. Matt

    And this is why I subscribe to phonenews and not the “competitors”.

  6. Christopher Price

    Boost and Virgin will not activate any CDMA iPhone at this time. Sprint does not permit non-Virgin/Boost devices, and none of the hacks work on iPhone.

  7. Mike

    What about the Sprint Blackberry Bold 9630 that works just fine with an AT&T SIM here in the USA without any “hacking” or unlocking once the device is provisioned by Sprint OTA?

  8. Christopher Price

    Prior to iPhone, Sprint left the SIM slot on international devices unlocked. Verizon typically locked theirs. The Bold does have US GSM but lacks US UMTS.

    It is widely believed the SIM slot on the Sprint iPhone 4S will be locked.

  9. g00b

    Frick … I pre-ordered the Sprint iPhone because of the GSM capability. Sigh …

    Also, will someone please file “… the simple action needed to enforce this settlement …” of Sprint accepting unlocked devices.

  10. Steven Goldfein

    Awesome explanation Chris, and while I suspected such things about the carriers wanting to perpetuate the myth about phones not being able to work with both CDMA and GSM/UMTS at the same time, I knew it was technically possible because the Touch Pro 2 could be hacked to support most of it except the UMTS, I believe. If all phones were required to have these dual modes, the prices would increase initially and then drop significantly as the competition heated up. I honestly do not think that carriers really subsidize phones, with the exception of maybe the iphone and the iphone is the exception because Apple sets the retail price and not the carrier or retailer. Cell phones are one of the only items that people use the MSRP for the base price, Televisions, Notebooks, Cars and boats are almost always sold for lower then the MSRP and almost no one ever pays the MSRP for them. Controlled items like the Xbox 360, Wii and PS3 are a different breed and the manufacturer closely regulates the prices for those devices because they can. In the open electronics markets like radios, televisions and computers the prices can vary drastically for the same retail boxed item depending on who is selling the item and this is the way the free market is supposed to and should work. Unfortunately we do not have a free market.

  11. Sprint’s Final, Confusing Word on the iPhone 4S SIM Slot (Updated) |

    […] subsidy bill.For more information on iPhone 4S’s integration between CDMA and GSM, check our previous article on the subject.Article updated to clarify future iPhone 4S Sprint units will be factory-locked.var […]

  12. Sprint’s Final, Confusing Word on the iPhone 4S SIM Slot | ASIAGSM

    […] some-more information on iPhone 4S’s formation between CDMA and GSM, check a previous article on a […]

  13. david

    Will an unlocked iphone 4s work on Net10?

  14. We exposed it, you did it: Verizon Removes iPhone Block on MVNO Providers |

    […] re-highlighted the arbitrary and antitrust-grade blocking of iPhone 4 from virtual networks in an in-depth article on iPhone 4S’s built-in support for both CDMA and GSM.We’d like to thank the readers and regulators that tune into, as the title of […]

  15. frank

    ” Up until now, there have been practically zero phones that operated on both CDMA, and GSM/UMTS, in the same country. ”

    RIM has been supporting this for years .. blackberry 9530 storm , 9550 storm 2 , 9630 tour , 9650 bold all support CDMA (Verizon) and GSM (AT&T, T-mobile and the GSM MVNOs)

  16. At&t iphone 4 unlocking to work with sprint

    […] AM Today here is some good reading which discuss why a dual band (gsm/cdma) phone does not work. In-Depth: Why iPhone 4S Can’t use CDMA on GSM Networks | Reply […]

  17. Iphone4s

    Does anyone knows if it’s possible to activate an iphone 4s from sprint to cricket…..