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iOS: Understanding cellular data networks

This article provides information on GSM, CDMA, and LTE cellular data networks.

When a Wi-Fi network is unavailable, iPhone and iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular models) are capable of using a cellular data network for Internet connectivity.

Select your carrier network technology to learn more about the cellular data network capabilities and features, including:

  • Network types
  • Status Bar icons
  • Whether simultaneous voice and data are supported (on iPhone)

GSM networks

GSM networks support simultaneous voice and data on iPhone when using a UMTS connection.

UMTS 4G Yes Appears on iPhone 4S or later and iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular or later while connected to AT&T's or T-Mobile's high-speed network in the United States.
UMTS 3G Yes  
EDGE E No May be unable to receive calls while transferring data over the cellular network.*
GPRS ° No
* If you cannot receive the call, it will immediately go to voicemail.

CDMA networks

CDMA networks do not support simultaneous voice and data on iPhone

EV-DO 3G No Can receive calls while transferring data over the cellular network.
1xRTT 1x No May be unable to receive calls while transferring data over the cellular network.*
* If you cannot receive the call, it will immediately go to voicemail.

LTE networks

LTE is available with supported LTE carriers, when using iPhone 5 or later and iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular or later only. Requires a supported LTE carrier. Find information about iPhone carriers.

LTE LTE No*  
4G 4G No* Note: 4G can also indicate a UMTS connection on some GSM networks, including AT&T's and T-Mobile's high-speed network in the United States.
For more information, contact your carrier.
* iPhone 5 (GSM model) will switch to 3G for data during voice calls.

Additional Information

Cellular data requires an active phone or data plan with a wireless carrier. Contact your wireless carrier for more details.

Cellular data may not be available in all locations, and network speed and connectivity may vary depending on location. Check the carrier's network coverage in your area for availability. See this article for links for iPhone wireless carrier support and basic information about the features supported by wireless carriers.

When you are outside your carrier's network, you may be able to access the Internet using another wireless carrier. To use another carrier's network, turn on Data Roaming in Settings > Cellular.

Notes:

  • Roaming charges may apply, contact your wireless carrier for more information. To avoid data roaming charges, make sure Data Roaming is turned off.
  • When using a cellular data network that does not support simultaneous voice and data, incoming or outgoing calls will interrupt cellular data transfers until the call ends. This does not affect Wi-Fi network connectivity.
Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Mar 27, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Mar 27, 2014
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