Apparently, the iPhone 5 will have dual-mode (CDMA+GSM) connectivity, which would make it a ‘global roaming device’ or ‘world phone’, as they say. TechCrunch spoke to a prominent (but unnamed) iOS developer who saw app usage logs from the same device, but with two different sets of MCC (Mobile Country Code) and MNC (Mobile Network Code) codes, one for AT&T, and the other for Verizon. The MCC and MNC pair is what uniquely identifies a mobile carrier. What that looks like it means is that there was an iPhone having both Verizon and AT&T connectivity which has accessed an (also unnamed) app.
Unfortunately, this, if true, shatters all previous rumors about the iPhone 5 coming with LTE connectivity, since there are no dual-mode LTE chips out, and even if there were, Verizon’s and AT&T’s LTE networks aren’t necessarily interoperable. And, truth be told, there wasn’t much to indicate that the next iPhone would have LTE anyway. Apple isn’t known as a company that runs with the newest this and that, but rather waits until something is mature and then decides to use and/or revolutionize it. LTE is anything but mature at the moment, so this kind of makes sense.
What also makes sense is Apple creating a dual-mode iPhone 5. Ever since the Verizon iPhone 4 was released, this became the logical next step. Why have two different hardware versions, when you can cram two different radios inside the same device and be done with it? Exactly.
If true, this will be great news for Verizon customers, who will be able to travel internationally without leaving their iPhones behind. It will also be good news for people using CDMA networks elsewhere in the world, in places such as India, Japan, Argentina, and Brazil.
And once again, it makes sense because it falls in line with previous rumors that stated that Apple was switching to Qualcomm for supplying the baseband chips for the iPhone 5. Since Qualcomm basically invented CDMA and is the biggest maker of CDMA connectivity chips (including the one in the Verizon iPhone 4), and also has dual-mode offerings available, this again sounds about right.
Of course, this is nothing but another Apple-related rumor in a sea of Apple-related rumors, so the above may not happen. Or perhaps only the iPhone 5 that Verizon will sell will come with dual-mode connectivity so that Big Red’s customers can roam outside the US, while there may be a different GSM-based iPhone still, since it would be cheaper to build with one radio rather than two. That all remains to be seen, and judging from the fact that all recent rumors point to September or October as the release time frame for the iPhone 5, we’re bound to find out soon enough.