Looking at Sprints site they advertise the 16GB Iphone 4S as a 3G phone yet other phones as 4G capable. On the At&t site their 16GB Iphone 4S is 4G capable. Is Sprints version different? .....also are they all capable of connecting directly to the satelite for GPS reference without phone signal or do you need a certain Iphone.
Yes, the iPhone 4s is not a "4G" type phone for Sprint's network, because Sprint uses WiMAX technology as their means of getting 4G data speeds. Phones have to be specially made with WiMAX functionality in them to work on their network, and the iPhone 4s is being made as the same phone for all 3 carriers offering it. It does not do WiMAX. What it has built in is "HSPA+" -- which is the type of 4G AT&T uses right now.
They will read satellite GPS signals though, regardless of what carrier you're on (or even if you're not subscribed to anyone at all, since the GPS satellite signals work without any paid subscriptions to anyone).