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Thread: New iPhone 12 and (lack of) CDMA on Verizon

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    New iPhone 12 and (lack of) CDMA on Verizon

    I have a new one for those who might know:

    First off, I am a long-time Verizon subscriber, dating back to October 2003. I have watched the network change and evolve considerably since then and I am by no means a novice when it comes to them or to this entire area.

    That said, I purchased a brand new iPhone 12 during pre-order and received it on October 23rd. I had the second generation iPhone SE prior to that and a very long list of phones, pre-dating it still. Like with my iPhone SE, I purchased the unlocked model and activated it on Verizon.

    this time around, after speaking with customer service about 5G and asking if I needed a new SIM card, they told me that longer-term, that I should get a new one, so they sent me one and I activated it, replacing the one that I had since my old iPhone 8 from 2017 - which is what I also used in my SE.

    The old SIM card, even in a Carrier unlocked second generation iPhone SE, the phone would show and occasionally update a PRL in settings and if I strayed into a remote, rural area, the phone will occasionally fall back to 3G or 1x.

    With my new iPhone 12, I have noticed that the PRL always shows 1, rather than a traditional PRL number. Furthermore, I took the phone into some very remote, rural locations and observed some different behavior from before. One area was known to have 1x coverage, with extended network. With my iPhone 12, I would get Verizon LTE in some of that area, but 3G extended network, from where I apparently roamed onto AT&T. Never 1x. Likewise, visiting a different remote in rural area, my phone would completely go to no coverage, where in the past I would get 1x or 3G on Verizon.

    Finally, when going into the cellular settings on the phone, I noticed that there were no 3G options visible at all, whereas on all prior phones, I have the ability to manually switch, if I wanted to.

    So where am I going with all of this? Does anybody know if this is simply a function of the iPhone 12, even though the unlocked model supposedly supports CDMA/3G? Is this because I activated a Verizon 5G SIM? Do these new SIMs not support the old network?
    Or would this be because Verizon has shut down their old network and this is all coincidental?

    Again, it was not all that long ago where I visited the same areas with my 2nd generation SE, with my 2017-era SIM And could still pull this has been the case in the past. I guess I’m just wanting to make sure I’m connecting the right dots and understanding things properly.

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    It is a known fact that Verizon is shutting down it's CDMA networks as early as the end of December 2020 (and has done so in select markets already) and will use 4G (VOLTE/LTE) and 5G networks going forward.

    3G is essentially a dead technology and Verizon has not activated CDMA devices for almost 2 years, current CDMA users can use their devices until 3G networks are finally dismantled.
    Just another day in paradise.....

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    Thanks and I know it is dying… But it has somehow remained the fallback method around here, for far longer than I ever dreamed possible. Seems like if you are in the furthest remote area imaginable, if LTE is not available, there still 1x or 3G, if you are lucky. It was right when I switched phones and updated my SIM card, when I found that the legacy option seemingly disappeared.

    This is more out of curiosity than anything, and for me to try and make sense of what the most likely cause of no CDMA on my phone is.

    Trust me, I am perfectly content using 4G LTE or better!

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    I can only speculate, but Verizon may have already shut down CDMA in your market. Where are you located ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeNobodyX2019 View Post
    Thanks and I know it is dying… But it has somehow remained the fallback method around here, for far longer than I ever dreamed possible. Seems like if you are in the furthest remote area imaginable, if LTE is not available, there still 1x or 3G, if you are lucky. It was right when I switched phones and updated my SIM card, when I found that the legacy option seemingly disappeared.

    This is more out of curiosity than anything, and for me to try and make sense of what the most likely cause of no CDMA on my phone is.

    Trust me, I am perfectly content using 4G LTE or better!
    I believe the new sim activations are “CDMA less” provisioned. I would call them and see if you can enable it

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    Sounds like it may be set up in Verizon's system as a "CDMAless device"? In effect, this drops any CDMA/EVDO 2G/3G only roaming partners (if there still are any), keeps the rest of the roaming partners (that were CDMA/EVDO but now pretty much all LTE) but adds additional GSM/UMTS/HSPA 2G/3G roaming partners (usually LTE, but maybe not if they haven't upgraded everything yet or fringe coverage etc.) Your seeing AT&T 3G roaming makes it highly likely it's set CDMAless. On a nationwide map, the CDMAless devices actually have slightly more total coverage than the CDMA/LTE devices, they've usually replaced the missing CDMA coverage with AT&T roaming etc., but of course if the only coverage is fringe 1x then that's not going to happen.

    I don't know if this is because of the 5G SIM; it may be, I think the 4G SIMs had some extra software or something on the SIM to handle CDMA authentication. If that does require anything from the SIM, I could see the 5G SIMs not including it given VZW's shutting down their CDMA in 2 months anyway.

    Or would this be because Verizon has shut down their old network and this is all coincidental?
    It's not off yet, VZW managed to kick the 4G off here a few times recently just long enough to have my phone decide to drop to 3G (I assume related to tuning their 5G DSS that just flipped on a week or so ago?) I got 2mbps or so on EVDO, and the 1x call sounded better than it ever did in the past since there's nearly 0 users on it.

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    Phone makers need to stop putting CDMA in phones already. Verizon is ending support T-Mobile is shutting down Sprint's CDMA by the end of next year. The reason why some phones( on other carriers ) only have sub6 GHz 5G radios is because the lack of room and costs. Get rid of CDMA and you certainly have the room and the cost savings from not having CDMA would help compensate the costs of mmwave antennas. Then companies like Samsung and Google wouldn't have to make UW versions anymore

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    New iPhone 12 and (lack of) CDMA on Verizon

    Quote Originally Posted by hwertz View Post
    Sounds like it may be set up in Verizon's system as a "CDMAless device"? In effect, this drops any CDMA/EVDO 2G/3G only roaming partners (if there still are any), keeps the rest of the roaming partners (that were CDMA/EVDO but now pretty much all LTE) but adds additional GSM/UMTS/HSPA 2G/3G roaming partners (usually LTE, but maybe not if they haven't upgraded everything yet or fringe coverage etc.) Your seeing AT&T 3G roaming makes it highly likely it's set CDMAless. On a nationwide map, the CDMAless devices actually have slightly more total coverage than the CDMA/LTE devices, they've usually replaced the missing CDMA coverage with AT&T roaming etc., but of course if the only coverage is fringe 1x then that's not going to happen.

    I don't know if this is because of the 5G SIM; it may be, I think the 4G SIMs had some extra software or something on the SIM to handle CDMA authentication. If that does require anything from the SIM, I could see the 5G SIMs not including it given VZW's shutting down their CDMA in 2 months anyway.


    It's not off yet, VZW managed to kick the 4G off here a few times recently just long enough to have my phone decide to drop to 3G (I assume related to tuning their 5G DSS that just flipped on a week or so ago?) I got 2mbps or so on EVDO, and the 1x call sounded better than it ever did in the past since there's nearly 0 users on it.
    That’s exactly what it is. These new 5G sims are provisioned to not use CDMA. I can test this in my basement because it’s a dead zone. My iPhone 12 pro will drop to no service on Verizon while my iPhone XS will still keep a 3G signal. That can actually come in handy for phone calls. AT&T and T-Mobile also drop to 4G on the 12 pro so it’s definitely the sim provisioning on Verizon’s end.

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    Is it possible to call Verizon and have them manually provision an iPhone 12 series phone to be able to access CDMA?

    I love being able to switch over to EVDO when I’m in a congested area because basically nobody being on it means it almost always remains usable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VVivian View Post
    Is it possible to call Verizon and have them manually provision an iPhone 12 series phone to be able to access CDMA?

    I love being able to switch over to EVDO when I’m in a congested area because basically nobody being on it means it almost always remains usable.
    I called today tech support said no

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    Quote Originally Posted by VVivian View Post
    Is it possible to call Verizon and have them manually provision an iPhone 12 series phone to be able to access CDMA?

    I love being able to switch over to EVDO when I’m in a congested area because basically nobody being on it means it almost always remains usable.
    You realize CDMA is going away in less than 60 days, right? Seems like this would be a waste of time.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    I haven’t seen official confirmation from Verizon that they’re turning off CDMA entirely on any specific date, and I just re-verified it on their site.

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    The fact that they haven't allowed CDMA phones to be activated in almost 2 years is pretty telling. I realize that originally Verizon said they would shut CDMA down at the end of 2019 and then extended it until end of 2020, but that seems to be official enough to me.

    If you want more proof, just Google "Verizon to shut down CDMA". Most articles will be dated November 2019 but they will agree with what has already been stated.

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    As far as I know, you could get the phone # put onto the 4G SIM, and pop that into your new phone. The 5G SIM is not needed for current 5G service, and the 4G SIM will have whatever CDMA needs to operate that the 5G SIM is missing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VVivian View Post
    Is it possible to call Verizon and have them manually provision an iPhone 12 series phone to be able to access CDMA?

    I love being able to switch over to EVDO when I’m in a congested area because basically nobody being on it means it almost always remains usable.
    I think at this point in time, you're better off on LTE and NR With bands 46, 48 and mmWave, you really shouldn't see those problems as much as when on your older iPhones. Especially if you have 4x4 mimo. Verizon knows what they're doing, they have good reason to block out 1X/EVDO on the 12 series.

    I wonder if it is blocked on the S20 and N20 series. Anyone know?

    Sent from my SM-N986U using Tapatalk

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