Sprint EVO 4G Will Not Have Simultaneous Voice/Data


It is quite clear that Verizon and AT&T are the two powerhouses in the American mobile market. As the two have battled it out publicly in commercials – app for that, map for that, 3G coverage claims and everything else you can imagine – AT&T does have one undeniable benefit over Verizon. Simultaneous voice and data.

simultaneous-voice-dataThe benefit from AT&T is inherent from their network technology, which is GSM-based. Both Verizon and Sprint have CDMA technology which prevent them from accomplishing the same feat. But what about Sprint 4G? Could their WiMax technology usher in a new capability for the carrier to offer simultaneous voice and data to rival AT&T? The answer is “No” according to HTC, at least in terms of the HTC EVO 4G:

“If you’re using 4G for data, you can’t use CDMA for voice. Currently the only way to do simultaneous voice and data would be through a third-party VOIP solution. However, this is not due to strict hardware limitations, so it’s possible this could change with future updates.”

We haven’t yet heard from Sprint themselves and we’re  not sure what the exact limitations are – this COULD potentially be resolved for future phones but I’m not sure how likely that scenario is to play out. But if you’re grabbing the EVO 4G it appears as though AT&T customers will still be able to brag about at least one downfall of your device… or at least the network on which your device is running.

[Via AndroidCentral]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. I thought they were doing VoIP calls over WiMax when available. Interesting that their 4G still uses CDMA for calls.

  2. T-Mobile can do Data and Voice at the same time as well. I agree the other two are the biggest ones to combat in the arena. And I have to say this is sad news indeed. I was hoping that they would be able to do both voice and data at the same time. Now I have to rethink my possible decision to make EVO my next phone.
    For all your Verizon and Sprint users out there, is it such a handicap to not being able to do Voice and Data at the same time?

  3. Never got the big deal with simultaneous voice/data… In all my years of smartphone use, I’ve never said “geez I wish I could surf the web on my phone right now while I’m talking to my boss”.

    I’ve asked my iPhone friends about it, and none of them do it despite having the capability. I’m sure some do, but the handful of people I asked about it can’t see it being that useful either.

  4. If your source is Android Central, why not at least use their most recent stuff?


    Sprint pinged them on Twitter clarifying it’s not ruled out yet, still being tested.


  5. To be honest, I use voice/data all the time with T-Mobile. I like to check e-mails or look something up online while I’m on the phone using bluetooth. I would still consider switching to Sprint for the EVO due to the lack of any good android phones on T-Mobile.

  6. I have a Samsung Moment (Sprint 3G) and while I can’t do a voice call and use data apps at the same time on the cellular network, I often do voice calls on the cell network and use data apps on using the phone’s wifi capabilities at the same time. I suspect it will be the same with EVO.

  7. So my other question then would be. If you are using the phone as a GPS and you are receiving a phonecall. Will you answer the phone and loose the GPS or does it not effect that portion of it? (because google maps cache some of the map on the phone)

  8. @swehes
    Since when? i have had tmobile for a long time and none of my devices, including me current N1, have been able to do both! i have tried countless timeswithout sucess.

  9. It’s a useful feature.

    If you’re using Google Navigation, for example, and get a call in the middle of your route and realize you need to alter your destination – no can do.

    If you’re looking at Google Maps and trying to decide on restaurant options when someone calls you to chat about said options, no can do.

    It doesn’t happen with great frequency, but it does happen.

    I’ve had it happen about a half dozen times since November when I dumped AT&T for Verizon and the Droid.

  10. Here’s what Sprint has to say on the matter: http://twitter.com/sprint/statuses/11311075010

  11. The main reason I like simultaneous voice/data on the Nexus One on T-Mobile? Google Navigation.

    If a call comes in, and I make a wrong turn or go an alternate route, the Navigation doesn’t lose it’s place. This happened frequently on my Moto Droid which is a handicap of CDMA.

    Also when I’m on the phone and need to pull up a note from Evernote or see when an email came in that the person just sent me and asked me to confirm, I can do this.

  12. it is POSSIBLE with WiMax, htc has just not made it available on the EVO as of now

  13. Your story regarding HTC EVO simultaneous voice+data: Voice+Wi-fi=Yes, Voice+3G=No, Voice+4G=Still TBD, still being tested.

    ^Sprint’s twitter. Android central jumped the gun.

  14. I’m puzzled, and have been ever since ole Luke asked “can your network do that” about voice & data. I said, YES IT CAN! I can and have always been able to do talk and surf on my Droid. Am I missing something here? How come Verizon (and T-Mo for that matter) sue AT&T for blatant lying to the public?

  15. I have wished I could do simultaneous voice and data once, right after seeing the AT&T commercial. It seems incredibly rude to me to be talking to someone and surfing the Web at the same time. As to GPS, that is a separate antenna. You can use GPS and phone at the same time.

  16. @SBP: you have Wi-Fi on.

  17. You can do gps and voice at the same time and maps navigation does cache the route, but I’m not sure if when you receive a call and miss your turn, if it will be able to reroute you back on course.

    Other than that, I have never needed to be on a call and have web access. Although it’s never come up, if someone did have me check an email while I’m on the phone with them, chances are it would be a chached email anyways, so still not a problem.

    It’s so increadibly rare that I find it funny that AT&T is spending so much time on it. Is that really the only thing they have to brag about?

  18. @G1toN1
    I made an incorrect assumption about T-mobiles Voice and Data capability. Thought it was dependent on the GSM technology. I investigated it and you are correct. As far as I know then at this point only AT&T can surf and talk on the phone at the same time.

  19. @swehes @G1toN1 GSM tech does not do voice & data, it has nothing to do with AT&T or T-Mobile. -However- 3G does, which also has nothing to do with the carrier. Simply put, if you have 3G coverage you can do simultaneous voice & data, trust me, I have T-Mo and my roommate has AT&T, when we have 3G we can both surf & talk, and we use it on an almost daily basis!

    However, CDMA, EVD0, and TDMA cannot do simultaneous voice & data due to limitations of the protocol.

    So no, it isn’t just AT&T, it’s 3G, and any carrier that supports 3G in any country can boast doing both at once. Additionally, 4G technologies such as WiMax & LTE are data-only with no real native voice component, voice is carried as data on those technologies. If the new Sprint phone can’t do both, it’s because Sprint has opted to continue using CDMA exclusively for their phone service, probably because of its greater ubiquity and the cost of writing hand-off technology between a CDMA & a Wimax radio.

    I hope that clears some of this up.

    Ronald Bynoe

  20. Wrong, Tmobile and ATT can talk and surf at the same time. It’s not so much GSM, but a WCDMA/HSPA thing. In other words, Tmobile’s and ATT’s 3G networks. Their 3G networks can talk and surf simultaneously, whilst EVDO can not.

    With the Tmobile user who proportedly can’t; are you sure you aren’t kicked back to EDGE (which happens a lot with Tmobile in the DC area – at least when indoors)?

  21. This is yesterday’s news … today there was an update from Sprint.

  22. Did some more research and would like to see if someone on T-mobile can test it out. People has confirmed they were able to do this on T-mobile but only when they were on the 3G network. Can anyone confirm this?

  23. @swehes – see my comment. it’s fact, I been in the cell phone game via HoFo for ages lol. ^_^ hope that helps!

  24. So another question. If we can’t use Data and Voice at the same time using Sprint’s 4G, How will the cellphone being a hotspot be good? If any of the other items are using EVO’s data, will the phone not be able to answer an incoming phonecall? Or if it can answer, will it cut off the data for all the other items that are using the phone’s 4G?

  25. Currently, CDMA applications give voice priority over data – so, if HTC is right (as per this article’s reporting via android central) and they follow standard practices, yes, data would be cut off in favor of a voice call.

    Side note: since 3G has become mainstream, the facts are out there proving that “voice” is no different from data and is basically a cash cow for providers who are fleecing the ignorant masses. I’m going to play with a data only plan on my old n95 via ATT and see how feasible it is in real-life situations. If it works ok for in/outgoing calls and call quality is ok for both me and the person I’m talking to, I’ll be selling my Droid, ditching VZW and getting an N1. Will be testing this with my Goog Voice account, Sipdroid and Gizmo (bought one for cheap via ebay).

  26. x2 on sweshes question about the phone being a hotspot and receiving phone calls at the same time

  27. BTW, generally you can do simultaneous voice/data if you are on WIFI. So if you are a teenager at home whose chatting with your BFF for 2 hours, it won’t be a problem using the WIFI.

    So for it to be a problem, you have to be away from home AND decide you need to surf the web while being on the phone. Not very likely.

  28. @Nero
    I have been thinking on that subject as well for going DATA only. Can you let me know what your conclusion of your test?
    [email protected]

  29. @Nero
    maybe you are right tmobile might be kicking me out of 3g i’m not sure though as i do most of my web surfing on my phone outside and i always have super strong 3g signal.

  30. There’s a big difference between “surfing the internet” and “needing a data connection when I’m on the phone”.

    The former is rude, the latter is about 5 times a day, every damn day.

    Talking to my wife and she asks “Honey, when is that business trip scheduled for in May?” I need google calendar. Feel free to come up with all sorts of other situations just like this.

    Data and voice at the same time is important.

  31. I lived all these years without voice/data operating at the same time. It’s a non issue for most of users. People who are influenced by commercials saying that it is a must have are really just sheep blindly following a company that has only their interests at heart, not those of their customers.

  32. @James. It is a big deal because it’s a potential difference maker between services. There are an incredible number of situations where keeping both voice and data streams going simultaneously could be invaluable. J. Mc had a good example with accessing Google Calendar. Others have pointed out the obvious situation of checking an email while having a conversation – “Did you get that email I just sent?” Let me check…”I’ll call you right back” versus “OK, it’s right here” is a big difference in many situations.

    @Nero (post 25). I’d love to hear how your VoIP 3G trial goes. This would be a great route for many of us with Google Voice and Gizmo5 or Skype accounts.

  33. @Anonymous: D’oh! Indeed I do have wifi on. Oh well. I had an iPhone for almost two years and I never surfed while chatting. Not that big of a deal… a ‘nice to have’.

  34. @J.Mc
    rude how? does the person that you are talking to know that you are surfing the web and therefore they feel you are not paying attention? now dont get me wrong, i understand how people like you might needed more than others (like my self), but for me the wife calling me to see what i want for dinner isn’t something that deserves my full attention. i’m always on the web looking for parts for my cars (as i’m to cheap to send them to a mechanic lol) and reading up on diy articles. luckly for me i’m able to multi-task and i can listen, respond, and surf at the same time so

  35. I’ll keep you posted, I kinda don’t think it’s quite ready yet until LTE is rolled out. I made quick calls via VOIP on ATT’s 3G when I used my n95 in order to stack rollover minutes, but I always had EDGE in case 3G was full/choppy and/or I was in an EDGE area. To go all out data for calling… I might wait until it’s 4G with 3G to fall back on instead of 3G with 2/2.5G to fall back on.

    We’ll see…

  36. @G1ton1 – Also… browsing the web (with cached data) is different than making new connections to the network. It’s rather seamless and can give the illusion, but hey… long as it isn’t a hinderance to your uses, to hell with the technical limitations! :-)

  37. I used to talk on the phone while tethered at the airport on AT&T. It was so rare though that I could find a workaround if needed. On VZ now with the Droid and the network is so much more stable I wouldn’t switch back without a better reason. Not to mention in the area I live AT&T can claim they are technically a faster network and maybe they are but in real world use I see better response and speed on VZ. In other words voice and data at the same time….who cares?

  38. Well T-Mobiles network is pretty fast though.

  39. When it comes to speed, Sprint’s Wimax are going to reach speeds up to 10 MBits/sec
    T-Mobile is going to be able to reach speeds up to 21 MBits/sec with them upgrading their current 3G and the current 3G phones on T-Mobile will be able to utilize this upgrade. Will the speeds be that high? I don’t know. But T-mobile will have faster speeds using current 3G technology in comparison to Sprints “4G”

  40. @Swehes – Tmobile is turning on their HSPA+ network – all android phones are compatible with their 7.2 HSDPA network which means they won’t be able to realize the theoretical 21mbps – tmobile said handsets are coming soon, but for now they only have the USB card for their HSPA+ network (which I think has a 5GB cap – fail).

    What the HSPA+ network will do for 7.2 handset devices is make them faster and perform closer to their 7.2mbps limit. Tests are already out there, do a google search, that show HSPA+ performing better than WiMax and HSPA+ is technically 3.5G to WiMax’s 4G… ouch.

    At any rate, those real world tests are what you want to look out for, not the theoretical maxes. Hope that helps… Oh yea… ATT has their 7.2 network out and I think they recently announced building out HSPA+..

    @Darren – In DC, I noticed ATT to be faster and just as reliable as VZW.

  41. Simul voice and data is awesome to have, and use as convenient, as opposed to that use model being out of the equation. Tethering is a great example. Also, when you’re on a con-call, and need to get some email, or web data, and you don’t have to jump off and come back to the con-call. I don’t know of a carrier that permits a data only smartphone, so you’ll have to have some voice plan. Most carriers require the data plan also, so no voice only plan with Smartphones is also a “no-can-do”, per the terms of the carrier.
    Finally, for data speeds alone, CDMA 3G is topped out, and while WiMax is fast, if you live where it is, the choices for handsets are limited. Don’t even think about your flexibility as you travel throughout the US or the globe for WiMax.
    THere is no one-stop-shop to get all the benefits of coverage, speed, flexibility and concurrent use from a single carrier, single device. I need speed, and simul use of voice and data while traveling for my tethered device, and for handset only mode. I would have to have two units to accomplish a con-call mode while mobile with Verizon or Sprint. I would have a slower connection than what I need for the type of data usage I expect. Turns out AT&T delivers what I need more than any domestic US solution. I can still choose between the best smartphones also, including Android, and my Phamily doesn’t like have to be tech wizards, so the the iPhone provides the simplicity and power, without having the technology keep getting in the way of their ease of use. THat’s my view, and my family, and I know your mileage will vary, and your choice is what is best for you.

  42. I have the EVO and while on 4G you can talk and surf at the same time. If you are on 3G, then it’s one or the other. Also for everyone out there, EVDO can do voice and data simutaneously, its just the infrastructure that sprint and verizon use would need to be changed. That would mean upgrading all their towers with new hardware to support it, and they are not going to spend that kind of money, especially with LTE right around the corner.

  43. Not having Simultaneous Voice and data is a deal breaker. It means that your smartphone cannot Sync your Google or Exchange data while you are on the phone. If you have an important phone call, and an important email comes in, you will not get the email until you are off the phone. Since the phone call is important, you cannot RUSH someone off the phone so that you can’t try to not miss the email. Since the e-mail is important, you cannot afford to miss it.

    It’s a big deal. An AT&T or T-Mobile phone can Sync both your Exchange and Google Mail/Calendar/Contacts while you are on the phone. A Sprint or Verizon phone cannot.

    Unless you’re some kid in high school that doesn’t have a job and/or responsibilities, writing off Simultaneous Voice and Data as non-factor in 2010 is naive, ignorant, and stupid. Maybe in 2001, but not 2010.

    On top of that, both T-Mobile and AT&T have faster 3G than Sprint, unless you live in a bad coverage area. While some people like to pretend the opposite: WiFi is NOT available everywhere, and there are many people who are often in places where WiFi is not available.

    I was planning on going get this phone tomorrow, but I will cancel this new contract and go with T-Mobile and the Vibrant instead. When they can cover at least 1/3 the country with 4G, then I will pay attention to that.

    T-Mobile phones were getting 3mbps down/2mbps up with 2-3 out of 5 bars of 3G in their store today.

    The ability to do data+voice is worth the extra cash on top of the plan, and with Sprint you have I’d have to pay an extra $20/mo for two Evo’s that I won’t see 4G on for years anyways, so their plan would actually be about the same price as T-Mobile with that.

  44. I don’t see how you can say that only High School kids that don’t have a job and/or responsibilities are the only people simultaneous voice/data is meaningless too. A job where you must IMMEDIATELY receive you’re email while you’re on an extremely important phone call is probably less common than one where there is leniency and buffer time available on your email response. Just because you may need that for your job and/or specific line of work, doesn’t mean that all jobs, or even professional jobs, have such requirements.

  45. Simultaneous voice/data is rapidly becoming critical for apps that take mobile communications beyond just voice or data by combining visuals with audio to increase comprehension. We have eyes and they serve us well as compliments to ears and mouth.

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