Apple got up on stage today and announced the iPhone 4S, and alongside it confirmed that the smartphone will have a reworked cellular architecture complete with dual-mode HSPA+ and CDMA2000 compatibility, making it a world-phone device.

The iPhone 4S supports HSDPA 14.4 and HSUPA 5.76 for GSM/UMTS-based carriers like AT&T, alongside CDMA2000 1x/EVDO Rev.A for 3GPP2 based carriers like Verizon. The iPhone 4S also appears to have an antenna band structure which mirrors that of the CDMA iPhone 4, and likewise includes what appears to be a combination of Rx diversity and the ability to switch between antennas for transmit. This is virtually identical to what we talked about in the CDMA iPhone 4 review which mitigates the infamous iPhone 4 GSM deathgrip.

Apple hasn't confirmed things yet, but Qualcomm's MDM6600 appears to be the baseband inside the iPhone 4S, given its presence in the CDMA iPhone 4 and exactly matching specifications. More on this as it becomes available. 

iPhone 4S - Network Support
GSM/EDGE Support 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA Support 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
CDMA2000 1x/EVDO Support 800 / 1900 MHz
HSDPA/HSUPA Speeds (HSPA+) 14.4 Mbps / 5.76 Mbps
Baseband Hardware Qualcomm MDM6600
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  • starkcs - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - link

    OK, the radio supports CDMA and GSM networks - but does that mean the user can use the phone on either? If I have a 4S from Verizon, can I use it with a local prepaid GSM SIM card when I'm traveling in Europe, or is it locked by Verizon so as to make that impossible?
  • ViRGE - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - link

    If you buy it on contract, I'd expect it to be locked, just like every other phone.
  • Omega215D - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - link

    If you are a Verizon customer and in good standing credit you can get the phone unlocked. That applies to other world phones though and generally the unlocking won't unlock the code to use US GSM networks. Not sure if this iPhone will use a standard SIM slot to facilitate in the usage of prepaid SIMs overseas.
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - link

    There's this interesting little line at the bottom of the iPhone 4S tech specs page:

    "CDMA available only if iPhone 4S is sold and activated for use on a CDMA network."

    We'll be investigating that for sure :)

  • CharonPDX - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - link

    So if I buy the Sprint version (they make a point of mentioning that CDMA is only available if you buy a phone specifically for a CDMA carrier,) can I put an AT&T SIM in the SIM slot and use Sprint for voice and AT&T for data?
  • Brian Klug - Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - link

    These are the kinds of edge cases I'm interested in exploring as well. I have no doubt however that if you buy a subsidized phone on one carrier that it will be locked to working on that one carrier. We'll just have to find out when the time comes :)

  • littleszocske - Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - link


    My question is .. if my kin will buy a new iphone 4s for me in usa.. and she sends it to me to romania.. i will be able to use it at our gsm network?
  • goofy1958 - Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - link

    Brian, so I just talked with my local AT&T store, and they said that the new iPhone 4S does not support the newer HSPA+, only HSDPA. I have a 3GS that I use as a tether for my PC (I live in a rural area with very limited internet), and the store said that the 4S will not be any faster at all. I usually get 2.5-3MB download speeds via I have an AT&T Shockwave USB Card for my work laptop that connects great with the HSPA+ available at my house, and is much faster, usually 4-4.5MB downloads.

    What is the truth? Will the 4S be any better than my 3GS for internet? Thanks!
  • lurker22 - Sunday, October 9, 2011 - link

    The truth, part 1, look at the specs listed at Apple or here as to support.

    The truth, part 2, only when AT&T supports the faster speed capabilties will you see it and then there is the theoretical speed versus reality. 3gs theoretically has DL of 8.2, i see at most 2.5Mps.

    I dont get why people even bother asking the morons in cell phone stores anything...
  • tag12171 - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    They completely change the insides but go through a lot of effort to keep the outside the same. Is this so your current accessories will work or so the current iPhone 4 owners won't feel so bad?

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