Cell Phone Terms

Can someone explain in plain English?

My wife has a iPhone6s what is on Verizon.
Verizon says it is shutting down CDMA at the end of the year, but has indicated that my wifes phone will not be affected
Supposedly Version is transferring from a CDMA network to an LTE one … (what does that mean? I thought it was CDMA and GSM)

The reason for all this is I have an iPhone7 that is GSM only, and Version says it won’t work…

So how to CDMA, GSM and LTE relate to each other and to the phone device itself?

CDMA, GSM and LTE are the “wireless protocols” used by various carriers to provide cellular service

CDMA is 2G
GSM is 3G
LTE is 4G

but some are celullar (voice) and data and some are data only

its complicated

appears several US carriers have pages like this

Just looked at my iPhone 5S I got from Verizon many moons ago and it says “Verizon LTE” for connection so hopefully it stays working

Well here is what I’ve found and it seems to make sense

CDMA is going away… for Version that will be Dec 31,2019
Most existing iPhones (again at least on Verizon) will automatically (if not already) be switched to “Verizon LTE”

The problem is there are TWO LTE networks … LOL… a CDMA/LTE and a GSM/LTE and each uses a different frequency (band 13 vs band 17 or something like that)… So even though Verizon is going to LTE… a GSM phone still won’t work (there seems to be 27 bands)… Looks like the new iPhoneX series works on any of them

I found and kept these articles while researching both iPhone 7 and iPhone 8. I chose and purchased a new iPhone 8 from the Apple store a few weeks ago. Verizon Wireless is my carrier. The iPhone 8 has band 66 that the iPhone 7 does not have, but I believe that is nothing to worry about for now.

I believe you will be okay with your iPhone 7 if it supports Verizon. Your phone should support both CDMA and GSM.

See Apple’s iPhone 7 cellular and wireless specs here:

You can find your iPhone 7 model number by going to Settings/General/About and tapping the Model Number field.

4G LTE bands used by Verizon:

Why do you think your iPhone doesn’t do LTE?

it won’t do LTE on the Verizon network… there are 27 LTE bands, and GSM phones use an LTE band that Verzion does not.

GSM uses band 17 (amongst others), while Verizon uses 13

And Verizon indicated (based on the IMEI # of my phone) that it was not compatible with their LTE network.
but that it was compatible with the AT&T network.

I just got a plan (with the phone being verfied) that is on a compatible LTE network ($17 a month)

Unless something has drastically changed on the network modems in the last year or so, there is no LTE chipset. There is only CDMA and GSM. GSM is the most widely used, but Verizon stuck with CDMA since the begining so switching away from it will mess up all their infrastructure (and they claim is faster). LTE is just a juiced up version of 4g (ie transfer speed). Since Verizon is moving very strongly to 5g my guess is that any of their phones (ie CDMA phones) that do not support at least LTE speeds will be dropped. Just like wifi b vs n.

While everyone says CDMA is going away… what it really sounds like is 3G is going away… and you now use either a 4G CDMA or a 4G GSM… either way I had to find a GSM only plan… which as I mentioned above I have

I think this is the notification being discussed:
"Verizon has confirmed that it will no longer activate 3G-only phones on its CDMA network ahead of a 2019 shutdown as the telecom migrates nearly all of its traffic over to its 4G LTE network. "

This is really Verizon marketing speak to say the CDMA 3G network is being shutdown. The CDMA LTE network is now the new king for Verizon. The signaling-in-space is still CDMA (chipsets are still coming from Qualcomm). Is just the older speed protocol doesn’t allow good transfers with the new infrastructure and once they deploy the all-5G network it will cost them even much more to support the older network. But rest assured Verizon = CDMA, just like ATT, T-Mobile, and almost every European carrier = GSM.