Why You Can’t Use Your Phone’s Data Connection While Answering a Call

Why You Can't Use Your Phone's Data Connection While Answering a Call

I have always hated the idea of my data connection disappearing immediately my phone starts ringing with a call.

Imagine the inconvenience caused when you are busy streaming a video on YouTube and a call comes in, and after answering the call you have to wait for sometime for your data connection to boot back and some more time for the video to load again before you can continue. It will be more frustrating if the network is sluggish.

Are you one of us that are usually pissed off because you are unable to use Voice & Data at the same time on your phone?

This could be a CDMA limitation on your phone and here’s why it’s like that.

Before we start, what’s CDMA by the way? We can’t get the full gist unless we take a step backward and start the post by explaining what CDMA is and GSM too.

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CDMA and GSM explained

CDMA meaning, Code Division Multiple Access and GSM which means, Global System for Mobiles are shorthand forms for the two major radio systems used in cell phones.

In the United States of America, the major carrier networks in use can either be using GSM or CDMA.

Sprint, Verizon and US Cellular use CDMA. While AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM. Then, most carriers globally use GSM, CDMA is most likely limited to US carriers alone and they are the idea behind you looking for how to unlock your cell phone after purchase so that you can use a sim card from any other carrier network such as MTN or Airtel.

GSM became global because in 1987, Europe mandated the use of GSM by law, and because GSM comes from an industry consortium. CDMA, on the other hand, is owned by mobile phone chipmaker, Qualcomm. This made it less expensive for third parties to build GSM equipment.

Let me not go further to confuse you with the GSM and CDMA stuff.

Why can’t you use data during a call?

GSM Carriers use voice and data at the same time. Either on HSPA or on LTE.

CDMA Carriers; this can only handle voice or data. Not both at the same time.

Your old phone might have been able to use it’s data network while you are answering a call, then all of a sudden, the whole thing changed, why is this?

A more detailed explanation could be seen below.

The older phones that were able to use both voice and data at the same time had two CDMA radios in them. One dedicated to voice and another dedicated to data.

Therefore, you could do voice and data at the same time using the two radios respectively.

GSM, on the other hand, has always been one radio and that one radio can do both tasks at the same time. They got around it on CDMA by simply adding another radio in there and dedicating each one to one task.

Now, they’re getting rid of that second CDMA radio. Hence, you can only use talk or data simultaneously and not both at the same time.


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