Sprint and HTC CEO's show off the EVO 4G at CTIA

Get ready Luke Wilson and company, you have a new (well, old) target to go after. HTC has confirmed to us that the Sprint EVO 4G, which it manufactures, will not be able to use voice and 4G services at the same time at release. The full quote from HTC:

"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 do to strict hardware limitations, so it's possible this could change with future updates."

We touched on this in our EVO 4G Q&A, but this certainly needs it's own entry. HTC says that it's not due to hardware limitations, so that leaves only one culprit -- Sprint. We're used to this with CDMA phones, and maybe it's still something that's "in the works," but the question remains -- why would Sprint cripple (sorry, Phil, just couldn't resist  :) ) what's arguably the best upcoming phone on the market? At this point all I can think is "Why, Sprint, why?"

There are 59 comments

eljoker says:

So is it the point of 4G besides speed is?

dont even worry about it man thats just WiMax technology. AT&T and Verizon are going to use LTE which can do Voice and Data at the same time.

T says:

Verizon LTE will not carry voice, only data just like WIMAX. Voice will go over CDMA just like WiMAX. Should we expect the same voice/data limitations on LTE, maybe, probably.

jerbear says:

Wimax can also do voice and data at the same time if they are both encoded as generic data. What they are saying is that while you are downloading data over the Wimax radio you can't be doing voice over the CDMA. No idea if this is because they are on a single chip that can't do both at once or if it is some other network management issue. Either way, like they say, if you fire up a Skype or some other software that turns voice (and video) into data and streams over the 4G network then it will work just fine.

Informed says:

WIMAX and LTE are virtually the same technology, software is the only component which separates the two. As to the article, someone is passing misinformation. Sprint said voice/data at the same time is in the testing faze, if video calls (uses more bandwidth than voice over data) are possible over 4G, why wouldn't voice/data be possible. One of the features Sprint wanted on 4G, is voice/data at the same time.

afazel says:

Besides speed? not-slowey-ness

Anonymous says:

you can do both on wi-fi i have done this on my pre. be on the web and phone call at the same time, i cant wait for this phone to come out.

Ian Wheat says:

Makes us ask why they haven't ever let us use simultaneous voice and data since they rolled out Rev A?
I mean, there's no reason not to, unless they think their network can't handle it.

Aaron says:

So what? It'll do VoIP, and it'll multitask.

Isn't the POTS functionality on this phone obsolete? Who cares if you can't use the phone and data at the same time, when you've got plenty of bandwidth to never need the phone in the first place?

I want to know if Sprint will sell me the Evo as a data-only device. I don't want Sprint as my phone company, just a data provider. I can pick between a bunch of VoIP providers for my voice communications.

We know the answer already, of course: Not a chance.

But it would be nice if someone would ask Sprint that and watch them try to justify the decision.

There you go, LTE will dominate Wi-crap. Cant wait for Verizon LTE...

jerbear says:

Well you're gonna have to.

And "Wi-crap"? Seriously? There are also 4G radio standard fanboys?

GioTech says:

+1. Sit down and keep waiting, Verizon fanboy, cuz that's the path Verizon chose for you. No one wants to hear your jealous grumblings just because Sprint is finally getting a game-changing device first with technology so advanced that no other phone on any network can compete with it yet. Sprint went with WiMAX because it was proven technology that was ready to be implemented, which allowed them to bring 4G to market first, while everyone else is waiting for the LTE standard which is still in testing. If LTE does eventually prove to be superior in the end (when it's finally deployed), Sprint can always change to LTE too. They've already gone on record stating that it would only require network software changes, not major hardware changes.

p4trickh#IM says:

Which is why I laugh when people scratch their heads at Sprint's decision. Sprint's plan gives them the ability to have their cake AND eat it. They use proven tech that is ready to go now and get their 4G out with such a huge head start it's almost laughable and if and when they decide LTE is ready for prime time it's just a simple software upgrade and boom they now have the biggest LTE 4G network as well. It's smart because it's the best of both worlds and really pays off for consumers. I can't wait till the Evo is ready so I can sell my Droid and go back home where I belong: Sprint, my dear sweet sprint :D

*sigh* says:

Sprint will NOT be having their cake and eating it too. Sprint has chosen to go with a technology that's available now as their 4G network. It's far to costly to lay down all this Wimax infrastructure and then replace it in a few years with LTE.

For better or worse Sprint is stuck with Wimax until a new 5G standard comes to replace it. It looks like it'll pay off for them in the short run, which is fantastic, but I have serious doubts about Wimax's future vs. LTE.

Anonymous says:

5G really, they have the spectrum to add LTE if they see fit. They chose Wimax because it was mature. I'm sure they have a strategic plan. Do you really think they are naive to the fact that LTE will be the a dominate technology? I think not.

063_xobx says:

is this even news-worthy none of the current cdma versions can and i would hardly expect sprint to revise their network to one of the versions that does in less than 4 months

Was ready to give this phone a try even though my Nexus One is the best phone I've ever owned by a huge margin. Either one makes my old iPhone look and feel like a piece of crap though.

Even if I didn't already have the Nexus One I would certainly pick it over this phone. The 4G speed just isn't something that compelling right now. 3G speeds are more than fast enough for app downloading and webbrowsing.

Was ready to give this phone a try even though my Nexus One is the best phone I've ever owned by a huge margin. Either one makes my old iPhone look and feel like a piece of junk though.

Even if I didn't already have the Nexus One I would certainly pick it over this phone. The 4G speed just isn't something that compelling right now. 3G speeds are more than fast enough for app downloading and webbrowsing.

afazel says:

What's interesting is that the latest revision of CDMA technologies can do simultaneous voice and data. That being said, what keeps them from implementing this with the first US-available 4G smartphone? Something's in the works, I tell ya.

slbailey1 says:

This is very interesting! What Sprint maybe working on for launch is Voice and Data on either the 4G network or the 3G network based on if you are in a 4G area or a 3G area.

Is the revision of CDMA technologies hardware or software. If software Sprint maybe turning on voice and data at the same time for its entire 3G network when they launch the Evo.

tobyrare says:

It would certainly be nice to have simultaneous voice and data, but this is by no means a deal killer for me (although I've also been with Sprint for 11 years so I'm kinda used to it.) Evo here I come!

slbailey1 says:

The quote is "4G for data and CDMA for Voice", you cannot do both at the same time. BUT can you do both if you use 4G for Data AND Voice? This may be one of the launch surprises - Data and Voice at the same time when a 4G network is available.

jerbear says:

You most certainly can. Chances are there will be a video chat application that will do just that. They just mean you can't be making a traditional phone call over your CDMA radio and also using a second radio to do data. Either way, it's the kind of thing that will annoy some and not others. I can't imagine not being able to multitask but some folks seem to find that extraneous. Either way, I've been using Wimax for around a year and a half now and a nice Wimax phone for no added cost is exactly what I'm looking for. Considering how few minutes I actually spend on the phone I don't mind not being able to browse the web at the same time. YMMV.

slbailey1 says:

Yea, I use at most 10mins a month of voice. I'm paying the $69.99 mainly for unlimited texting and data.

mflava#AC says:

If it wasn't for current plans, I would leave.

Anonymous says:

Whatever the quality of LTE will be (which none of us really know yet so I don't know why everyone is talking it up so much) I'm sure it won't be worth the ridiculous prices Verizon is going to charge, unless maybe it's capable of teleportation... and besides, who REALLY cares about using the web and talking on your phone at the same time?? Is it THAT important?

Anonymous says:

So just hope no one calls you when you have multiple devices tethered to your phone... That really sucks. Huge bummer.

droid master says:

Why-max?. We all see how well the Nextel purchase went for the "most powerful network...I mean Now Network" Kinda hard to pay for 4G build out when you are losing more customers then you are adding quarterly. Big Red and Blue going one way(LTE) Sprint going another way(Why-max). Do the math folks, who are hardware manufactures going to put atop the almighty pedestal when it comes to hardware production. A base of 190 million customers to sell to, or 50 million??? If I were a betting man I would drop a Hundy Large on Red & Blue over black/yellow any day. Let the games begin. Maybe they will drop their all you can eat plan to 19.99 happy meal price cuz that will help pay for a nice fat 4G pipe to support simultaneous V & D.

brward2k#AC says:

Why-max? cmon Kidds. look at the math. Big Red and Blue going LTE. The most powerful network...i mean now network" is going completely opposite. whaaaat? we all make decisions. lets see...how did that Nextel purchase work out? mmmmkay. maybe they will discount the all you can eat down to the happy meal price of 19.99 cuz that will definitely help pay for a nice big fat 4G pipe to support simultaneous V&D. Manufactures will work with the carriers that can move product, becuase that is how they make money. Scenario..2 ponds to fish in. 1 with 180 million fish or 1 with 50 million. Erwin M Fletcher you chose.

afazel says:

Sprint and Clear (is there much difference?) have both stated that WiMax and LTE are similar enough that WiMax was chosen to be first to market, and the move to LTE could be made simply enough if it became necessary. If it can truly be changed over so simply, then Sprint has made a brilliant business move by being first to market with 4G via WiMax.

GioTech says:

Finally, someone who actually follows what's going on in the mobile world and has their facts straight. I just posted basically the same information in a post above in response to some idiotic Verizon fanboy who clearly knows no facts.

uansari1 says:

Venereal & Disease? Sorry, I had to. :)

afazel says:

I don't get it...

ERDude says:

For all you LTE fanboys, LTE has yet to successfully carry voice. Data works fine, voice not so much, just ask Verizon who's currently testing LTE.

LTE (Long-Term Evolution) is shaping up as the choice of most mobile operators worldwide for next-generation networks, but it can't carry voice or SMS (Short Message Service) traffic in the same way today's carrier networks do, because it's a packet-based IP (Internet Protocol) data network. Equipment vendors and carriers have been lining up around two approaches to handling voice on LTE, called VoLGA (Voice over LTE via Generic Access) and One Voice.


GioTech says:

PWND. Enjoy the wait, (now extremely) jealous Sprint haters.

iPaladin says:

LTE has already adopted the IMS based Voice Over LTE standard, also known as OneVoice. LTE carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile can implement a software based solution to handle voice, in fact they're really close.


From what I read the season this phone won't do voice and data is software,and with updates it may be possible.

Pardon my ignorance, but is Google Voice using CDMA or WiMax?

Sprint is currently testing the EVO 4G to do voice and data at the same time. It's one of the main reasons why the phone wasn't ready for release. I know this because I'm currently testing this device. Dual radios could work at the same time, and Sprint wants to make sure everything runs smoothly. As for people screaming out LTE, read ERDude's post.

Sprint is currently testing the EVO 4G to do voice and data at the same time. It's one of the main reasons why the phone wasn't ready for release. I know this because I'm currently testing this device. Dual radios could work at the same time, and Sprint wants to make sure everything runs smoothly. As for people screaming out LTE, read ERDude's post.

TheB says:

This is crap, I was expecting to be able to talk on the phone while also checking e-mail and browsing the net. Come on Sprint we have to do better.


Fitz says:

with the words that they chose to use "If you're using 4G for data, you can't use CDMA for voice." does that mean if you using 3g on the evo that voice and data will work?

Anonymous says:

Who the heck cares about talking on your phone and using data at the same time?! Is the world REALLY that INSANE? Why can't it wait until you get off to jump back online! Just goes to show how crazy the world is getting about internet. I, for one, PREFER not to be able to do both at the same time. It is bad enough that people are talking/texting while driving... now they can talk, text and surf the web. I have had about enough of the whining! GET OVER IT! The Evo is on the top of my list for all of the RIGHT reasons.

Snuggles says:

Who cares if I can't do both...I've been a Sprint customer for some time now...I'm trained to just go with the program!

sucktackular says:

Nope, don't care. I never use both simultaneously. In fact, I rarely make phone calls. If I can use Google Voice SMS while browsing and checking my email, IDGAF.

UBB says:


afrozeke says:

Maybe it's just me but I've never thought during a phone call "I wish I was browsing the web right now". Yeah it's just me.

Ky772 says:

Me either, actually. I don't know what the big deal is. I'm all for multi-tasking, but during a phone call? Come on.

randmthought says:

I agree, the whole voice and internet is something I just don't understand on how it's relevant right now. Maybe when it comes to video conferencing later but even then, I don't know how often I want to see the person I'm talking to or have them looking at me.

Foxman says:

Here's something to consider for everyone: Wimax was developed as a successor to Wifi, LTE is developed to be the successor of 3G mobile networks.

DaHui623 says:

Meaning WiMax is developed and backed by those in the PC industry while LTE is developed by those in the cellphone industry. Add to that the growing popularity of smartphones, which are FAST becoming the equivalent of hand held mini computers, who do you want on your side? WiMax.


eric.atx says:

Sprint is actually in a great position here in my view. If WiMax turns out to be inferior to LTE then they can switch easily but if it is superior then they have the best one already out and are in a perfect position.

Now time for a potentially stupid question...

Why not both? Would it be possible to have both on one phone and have WiMax for data and LTE for voice?

Anonymous says:

I have never had a situation where I need both voice and data. Maybe I'm weird, but I think it's kinda rude to put someone on hold when you go and check online sources. And if I were ever using speakerphone to accomplish something like this, it would be in my home or office where I have wifi or a laptop anyway...

bduschel says:

How can you push the speed of a 4G Network and not have Voice/Data running at the same time? Very confusing indeed.

slbailey1 says:

Here's an interesting article from IntoMobile about Clearwire and LTE.


Here's a link that explans why Clearwire and Sprint is saying that they can switch from WiMax to LTE. The article is not about Clearwire and Sprint directly - it's about the difference between FDD-LTE and TD-LTE and why it is easier to switch from WiMax to TD-LTE. Reading the article it seems that the LTE chipset can support both FDD-LTE and TD-LTE. It's a real good article.


jeastman14 says:

Well my input is, why not, I think the additional front facing camera is a dead giveaway and the device will be able to support video phone calls... Just my thought

LytSlpr says:

why can't it do voice & date simultaneously on 3G? it doesn't make sense. AFAIK, 3G/4G is just the data speed, not the technology used RE: CDMA/EVDO or LTE

I think Sprint just want the extra $10 premium for the 4G service

BTW, 4G is not available everywhere which is another problem.