Simultaneous Voice & Data on a Smartphone

We've often had people ask if they could get away with using their phone as a personal hotspot as their primary data connection, skipping the need for a MiFi or other data plan.
This works - but there is a catch. And that catch revolves around the phone being able to simultaneously support voice and data.

This used to be a key differentiating feature between AT&T and Verizon. AT&T smartphones maintained a data connection when voice calls came in, whereas Verizon phones would drop offline for the duration of the voice call.

AT&T phones however dropped to 3G speeds during the voice call - slowing surfing way down, but at least you could research your dinner plans online while talking about them on the phone.

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Some more recent Verizon smartphones have gotten around Verizon's network limitations by adding an entire second radio, so that the phone can maintain a data connection and a voice connection at the same time. Apple however has never bothered to add this extra cost and complexity to the Verizon iPhone.

Eventually VoLTE (Voice Over LTE) will come along - unifying voice and data communication channels. When that happens, these limitations will be a thing of the past. But for now - if voice calls are important to you, don't assume you can use your smartphone as your primary data device.

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