3G and 4G and VoLTE, oh my....

  • Thread starter jtbell
  • Start date
In summary, our provider, Consumer Cellular, is an MVNO that uses both the AT&T and Verizon networks, depending on location. Yesterday, she received an e-mail from CC urging her to upgrade her iPhone 5S because it will no longer work with CC after they eliminate 3G service early next year. My wife researches online and figures that the 5S will still work, but that she'll need to upgrade to a newer phone once she moves her SIM card over.
  • #1

jtbell

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TL;DR Summary
Will my wife's iPhone 5S continue working with Consumer Cellular after they discontinue 3G service?
Our provider is Consumer Cellular, an MVNO that uses both the AT&T and Verizon networks, depending on location. Yesterday she received an e-mail from CC, urging her to upgrade her iPhone 5S because it will no longer work with CC after they eliminate 3G service early next year.

That puzzled me because I was pretty sure that the 5S is compatible with 4G technology. (It was my phone for several years before I upgraded to an iPhone XR about a year ago.)

After some online searches last night, here's my understanding...

Originally there was plain old 4G.

Then there was 4G LTE which improved data connections. The iPhone 5S came out during this period. There's an option in the settings to enable/disable LTE for data.

Then there was VoLTE (voice over LTE) which uses LTE for voice connections also. Apple introduced VoLTE in the iPhone 6, so the 5S does not have it. My current iPhone XR has an option in its settings to choose between LTE and 3G for voice and data together.

So my speculation is that Consumer Cellular's issue with the iPhone 5S is not with eliminating 3G per se, but instead with requiring 4G with VoLTE. Does this sound plausible?
 
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  • #2
Theres another reason to upgrade as the phone OS has stopped ipdating ie you can get new apps any youve boughten in the past are likely no longer downloadable for your OS.

This will leave the phone open to hacking...
 
  • #3
jtbell said:
Then there was 4G LTE

LTE preceded 4G. It's actually release 8 of the 3G spec, and was almost 4G. It is entirely possible that your wife's phone will continue to work, and it's possible it won't.
 
  • #4
She called up CC this morning and went ahead with the upgrade. $220 plus tax for a 2nd gen (2020) iPhone SE is a pretty good deal, considering that Apple sells it for $399.

And the 5S is getting long in the tooth. Apple doesn't support it with iOS upgrades any more, so it's stuck at iOS 12 (current version is iOS 14). But she's the kind of person who's reluctant to get rid of something that still works, which is great for our budget in general. :cool:

jedishrfu said:
Theres another reason to upgrade as the phone OS has stopped ipdating
iOS 12 does still get security updates. This reminded me to check, and sure enough, 12.4.9 was available. I'm installing it now.

We figure after she gets the new phone and moves the SIM card over, she can still use the old one on Wi-Fi as sort of an "iPad micro".
 
Last edited:
  • #5
That bodes well for you too. If you keep working she'll be reluctant to give you up. I have the same contract with my wife.
 

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