The unlocked HTC One A9 is the first non-CDMA phone that's compatible with Verizon's network

The unlocked HTC One A9 is the first non-CDMA phone that's compatible with Verizon's network
Love it or hate it, the new HTC One A9 is making waves today in the tech community. We've covered the official announcement, seen the photos and videos, we've also had our hands-on time with the HTC One A9. Last but not least, we've also talked about the unlocked version of the HTC One A9, a phone whose bootloader can be unlocked without voiding the warranty. 

That's already a lot of info, but as it turns out, the unlocked HTC One A9 will also carry the distinct feature of being the first non-CDMA phone to be compatible with Verizon's network.

As many already know, Verizon relies on the CDMA technology for its 3G voice and technology. As CDMA is only used by a limited number of major carriers around the world, most unlocked phones come with GSM 3G technology. What this means is that smartphone makers usually have to make a special CDMA version of their handsets for reaching out to Verizon subscribers. Only a few big companies, such as Apple, Google, and Motorola go down that route.

Now, since making a new variant of a phone can turn out to be both costly and time-consuming, most companies that sell unlocked phones don't go through the trouble of making CDMA-compatible variants of their phones. But in Verizon's case, it looks like LTE, the next evolutionary step from 3G, might help solve the problem.

The unlocked HTC One A9 is the first non-CDMA phone that's compatible with Verizon's network

HTC says that the same GSM version of the unlocked One A9 will be able to run on T-Mobile and AT&T, which comes as of no surprise. The interesting part as HTC states that this same version will also be compatible with Verizon's network following a software update that will arrive soon after launch. 

According to HTC, the One A9 will rely exclusively on its LTE radio to place voice calls, send SMS and MMS, as transfer data packages on Verizon's network. Traditionally, Verizon-compatible phones use the carrier's CDMA network for voice and text, while the LTE standard was used mainly for data transfer. But with new advancements in VoLTE (which stands for Voice over LTE), Verizon might now be able to handle everything through LTE alone. We say "might" because Verizon has yet to comment on the matter. All of this information comes from HTC, which is a bit odd given how important this may be for Verizon subscribers. 

Although the prospect of using a non-CDMA phone on Verizon's network is certainly enticing, it should be mentioned that some caveats apply. First, the HTC One A9 will not be able to switch back to the CDMA network when no LTE coverage is available since the phone doesn't have a compatible radio. Also, HTC says that the One A9 will work with a pre-activated SIM card, meaning that you'll have to activate a CDMA phone, then take that SIM and feed it to the One A9.

We're eager to learn more about how the GSM version of the One A9 will be able to run on Verizon's network, but at a first glance, we don't see any reason why other phones should be able to perform the same trick. If this turns out to be the case, Verizon subscribers will surely appreciate that they can choose from a much wider range of compatible smartphone as opposed to being stuck to the limited range of CDMA phones currently available.

source: HTC via Android Central

FEATURED VIDEO

19 Comments

1. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

First? What about the Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Moto X Pure?

2. FAUguy

Posts: 78; Member since: Apr 09, 2008

This is a GSM phone, but can use the LTE band for Verizon. "According to HTC, the One A9 will rely exclusively on its LTE radio to place voice calls, send SMS and MMS, as transfer data packages on Verizon's network. "

5. hwb01

Posts: 355; Member since: Apr 17, 2014

Not that I doubt you, but does PA have something to make people not create accounts with the logo as the avatar? I've always wondered about that

3. danwatson

Posts: 117; Member since: Jan 03, 2012

As someone with Verizon, I call BS. My Note 3 currently sitting on my desk shows 3G until I walk outside. Verizon LTE doesn't have the coverage indoors and in some areas that 3G does for whatever reason. There are so many times my phone falls back to 3G. I would be very careful in getting a non CDMA phone for verizon.

8. Awalker

Posts: 1953; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

You can do what Sprint customers do - get used to not having service.

4. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

woah, it's some great asset for those who aren't fan oc Verizons logo on thier phones.

6. murron

Posts: 162; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

Unlocked Xperias Z2 and higher support LTE band 13 which means they could technically get a software update to do the same. Like danwatson said though, voice calls would be a whole lot less reliable without a CDMA backup.

7. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Roger's just introduced volt lte and the people with lte voice call devices couldn't make phone calls for a whole day. Unless Verizon cares about HTC, I have a feeling this is going to turn out horrible HTC style. Lol

9. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Verizon still use 2G CDMA for all non-VoLTE voice calls? VoLTE is great, but it only activates if the person you're calling is also using VoLTE. You can't receive a VoLTE call with a landline. So how is this A9 "fully compatible"?

11. 4ringsnbr

Posts: 8; Member since: Oct 20, 2015

When you set your calls for VoLTE, all your calls are carried via LTE. Only if the recipient is also using VoLTE will the phone negotiate to the higher quality AMR-WB 12.25 kbps vocoder for "HD Voice". If you're calling a landline or a 3G (CDMA 2000 1xRTT) user or other carrier phone user, the call is still transported over LTE if you're in an LTE area, but won't use the higher quality codec. There is a difference between VoLTE and HD Voice.

13. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Ah. That does clear things up. So are all my calls now going over LTE, or only the HD Voice calls? Because I only notice a difference in quality if I'm calling another HD Voice line. I would have thought there would be some compression on my end in either case.

15. 4ringsnbr

Posts: 8; Member since: Oct 20, 2015

Yes-- the HD voice takes BOTH phones to use that codec. Otherwise, you're call is still on LTE, but will use the AMR-NB (narrowband) codec rather than the wideband one since it has to be either sent to a POTS phone or to a 1x phone (which would use the EVRC vocoder like all others). That's why if you have VoLTE on and you leave an LTE service area while on the phone (regardless of whom the recipient is), the call would drop as you lose LTE service.

10. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

If Rogers took a whole day to get volt LTE working for the 6s and GS6. I wouldn't be surprised if they took 3 months to get it working on the A9. Lol

12. 4ringsnbr

Posts: 8; Member since: Oct 20, 2015

Actually, the Sony Xperia Z3 compact (D5803) now with its 5.1.1 upgrade (which includes VoLTE) would be compatible with Verizon but lacks the CDMA radio, and it was released last year.

14. cbfphonearena unregistered

"... you'll have to activate a CDMA phone, then take that SIM and feed it to the One A9." Uh, take what SIM out of my CDMA phone??

16. 4ringsnbr

Posts: 8; Member since: Oct 20, 2015

Any Verizon phone since about 2011. The current phones (Moto X, Droid Turbo, Galaxy S6, etc.) all have CDMA AND LTE and have a SIM that authenticates them on the Verizon network. If you get a new phone, you can just move that SIM into a new phone to switch to it (assuming it's the same size SIM, i.e. nano vs. micro vs. mini).

17. bigboss3rm

Posts: 5; Member since: Oct 24, 2015

I spoke with a Verizon repr. That told me that the HTC a9 would work with their 2g and 3 g he said he was positive but I don't know I'd he knew whT he was talking about. But he was the third repr to tell me the same .

18. niteiknight

Posts: 74; Member since: Aug 02, 2012

Wait, so they can't make a CDMA version of this phone for Verizon, but they can do so for Sprint?? How on Earth does that make any amount of sense?

19. bigboss3rm

Posts: 5; Member since: Oct 24, 2015

I did speak with HTC and Verizon both are telling me they will have a cdma Verizon phone sometime in December. If you get on the Verizon cummunity you can see my communication the represents. Even sent me an link that shows the HTC one A9 specs for network 2 the cdma bands are there

Latest Stories