updated 08:00 am EDT, Sat October 9, 2010
Verizon says simultaneous voice and data coming
Verizon late Friday indirectly confirmed some of the rumors swirling around the CDMA iPhone's ability to handle simultaneous voice and data. Executive Brian Higgins mentioned that the company was working on a way of overcoming CDMA's inherent limit on data, which prevents the EVDO 3G conection from running at the same time. He didn't give the WSJ a timetable for when it would be ready.
Although not mentioned by name, the technique would involve Voice over Revision A, or VoRA. The technique puts calls on EVDO Revision A alongside data and gives it behavior similar to HSPA 3G on a network like AT&T's or T-Mobile's. Some Verizon phones, such as the BlackBerry Tour or G'zOne Ravine, already use EVDO for push-to-talk calls.
The network adaptation is informally considered important to the iPhone's launch on Verizon early next year. AT&T's ability to support simultaneous data and voice on 3G has been a key selling point for the iPhone that has turned up in TV ads. VoRA would immediately close that gap and play to the iPhone's strength in multitasking during a call.
In the future, 3G will be a non-issue as the eventual adoption of LTE-based 4G will solve the technical issues. LTE doesn't have its voice standard finalized but will allow CDMA to work unimpeded and should also allow simultaneous voice over LTE when ready.