Discussions about Apple making a “World Phone” iPhone that could take advantage of both GSM and CDMA networks predates the launch of the Verizon iPhone. Yet while both the Verizon iPhone and the iPad 2 already feature the necessary chipsets, the iPhone 5 might be the first device to really take advantage of the hardware feature.
According to Techcrunch, some developers are already noticing iPhone 5s in their usage logs, most likely from Apple testing their apps on the new device. What struck them as unusual, however, is that the devices seem to indicate they can use both AT&T’s and Verizon’s networks:
The logs show that the app has been briefly tested by a handful of people using what is almost certainly an iPhone 5, evidently running iOS 5, sporting two distinct sets of mobile network codes (MNC) / mobile country codes (MCC). Those codes can be used to uniquely identify mobile carriers.
Sure enough, some registrations for the app – which the developer also asked not to be named – were logged from a new Apple device, using the MNC/MCC codes from both Verizon and AT&T.
This is not the first time that in-app analytics reveal an upcoming Apple device ahead of time. Flurry famously revealed the iPad before its release, which caused a fury in Cupertino. Of course, in this case, the revelation isn’t as major.
As we said earlier, the CDMA iPhone and GSM/CDMA iPad 2 already carry the necessary chipsets to make this possible. However, none of the devices are wired to take advantage of both networks. That is, they’re factory-built to use one or the other network. If, as reported, the next iPhone is a “World Phone”, Apple would be free to decide which network each device will use at the point of sale, and possibly, you’ll have the possibility to roam from one network to the other.
Yet, note that most devices are sold sim-locked, and on contract, so don’t think you’ll be able to easily roam from network to network any time. On the other hand for travelers, in particular Verizon customer going to Europe, the iPhone 5 might finally give you the chance to roam on GSM networks. Also, once your contract runs out in some countries, or if you buy your device unlocked, you might finally be free to change networks and sell it more easily.
Either way, the real impact of this change remains to be seen.