I was informed by multiple people at T-Mobile that having a strong data connection doesn't necessarily mean a strong voice connection, but that confused me and I'm not sure if they're right. So how do the two relate? If there's strong LTE and weak EDGE would the iPhone show full bars or low bars, and would that tell you both how good the voice and data signal is or just one of those?

  • EDGE is a data service and is not used for voice calls. Same for LTE (currently). – tubedogg Sep 8 '13 at 5:41

The bars on the phone are representation for Voice signals. A full bar will mean you will have the clear calls, on the other hand, the data can be seen by the type of Data service you are getting, LTE,3G(WCDMA),H or 3.5G(HSPA) and E(EDGE). Despite having the full connection bars you may have an E(For EDGE) which may give a slower network connection. It's the same thing the other way round as well, Despite getting a LTE network you may not be getting full bars, It depends on the Network tower you are connected to, the data it supports. Generally near the areas with people using less Internet over the network the companies put up towers which are good for voice signals.

  • So for example if a network shows a signal map showing strong 4G/LTE and weak 2G/EDGE, then a 2G phone would get the same number of bars for voice as the LTE phone? – kal-al Oct 1 '13 at 20:08
  • As mentioned above in a comment on your question by tubedogg, both EDGE and LTE are types of data services. A 2G or a 4G phone will have the same number of bars depending on the signal strength of the network. – killswitch Oct 1 '13 at 20:23

Every phone only uses one antenna at a time, so, if you see the LTE icon on the statusbar, that means that it's connected on a LTE signal only, so, it goes for the voice and data signal.

  • That makes sense, but what about @tubedogg 's comment that EDGE and LTE are only for data, not voice? Also someone at T-Mobile told me that the maps for voice and data reception should be separate. How do you know when you're going to get good voice or good data? – kal-al Sep 8 '13 at 17:02
  • To add to the answer of Demon Xdrag,iPhone's have 2 separate antennas, one for Wifi, and Bluetooth and the other for GSM and UTMS(Data Service) Check here as a part of the iPhone 4 keynote images.anandtech.com/reviews/gadgets/apple/iPhone4/… – killswitch Oct 1 '13 at 20:36
  • @killswitch Well does the iPhone connect to LTE for both voice and data or not? I know EDGE and LTE can have different towers so if it uses the LTE tower for voice it might have more bars than a phone that can only get EDGE. Am I confusing something? – kal-al Oct 1 '13 at 21:42
  • EDGE, and LTE can be transmitted from the same BTS (Tower), it's the type of Connection between the BTS and the Cellular company that determines the bandwidth which determines if it is LTE or GPRS. The voice on the other hand uses a different hardware. For Example, imagine a USB internet modem, You can connect to the internet depending on you are on LTE coverage or EGDE or GPRS, but you can not call with all the modems. There are a few special Modems using which you can even call these use a different bandwidth for the calling. – killswitch Oct 1 '13 at 23:32

tubedogg was right..EDGE is only a Data signal and doesn't support voice calls. same goes with LTE as well, momentarily LTE voice calls have not come into existence except few operators from US, UK & china. Apparently there are different signal strengths for Voice & Data signals and are clearly indicated on your latest smartphones. Voice signals & Data signals use circuit switching & Packet switching respectively and their transmission process are completely different.

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