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I am quite confused about GSM and CDMA models of iPhone 5s.

Please read this in Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_5S:

Connectivityof iPhone 5S

List All models:

GSM model (A1533)
LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25: 2100, 1900, 1800, AWS, 850, 900, 700c, 700b, 800 MHz, 800 DD).

CDMA model (A1533)
UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (1700/2100 MHz), CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz), (except China model:)LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25: 2100, 1900, 1800, AWS, 850, 900, 700c, 700b, 800 MHz, 800 DD).

CDMA model (A1453)
UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (1700/2100 MHz), CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz), LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26: 2100, 1900, 1800, AWS, 850, 900, 700c, 700b, 800 MHz, 800 DD).

GSM model (A1457)
LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20: 2100, 1900, 1800, 850, 2600, 900 MHz, 800 DD).

GSM model (A1518)
TDD-LTE, TD-SCDMA[6]

GSM model (A1528)
LTE (unofficial)

GSM model (A1530)
LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 38, 39, 40: 2100, 1900, 1800, 850, 2600, 900 MHz, 800 DD, TD 2600, 1900, 2300), (with software operator version China Mobile 15.6 or above:) TD-SCDMA

Why doesn't Apple make iPhone 5s to be "world phone" like iPhone 4s. World phone means it can use for any network in the world whether CDMA or GSM.

If they can't make Worl Phone, then at least they should create 2 models only. 1 for GSM & 1 for CDMA.

However, surprisingly, iPhone 5s has so many different models. It has 5 different models for GSM? so Does that also mean 5 different iphone 5s with 5 different hardwares?

Likewise, it has 2 different models for CDMA.

Why it has so many different models for the same network. Before that they only have 1 or 2 or max 3 models (iPhone 5).

The big question.

What if you buy the wrong model (even for the same network)? For example, I am a user & I just roughly know that my carrier using GSM, then:

How do I know which model (A1533, A1457, A1518, A1528, A1530) to chose?

Very confused? or Apple is trying to confuse the ones who buy the unlocked phone so that they can make more $$ from contract with carrier?

How to make sure I buy the right one.

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In a word, the problem is 4G. There are simply too many different 4G frequency bands for any one phone to support them all -- the iPhone 4s doesn't support 4G at all, and so it doesn't have this problem. The iPhone 5s has to have different models that support the frequencies used in different parts of the world.

If you don't care about 4G and just want GSM or CDMA, then this shouldn't matter to you. You can just buy any GSM or CDMA model, and it will work just as well as the iPhone 4s GSM or CDMA model.

If you do care about 4G, then look at this page and pick the model that supports the 4G network that you plan to use it on.

  • why can't Apple incoporate all 4G bands into 1 model? So the hardware of different iPhone 5s' models is different for different 4G Bands? – Tim May 28 '14 at 14:02
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    Because there aren't any 4G chipsets that support all the bands, and adding several different chipsets to every phone would increase the size, cost and power consumption too much. – Mike Scott May 28 '14 at 14:11
  • If Apple put (say) six chipsets, allowing the use of all CDMA and GSM bands/modes, as well as all LTE bands, then the iPhone would be bigger and heavier, and the battery would not last as long. And for 99%+ of customers, they do not need the additional complexity. – Scott Earle May 28 '14 at 14:27
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This is only a problem if you are buying the phone (unlocked) in another country from the one you want to use it in.

If you are buying the phone in the same country that you intend to use it, then all you have to do is see which model of phone is sold by the carrier with which you intend to use the phone, and then buy that same model.

If you are in a different country, ask someone to visit a shop in the country where you intend to use the phone, and check the models sold for your intended carrier.

I suspect that the real reason is not to somehow punish and confuse potential customers (they really don't want you to buy the wrong one, despite how it feels to you now), but is more to do with available chipsets for the various LTE bands.

  • For the record, the phone I have here in Thailand (where all mobile phones must sold unlocked, by law) is the A1530. – Scott Earle May 28 '14 at 13:30
  • DO u 100% sure the Unlocked iphone will work in any GSM network in the world? If the unlocked model can work for any GSM carriers then why GSM carriers still have their own model? So the different among GSM model is just firmware not hardware right? – Tim May 28 '14 at 13:51
  • also If u r living in US for example & u r using CDMA/Verizon & now u move to Thailand & will live in Thailand for long time. Then will u throw ur phone? – Tim May 28 '14 at 13:59
  • For the phones to have different model numbers, I would assume that their hardware is different. Also, if I were changing the country where I live, I would do research to find out which models worked with which carriers. If no carriers supported my model, I would sell it (there is a strong second-hand market for unlocked phones) and buy a model that was supported. – Scott Earle May 28 '14 at 14:24

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