Apple may have only announced two versions of the new iPhone 5, CDMA and GSM, but some sharp folks have pointed out that there are actually three different versions of the handset.

As it turns out, fragmented LTE technology has forced the company to manufacture not one, but two different versions of the GSM iPhone, in addition to the CDMA one. Here’s why…

GigaOM has done the legwork here, and has determined that AT&T seems to be the culprit for why Apple had to produce two versions of the GSM iPhone 5. The carrier’s LTE band configurations match up perfectly with one of the models, and are unlike any other in the world.

Conversely, the other GSM iPhone will work with both Asian and European carriers.¬†Unfortunately, on the European side, it doesn’t look good for folks outside of UK’s Everything Everywhere and a handful of other networks. The big 2.6GHz and 800 MHz bands aren’t supported.

The CDMA iPhone 5 sounds like the one to get though. It supports both CDMA and GSM networks, as well as odd bands. Similar to the Verizon LTE iPad, it should work worldwide.

It’s interesting that Apple decided to split up the iPhone into three versions this year, but as GigaOM notes, it could have huge implications for future handsets and products:

“If Apple has gotten over its reluctance to split the iPhone supply chain, it could mean it could start making iPhones for carriers it has previously ignored such as China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo and, yes, even T-Mobile.”

If you want to find out whether or not the iPhone 5 will support your carrier’s technology, be sure to check out our iPhone 5 by the numbers post. It has all of the supported bands and such.

  • Does this mean I should buy a Verizon iPhone 5 and use it on AT&T’s network… if I was going to buy one this year… and if I wanted to travel all over the globe like a boss. And if I wanted to pay full price for an unlocked iPhone 5.

    thats a lot of if’s


  • Why even make a specific GSM model for AT&T if the CDMA model covers most networks?

  • I was considering switching from ATT to VZW because it supports more networks but a) I DREAD losing LTE on verizon and being bumped down to it’s 3G and b) it doesn’t make sense to care about overseas unless I’ll be abroad for over a month or so – just use an older phone or buy an international plan

  • This is where standards and government regulation should come in.

  • I wonder if the AT&T gsm version will run on Verizon’s lte network? That would be awesome

  • rohta

    This makes me wonder, how Apple will sell the factory unlocked versions? So, despite you don’t have a two-year contract attached to the phone, you will still be forced to choose and stay in one carrier? Argh…

  • Does the verizon CDMA model work with at&t LTE cause I noticed that it doesn’t have the 4 and 17 bands

  • LTE “Standards”