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  • Throttled iPhone Versus Non-Throttled iPhone: You Might As Well Be Using Edge

    AppAdvice Daily does an interesting test on a throttled iPhone 4S versus a non-throttled iPhone 4S to compare speeds.

    Today we are looking at two identical iPhone 4S's. They are both on the AT&T network using the same 3G network. The only difference is that one device is throttled and the other is not. Throttling is the process where a cellular provider punishes you for using too much data by slowing down your data speeds tremendously. The video above, filmed by AppAdvice Daily, shows us the major difference between the data speeds of bring both throttled and non-throttled.

    The throttling causes not just a speed decrease, but a major one. AT&T throttles the top 5% of data users to help persuade them that using extreme amounts of data is not recommended so that the bandwidth isn't decreased. The ones that use the most data are the ones who are grandfathered into the unlimited data plans. Yes, if you're a grandfathered unlimited data user, AT&T hates you. They want to make sure that they can persuade you to use their capped data plans. Throttling is one way that they do this. If you're capped and you go over their caps, they make money off of you, where being unlimited, they do not.

    While people will argue that throttling isn't that big of a difference from regular data, that's completely false. The throttling actually makes your download speeds almost equivalent to 2G/E (Edge) speeds. The upload speeds don't seem to be affected as much, although the numbers do show that the upload speed is limited just a little bit. Upload speeds were never high to begin with, so limiting them wouldn't really make too much sense. In case you were wondering how 2G speeds compare with the throttled 3G speeds, here is an image of a speed test done on my iPhone with AT&T's 2G network with a full signal:



    Your data speeds are going to be heavily affected if you're throttling; so much so that I would even recommend turning off 3G to use the 2G radio until your throttle is up. It will save battery and your applications will probably load more effectively. When you have the 3G radio on, applications such as YouTube assume that you're on 3G and load videos in medium quality. That will take forever on throttled 3G. If you're on 2G, YouTube will load the video in low quality, so it will load faster. So if you're throttled, you might as well use 2G. Applications are optimized to run on whatever radio they are working off of.

    As you can see in the video above, the Maps application takes forever to render images on the throttled 3G network. The speed difference isn't just a slight peck off of your speeds, it's a tremendous drop that will aggravate you if you're trying to load something. At this point in time, both AT&T and Verizon throttle their users, but Sprint does not (unless you are using data roaming). If you want to avoid throttling altogether, Sprint is the way to go. You shouldn't be throttled though, if you're not using unheard of amounts of cellular data.

    Have you been throttled or know someone who has been throttled before? Tell us about it in the comments.

    Sources: AppAdvice via 9to5Mac
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Throttled iPhone Versus Non-Throttled iPhone: You Might As Well Be Using Edge started by Anthony Bouchard View original post
    Comments 77 Comments
    1. JustOne!'s Avatar
      JustOne! -
      At&t caps home Internet now...so much for wifi...
    1. versatilias's Avatar
      versatilias -
      Quote Originally Posted by wirelessdeo View Post
      Any idea on what sort of data usage is needed to get capped? I normally use about 4gb a month and I have yet to get any warnings....what is needed to be in the top 5%????
      i used 2 gigs and got the 5% warning... was throttled a couple months back...
      seriously not happy about what att is doing to my grandfathered in unlimited data plan!!!

      i listen to pandora 8 hours a day at work.
      mon through fri.

      some web browsing on here and gizmodo.
      nothing else. i do not tether my iphone.
    1. Tizocman's Avatar
      Tizocman -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      Some people go well beyond 25GB.
      i have use around 30 gigs in a month when i was teathered using mywi to and have never got a throttle so ethier they didnt notice/care or some people are using way more
    1. metaserph's Avatar
      metaserph -
      I'm grandfathered unlimited and got a notice to stop tethering after 5 consecutive months of 10gb+ useage but never got throttled since I stopped.
    1. mickey@sattlers.org's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      If you're grandfathered into unlimited data, then you're not capped... Since you're unlimited, you don't have any caps to worry about.
      This is completely wrong -- I'm an iPhone 1 unlimited customer who just got throttled for the month of Dec, 2011. Please don't spread this kind of misinformation, even well-intentioned, any more. Everyone is subject to being throttled.

      In my case it was an all-night Skype call that went from WiFi to cellular without me noticing, using a lot of data :-/ Sadly there's no way to tell Skype to be WiFi-only, so I'm not using it anymore.
    1. Kory569's Avatar
      Kory569 -
      I got throttled on December 25 for using 5GB when billing cycle started on 22nd. AT&T needs to be able to track data using faster like they do for texting and minutes. AT&T is still letting me get an iPhone 4S on a new 2 year contract with "unlimited" data. If they don't want you to have unlimited data stop they need offering it on new contracts.
    1. Donnutt's Avatar
      Donnutt -
      I hear what you are all saying, but frankly am glad AT&T is throttling the top 5%. I am a heavy iPhone user and jailbreaker, buy I hardly ever go over 2gb for the month. I use pandora a lot, but don't stream Netflix unless I am on a long train ride. And, if I have the occasional overage, I don't care! Ten bucks isn't enough to get worked up about. Not when I'm already paying $5 less a month than the "unlimited" users.
    1. RoloDiva13's Avatar
      RoloDiva13 -
      Quote Originally Posted by zeroGsti View Post
      This is totally garbage! I have unlimited data but now I'm limited? I called them to complain and they just said that the network is to congested with the unlimited people that the newer users cant get the same speeds. I say they should just invest in towers and not make it our fault that their network sucks...
      Uh recall the TMo bid? AT&T tried that but a bunch of TMo whiners and ne'er-do-well DOJ/FCC a_holes thought it would "hurt consumers" (rme). Apparently no one BUT AT&T cared about their current customers suffering on their congested network. Now, we're stuck waiting on them to find another way to get wireless spectrum.

      Quote Originally Posted by Kory569 View Post
      I got throttled on December 25 for using 5GB when billing cycle started on 22nd. AT&T needs to be able to track data using faster like they do for texting and minutes. AT&T is still letting me get an iPhone 4S on a new 2 year contract with "unlimited" data. If they don't want you to have unlimited data stop they need offering it on new contracts.
      Careful what u wish for.

      Just for the record, though, they don't offer it for new contracts on smartphones. If you already have it they simply don't force u to remove it. New customers and ppl that never had it in the 1st place can't add it just 'cuz they re-upped the contract. That's called "loyalty" that ppl around here are crying about. I'm sure it would've solved all their problems if Big Blue had just told everyone before the 3G iPhone "if u want the phone you'll go to tiered data" but how many of us would've b1tched and moaned about THAT??

      Personally I don't want AT&T forcing me off of a plan just becos there are greedy ppl thinking they can use an iPhone like home Internet and rack up dozens of GBs a month.
    1. iBwizzle's Avatar
      iBwizzle -
      I wish all you iDiots shut up... Vote with your wallet!!!
    1. Greatbiguns's Avatar
      Greatbiguns -
      Quote Originally Posted by GunHo198 View Post
      Basically. AT&T is punishing everyone that has an unlimited data plan. Even though we are long term, loyal customers... You'd think with as much completion in the industry, a company like AT&T would treat there customers better...
      WTF? AT&T, I mean REALLY?
    1. camperchuck's Avatar
      camperchuck -
      i have two phones on unlimited data. started off with both being iphones, jailbroken and we tether. we both used 10-20gb, sometimes more of data and had no warnings. few months ago one phone was switched to a samsung skyrocket, has the "4g" radio. data was smoking fast. not to long after purchasing the phone the user got warnings around 2gb of usage, and shortly after they get throttled. the iphone on the other hand still uses major amounts of data and has no warnings what so ever. doesn't make any sense to me.
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      It's normally for people that use 3G for ridiculous situations and use more than 25GB of data per month. You're not even close to being throttled at 3GB.
      May I ask where you got this information? There are people getting hit with the throttle right around 2GB. There is a long and ongoing thread on Macrumors and I don't think a single person that was hit with the cap was getting anywhere near 25GB a month. I would say that there are a larger number of people reporting getting hit with the throttle at 2GB than those going substantially over.
    1. RoloDiva13's Avatar
      RoloDiva13 -
      Hey guys, it could be worse. Just be glad u aren't on VZW where you are throttled not only thru the current cycle but also the NEXT MONTH as well. (And if u are...well, grass ain't so green, is it?)

      I found this article from Aug 2011 that has some interesting bits about the lack of transparency regarding VZW's and AT&T's throttling practices:
      http://articles.cnn.com/2011-08-03/t...t-t?_s=PM:TECH
    1. kpace1's Avatar
      kpace1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by sziklassy View Post
      May I ask where you got this information? There are people getting hit with the throttle right around 2GB. There is a long and ongoing thread on Macrumors and I don't think a single person that was hit with the cap was getting anywhere near 25GB a month. I would say that there are a larger number of people reporting getting hit with the throttle at 2GB than those going substantially over.
      I agree, I'm Grandfathered in and really don't use much 3G and got that throttling text and i was barely over 2GB. They're just trying to get as many people off unlimited as they can, theyre focusing on all unlimited users not just the ones who use ridiculous amounts. I came across an app onavo on the appstore. It claims to shrink your data so your able to use it longer without going over any capped data. I cant help repeat what ive read alot of people say already.. its a shame this is how att treats theyre loyal customers
    1. camperchuck's Avatar
      camperchuck -
      Everyone's getting data caps and data throttling mixed up. please make sure you use the right terminology because I am noticing a lot of miscommunication because of it.
    1. jluna193's Avatar
      jluna193 -
      Quote Originally Posted by BenderRodriguez View Post
      Is that all?

      Lol I got up to 40.86 Mbps download
      7.44upload on my WiFi at home of course I'm paying for 50mbps download
      Thats it?! I get that on my galaxy S2 skyrocket lol it does 60mbps D and 20mbps U gotta love LTE and i got a grandfathered plan and i got throttled even faster it wasnt even the 15th of the month

      Quote Originally Posted by Dranon View Post
      I'm on the other side of the fence! I lost my unlimited plan because they said I tethered my phone back in November. I just got my 4S and they slammed me into the 4gb tethering plan!! I have never used over 2gb of data and most months barely use 1bg!! I argued with them to no avail. I guess I really do not care because I do not use so much data but getting slammed with the tethering plan is jus ridiculous!!
      that sucks for you they did the same thing to me BUT i stuck a pipe with glass back up their asses cuz i got that unlimited plan right back gotta love the iphone 2g thats all i gotta say