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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. Kil0111's Avatar
      Kil0111 -
      Soo I'm grandfathered in to unlimited data and I'm not sure what numbers to look at to tell if I'm capped or not...?
    1. wirelessdeo's Avatar
      wirelessdeo -
      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%????
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kil0111 View Post
      Soo I'm grandfathered in to unlimited data and I'm not sure what numbers to look at to tell if I'm capped or not...?
      If you're grandfathered into unlimited data, then you're not capped. AT&T's new data plans such as the 256MB cap and 2GB cap mean that if you go over 256MB or 2GB then they can charge you for overages. Since you're unlimited, you don't have any caps to worry about.
    1. vantheman169's Avatar
      vantheman169 -
      If AT&T throttles your account. You should be given the option to drop your data plan altogether. no point in even having internet at those speeds.
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      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%????
      Some people go well beyond 25GB.
    1. The6uest's Avatar
      The6uest -
      For those who have been throttled, how much data did you use before being throttled? So far I haven't been and I use 3+gb a month typically.
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by The6uest View Post
      For those who have been throttled, how much data did you use before being throttled? So far I haven't been and I use 3+gb a month typically.
      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.
    1. JazJon's Avatar
      JazJon -
      This is total garbage. I can't even stream my favorite radio station without it buffering over and over. What's the use of even having unlimited data at all at this point??????????
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by JazJon View Post
      This is total garbage. I can't even stream my favorite radio station without it buffering over and over. What's the use of even having unlimited data at all at this point??????????
      Another thing is that throttling isn't permanent.

      So after you've sat in the corner for using too much data, you will be granted the use of regular data after an amount of time.
    1. Kil0111's Avatar
      Kil0111 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      If you're grandfathered into unlimited data, then you're not capped. AT&T's new data plans such as the 256MB cap and 2GB cap mean that if you go over 256MB or 2GB then they can charge you for overages. Since you're unlimited, you don't have any caps to worry about.
      Woops! Sorry I meant throttled not capped. Just ran SpeedTest and I'm DLing 0.46mbps Uping at 1.00mbps and ping at 118ms. Notice any abnormalities? Running Att 4s
    1. patoons's Avatar
      patoons -
      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%????
      since it goes by top percent, it's technically impossible to tell what data usage you'd have to use to get throttled without knowing what every unlimited data user uses and figuring out the top 5% of that. unlimited users unite, let's chew up data all day to bring that ceiling nice and high!!
    1. DoWoRkSoN's Avatar
      DoWoRkSoN -
      I have AT&T and i have unlimited data. Just last month I got stuck getting throttled for half the month. I barely hit 2GB of data usage before they started to slow down my speed. They don't do this for the regular data plans just the unlimited data users. They didn't want to admit it but I know they just want their unlimited data users to go to a regular 2GB plan. They know this offenders that are using unlimited data and go over 2GB mean extra cash flow for them so they can charge them for going over 2GB of data if they have a capped plan. Total BS by AT&T....I'm already thinking of not renewing with them and go give my money to verizon instead.
    1. buttrr76's Avatar
      buttrr76 -
      Quote Originally Posted by DoWoRkSoN View Post
      I have AT&T and i have unlimited data. Just last month I got stuck getting throttled for half the month. I barely hit 2GB of data usage before they started to slow down my speed. They don't do this for the regular data plans just the unlimited data users. They didn't want to admit it but I know they just want their unlimited data users to go to a regular 2GB plan. They know this offenders that are using unlimited data and go over 2GB mean extra cash flow for them so they can charge them for going over 2GB of data if they have a capped plan. Total BS by AT&T....I'm already thinking of not renewing with them and go give my money to verizon instead.
      You do know verizon has caps as well. and verizon has the slower iphone 4s...
    1. BenderRodriguez's Avatar
      BenderRodriguez -
      I just ran the test and got 4-5mb/ps download and 1mb/ps download on 3G running iOS5.0.1 ip4s
      AT&T unlimited plan
    1. GunHo198's Avatar
      GunHo198 -
      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...
    1. Kil0111's Avatar
      Kil0111 -
      Quote Originally Posted by BenderRodriguez View Post
      I just ran the test and got 4-5mb/ps download and 1mb/ps download on 3G running iOS5.0.1 ip4s
      AT&T unlimited plan
      I think north jersey just sucks with AT&T so I'm just going to wait till I get back home down south.
    1. Emalesean's Avatar
      Emalesean -
      AT&T throttled me at 2gb! They say it depends where you live and I'm in NYC. I can't even watch a YouTube video. If I wanted to watch 2 movies on net flix I would b over my 2gb. That's how easy it is to go over. There is no way 2gb is in the top 5% of users. I told AT&T that I wanted to cancel and that I did not sign up for this throttling s*** and the said I still had to pay the cancel fee
    1. Hillefied's Avatar
      Hillefied -
      Quote Originally Posted by patoons View Post
      since it goes by top percent, it's technically impossible to tell what data usage you'd have to use to get throttled without knowing what every unlimited data user uses and figuring out the top 5% of that. unlimited users unite, let's chew up data all day to bring that ceiling nice and high!!
      This is accurate and logical. The top 5% of folks using loads of data can vary significantly because this top 5% is only derived from those who are grandfathered unlimited data plans. Also, this top 5% does not include AT&T's latest tiered data plans, only unlimited plans. Grandfathered plans are down to less than one eighth of all AT&T data plans combined, so that's a small pool to begin with.

      What AT&T told me is that more than 5% of high bandwidth users are being throttled once they surpass the mid-billing period average. I'd throw some assumptive numbers out there, but suffice it to say, the numbered of throttled unlimited data users far exceeds 5% and in my opinion, may be as high as 35% to 50% of all unlimited data users. Even those using much less than 4GB of bandwidth per billing period.

      This is a complete assumption and IMHO (In My Humble Opinion).

      Assuming any of this turns out to be true, I, for one, apologize for being a person who uses an undisclosed large amount of bandwidth.
    1. smoothcreak's Avatar
      smoothcreak -
      Ok so for those of you asking when can you be throttled I will tell you. First AT&T will send you a text saying you are approaching the top 5% of AT&T users and that your data speeds may be reduced. Then if you kept up your usage you will get a text saying that you have been slowed down until your next billing cycle. An what I have found is they start to throttle around 10gb a month. I am usually right aroun that and have been throttled for the past 5 months in a row.
    1. 0Milk0's Avatar
      0Milk0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by buttrr76 View Post
      You do know verizon has caps as well. and verizon has the slower iphone 4s...
      Crap sucks man cause even though Sprint is the only truly "unlimited" the 3G speeds they have imo don't compare to AT&T's 3G speeds...