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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. Shad0wM0nk3y's Avatar
      Shad0wM0nk3y -
      And this is why my wife is lucky and is with Sprint (truly unlimited). I am with AT&T and have a crappy 2GB. If it wasn't for wifi I would never be able to use my phone. I go over every single month.2GB is a joke!!
    1. Emalesean's Avatar
      Emalesean -
      Quote Originally Posted by smoothcreak View Post
      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.

      It goes by where u live I'm only at 2gb and I'm throttled to .09 mbs
    1. Shad0wM0nk3y's Avatar
      Shad0wM0nk3y -
      Quote Originally Posted by 0Milk0 View Post
      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...
      My wife and I both have 4's. She is on Sprint and I am on AT&T. Hers is just as fast as mine when it comes to 3G speeds.
    1. luvmytj's Avatar
      luvmytj -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kil0111 View Post
      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
      You are kidding right? I thought I got a whiff of sarcasm simmering in the pot.

      Using iPhone 4S, grandfathered unlimited plan:
      With a 3G connection I get 5.50 Mbps download & .83 Mbps upload on AT&T.
      With my wi-fi connection it pegs the meter & I get 22.50 Mbps download
      & 5.10 Mbps upload with Time Warner Road Runner wideband.
    1. Emalesean's Avatar
      Emalesean -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shad0wM0nk3y View Post
      My wife and I both have 4's. She is on Sprint and I am on AT&T. Hers is just as fast as mine when it comes to 3G speeds.
      It all depends on where u r,, and r u running a speed test?
    1. 0Milk0's Avatar
      0Milk0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by smoothcreak View Post
      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.

      That would be this dreaded text message... FML
    1. draztikbeast's Avatar
      draztikbeast -
      At&t throttled my data. I can still use pandora. But sometimes it skips. Hopefully someone in the jb community make an app that will overcome this. At&t should not treat grandfathered users like this. They should thank us for having them this long. IMHO
    1. tudtran's Avatar
      tudtran -
      I got throttled last month. i used 33.2 GB. It SUCK. I don't have wifi at home. Took forever to sent email or get any work done. I even lost an auction.
    1. DoWoRkSoN's Avatar
      DoWoRkSoN -
      Quote Originally Posted by buttrr76 View Post
      You do know verizon has caps as well. and verizon has the slower iphone 4s...
      Yeah well AT&T is not taking care of their loyal customers that have been with them for years like myself. If I'm going to be paying for service I would like to be treated right, not like they don't care about their clients..
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      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
      You mean 4-5mb/s download and 1mb/s upload?
    1. DoWoRkSoN's Avatar
      DoWoRkSoN -
      Quote Originally Posted by smoothcreak View Post
      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.
      Lies because I got throttle after just hitting 2GB....they lie about that!
    1. BenderRodriguez's Avatar
      BenderRodriguez -
      Quote Originally Posted by luvmytj View Post
      You are kidding right? I thought I got a whiff of sarcasm simmering in the pot.

      Using iPhone 4S, grandfathered unlimited plan:
      With a 3G connection I get 5.50 Mbps download & .83 Mbps upload on AT&T.
      With my wi-fi connection it pegs the meter & I get 22.50 Mbps download
      & 5.10 Mbps upload with Time Warner Road Runner wideband.
      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
    1. Dranon's Avatar
      Dranon -
      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!!
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      Ha! This explains why my mom is always complaining that the iPhone 4S is slower than her old Motorola Droid - she's on Verizon and was grandfathered into unlimited data. Bastards.
    1. zeroGsti's Avatar
      zeroGsti -
      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??????????

      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. I just stream Pandora in my car and I got the throttle text.... Sprint is sounded good these days...
    1. 0Milk0's Avatar
      0Milk0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by draztikbeast View Post
      At&t throttled my data. I can still use pandora. But sometimes it skips. Hopefully someone in the jb community make an app that will overcome this. At&t should not treat grandfathered users like this. They should thank us for having them this long. IMHO
      I don't think it will be possible because AT&T specifically targets you and throttles your speeds...
    1. GeoffS4's Avatar
      GeoffS4 -
      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...?
      It depends your general location, however watching the video will give you a bit of a clue.
    1. xLeejin's Avatar
      xLeejin -
      After I used 10GB for the month of December, I was throttled. I was getting a pretty consistant 3-4 Mbps with my iPhone 4. After throtteling, I was a consistent .13 Mbps Download Speed. What an atrocity. How can we be moving backwards in technology?? I thought it was moving forward. I am sooo pissed.

      So I called At&T, told them that I wanted to cancel my service (Still in Contract), and I REFUSED to pay my ETF (Early Termination Fee). The operator said she didn't blame me and was willing to void the fee.

      I held off canceling, because I'm waiting for the new iPhone to come out.
    1. The6uest's Avatar
      The6uest -
      So it looks like they should change it to "the top 5% in your area" instead since some are throttled at 2gb while others at 10+gb.

      Luckily I don't live in a big city and can get 3-5gb without being throttled yet still get up to 9Mbps downloads.. although that's only in the middle of the night or early morning.
    1. waroftyr's Avatar
      waroftyr -
      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%????
      To answer your question, I got top 5% this month and last month. Last month when I got it I was just before 5gb. I got it again two nights ago and I'm at 2.31 gb. My data speed now is 0.04 mbps. Needless to say I'm going to be on the phone with AT&T tonight till I get something done because 2.34gb shouldn't be top 5%