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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. eballesq's Avatar
      eballesq -
      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'm at 4.5 download and 1.06 upload with same hardware. Safe to say we're not throttled.
    1. iPittsburgh's Avatar
      iPittsburgh -
      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. The tiered plan data allotments are a joke, unless you're on wifi at home, work, and most places you go to.

      I just got 1.5 down and .4 up with my i4 on 5.0.1, 4/5 signal bars, speedtest.net app, just over 3gb of unlim.

      I used to average about 20gb during the mywi days until at&t cracked down on tethering. IMO if you pay for data then you should be able to use it as you please.
    1. JacquesChirac's Avatar
      JacquesChirac -
      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.
      nah dude at&t throttles you at 2gb. You're paying $5 extra a month for unlimited garbage internet after your first 2gb of mediocre 3G internet. Sprint does something similar (in that it has plans where your first amount of data is fast and then the rest of it is slow) except they are more open and clear about what they do to their customers.
    1. p1mpdog1's Avatar
      p1mpdog1 -
      still if you have unlimited data or not after a certain point of data use like over 50GB in a month they will throttle you off unlimited or not.
    1. Silverado1987's Avatar
      Silverado1987 -
      I think I'm being throttled I did 2 tests on 3G and 1 test on wifi. It makes sense. Now I'm guessing that's why on my lunch break it sucks to load anything.

      1 test: 0.15 download speed on 3G
      2 test: 8.51 download speed on wifi

      Wtf
    1. iPittsburgh's Avatar
      iPittsburgh -
      Quote Originally Posted by Silverado1987 View Post
      I think I'm being throttled I did 2 tests on 3G and 1 test on wifi. It makes sense. Now I'm guessing that's why on my lunch break it sucks to load anything.

      1 test: 0.15 download speed on 3G
      2 test: 8.51 download speed on wifi

      Wtf
      How good is your signal strength? How much data have you used so far in your bill cycle?
    1. budsalinger's Avatar
      budsalinger -
      ATT, 4S, 3G
      Ping 128 ms
      DL 0.46 Mbps
      UL 0.87 Mbps

      4S, Wifi
      Ping 18 ms
      DL 13.82 Mbps
      UL 4.95 Mbps

      I think they're ******* me. I have a grandfather contract which I'll admit is wasted money because between 1/9/12 and 1/17/12 I've only used very minimal cellular network data as I am typically near wifi, 7.7MB Sent & 18.2MB Received. They are ******* me, right?
    1. jose060789's Avatar
      jose060789 -
      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.
      Wrong, I'm grandfathered into unlimited and I'm capped at 2GB and if I pass 2GB of data, AT&T will start throttling my data, regardless.
    1. kaox's Avatar
      kaox -
      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.
      Hi I've been getting capped every month for the last 3 months at around 5GBS I am grandfathered in and I do get a text right around 7 in the morning before it happens I'm a truck driver so I listen to a lot of Pandora at night and hulu when i'm not driving i do get annoyed by it but i'm soo addicted to my iphone
    1. Silverado1987's Avatar
      Silverado1987 -
      Quote Originally Posted by iPittsburgh View Post
      How good is your signal strength? How much data have you used so far in your bill cycle?
      My signal was 2 bars with and without wifi. But I got into 3 signal bars and did it again with 3G and it was .65 download which was hell of a lot better then with 3 signal bars I did it again and that time I got 0.05 download. Wtf my usage is 165mb sent and 2.0Gb recieved but I never got the text and I am grandfathered in with unlimited. My usage stated above was since I got the phone pretty much on launch day. I'm hoping to relieve a text shortly showing my usage

      Edit
      My data says 895.12MB used
    1. BenderRodriguez's Avatar
      BenderRodriguez -
      Try rebooting yet?

      My twitter, this app, emails and stuff aren't working unless I reboot then the data comes in brand new iphone4s, freakin AT&T I'm on unlimited it doesn't matter if I'm on wifi or not bazar
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by jose060789 View Post
      Wrong, I'm grandfathered into unlimited and I'm capped at 2GB and if I pass 2GB of data, AT&T will start throttling my data, regardless.
      That's called a soft cap. I am talking about when you are hard-capped at 2GB and get charged overages for going over. When you are unlimited you don't get charged extra, so in my theory that doesn't really even count for how I was answering that gentleman's question.
    1. iPittsburgh's Avatar
      iPittsburgh -
      Quote Originally Posted by Silverado1987 View Post
      My signal was 2 bars with and without wifi. But I got into 3 signal bars and did it again with 3G and it was .65 download which was hell of a lot better then with 3 signal bars I did it again and that time I got 0.05 download. Wtf my usage is 165mb sent and 2.0Gb recieved but I never got the text and I am grandfathered in with unlimited. My usage stated above was since I got the phone pretty much on launch day. I'm hoping to relieve a text shortly showing my usage

      Edit
      My data says 895.12MB used
      Try another test when you have 4-5 bars and you'll notice a jump. Signal strength will affect data speeds, so will the time of day, like at noon many people are on their phones using data, but at 3am theres not going to be many people using the network.

      And dial *3282# to get an accurate idea of how much data you've used in your bill cycle.
    1. alcala315's Avatar
      alcala315 -
      I'm also grandfathered since I've been with AT&T since the 2G turtle. I get that top %5 almost monthly and this is from just surfing the web and watching YouTube during lunch at work. I hope it isn't true that they throttle by the area you live in....come on I'm in Los Angeles.
    1. Silverado1987's Avatar
      Silverado1987 -
      Quote Originally Posted by iPittsburgh View Post
      Try another test when you have 4-5 bars and you'll notice a jump. Signal strength will affect data speeds, so will the time of day, like at noon many people are on their phones using data, but at 3am theres not going to be many people using the network.

      And dial *3282# to get an accurate idea of how much data you've used in your bill cycle.
      Yeah like I said I had 3 bars at once and it was 0.65 another test at 3 bars with 0.07 so I was like wtf. But o well. My brother just did his. His 3G was 5.16Mb download and his work wifi was 8.91mb so yeah damn near 30 minute difference
    1. chberain's Avatar
      chberain -
      LA must suck big time on 3G, in Dallas I'm getting at least 6mps download speeds on 3G
    1. GmAz's Avatar
      GmAz -
      Abuse the system, get what you deserve.
    1. gdd2010's Avatar
      gdd2010 -
      The data cap PER AT&T CONVERSATION is "any use greater than 2gig per month" is considered the "top 5%."
      Now, according to an email some are getting, it's considered to be 12 times the limited (2 gig per month) users. Which,I'm not a math genious here, equals 24 gig.
      So, AT&T, which is it?
    1. Shad0wM0nk3y's Avatar
      Shad0wM0nk3y -
      Quote Originally Posted by GmAz View Post
      Abuse the system, get what you deserve.
      Who is this directed at?
    1. gdd2010's Avatar
      gdd2010 -
      Here's the part of the email I mentioned:
      As mentioned on a previous bill, we're also taking additional, more immediate steps to help address network congestion and improve reliability. One of these steps involves a change for some customers who use extraordinarily large amounts of data in a single billing period - about 12 times more data than the average smartphone user.