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  • AT&T iPhone 4S Gets the 4G Indicator With iOS 5.1 Update

    3G or 4G? Make up your mind.

    One thing that caused a massive debate with the release of the iPhone 4S was whether or not the HSPA+ network AT&T uses to provide service to Apples new smartphone should be considered 4G or not. The data speeds of AT&Ts HSPA+ network are capable of doubling the speeds the iPhone 4 could get on AT&Ts 3G network. It could also double the speeds the iPhone 4S was provided with on Verizon and Sprint. The iPhone 4S was shown at the Apple event in October of 2011 to be capable of reaching the same down link speeds as similar 4G smartphones of the Android flavor.

    A while after the iPhone 4S release, AT&T took advantage of this speed improvement in Apples new smartphone to advertise it as a 4G phone, which at the time felt like false advertising. To this day, people will still argue that LTE (Long Term Evolution) is the only true 4G network and that HSPA+ should not be considered (or even advertised for that matter) a 4G network. In reality however, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) made alterations to their network manual stating that the definition of 4G service will include WiMax, LTE and HSPA+.

    In todays release of iOS 5.1, AT&T is finally getting their way. Apple has included in the update a 4G network indicator, which will show in the status bar next to the carrier name whenever you connect to AT&Ts HSPA+ wireless network. The indicator is only for AT&T as the Sprint and Verizon iPhone 4S still operate on the general 3G radio type. The AT&T iPhone 4S is capable of 14.4Mb/s download speed while Sprint and Verizon will only get a maximum of 7.2Mb/s.

    To clear up any confusion with the less tech-savvy people out there, the update to the status bar indicating youre on a 4G network does not install LTE on your iPhone 4S. An LTE-compatible radio is a hardware piece and cannot be installed through a software update. We can probably expect to see LTE ship with the next generation iPhone.

    Sources: AppleInsider
    This article was originally published in forum thread: iPhone 4S Gets the 4G Indicator With iOS 5.1 Update started by Anthony Bouchard View original post
    Comments 46 Comments
    1. coldbud's Avatar
      coldbud -
      that cracks me up that AT&T pushed for that lol
    1. Senyaichiya's Avatar
      Senyaichiya -
      That's really lame.
      Add to the fact they're throttling (even in during a new billing period) unlimited and with such small data tiers lets just say 2G.

      Sorry I'll get off my soap box now.
    1. Colby21's Avatar
      Colby21 -
      At least I'll know when i'm in HSDPA+ territory or not...
    1. Checksum47's Avatar
      Checksum47 -
      Great. now I can reach my monthly limit while on my UNLIMITED plan even faster...
      AT&T = False advertising
    1. Mkp808's Avatar
      Mkp808 -
      Finally! Stupid phone companies
    1. iPod's Avatar
      iPod -
      But it's not 4G. LTE is true 4G right?

      And WiMax is a joke. I'm sorry, I'll be going now
    1. celeron's Avatar
      celeron -
      Some people say it is, some people say it dont. If it can reach 14.4 download speed like the article said, then its probably 4g.
    1. budsalinger's Avatar
      budsalinger -
      appearances mean A LOT. This makes att APPEAR to be king. it seems dumb but I can wrap my head around it.
    1. dfheje's Avatar
      dfheje -
      Isnt LTE also not true 4G? I read somewhere that we degraded our standards for what 4G is inorder to fit LTE as a 4G speed. If thats true, then AT&T is just extending that and degraded the actual true 4G even more.
    1. celeron's Avatar
      celeron -
      LTE has always been true 4G. 4S is HSPA which is now known as 4g as well.
    1. Kotin6006's Avatar
      Kotin6006 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ipodtouchman77 View Post
      But it's not 4G. LTE is true 4G right?

      And WiMax is a joke. I'm sorry, I'll be going now
      Technically according to the ITU 4G is only speeds over 100 Mbs. LTE is capable of it theoretically, but it is not there yet in the USA.
    1. poa317's Avatar
      poa317 -
      I just updated my wife's phone and it still says 3G? She has the iPhone 4 with AT&T..
    1. PorthosPirate's Avatar
      PorthosPirate -
      But you skipped the dirty little secret. That the phone will report 4G anytime it has a 3G signal. There is no ability for the phone to know if the enhanced backhaul is a part of the particular tower you are connecting to. I was tricked by this when I tried one of their 4G LTE hotspots before they turned on LTE in NYC. It was reporting 4G everywhere I went and when I went to an AT&T store to complain that the speed was no faster than my iPhone at 3G, they pointed me to the manual (AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G Manual):

      4G: Connected to AT&Ts HSPA+ network. AT&Ts HSPA+ network is capable of delivering 4G speeds when combined with enhanced backhaul. Your wireless device cannot distinguish between HSPA+ cell sites combined with enhanced backhaul and those without enhanced backhaul. Enhanced backhaul is available in limited areas. However, availability is increasing with ongoing backhaul deployment. Learn more at att.com/network.
      (Page 11 - Emphasis Mine)

      And right above it on the same page, the description for the 4G indicator on the screen (note that the device has NO 3G indicator):

      4GHSPA, HSPA+
      I promptly returned the device. This is a class action lawsuit waiting to happen.
    1. celeron's Avatar
      celeron -
      @poa This is only for iphone 4s
    1. lespaul79's Avatar
      lespaul79 -
      boy if that ain't misleading. Its a shame. If you use too much, you will just be throttled down anyway.
    1. JacquesChirac's Avatar
      JacquesChirac -
      Does at&t have no shame whatsoever?
    1. dragon x's Avatar
      dragon x -
      Here's a question. If I update my jailbroken iPhone 4s in order to obtain those 4G speeds that don't really exist, will I loose my jailbreak?
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by dragon x View Post
      Here's a question. If I update my jailbroken iPhone 4s in order to obtain those 4G speeds that don't really exist, will I loose my jailbreak?
      You won't obtain any speeds. It's just an indicator. And yes the jailbreak will be gone.
    1. justibackwardsn's Avatar
      justibackwardsn -
      Quote Originally Posted by PorthosPirate View Post
      But you skipped the dirty little secret. That the phone will report 4G anytime it has a 3G signal. There is no ability for the phone to know if the enhanced backhaul is a part of the particular tower you are connecting to. I was tricked by this when I tried one of their 4G LTE hotspots before they turned on LTE in NYC. It was reporting 4G everywhere I went and when I went to an AT&T store to complain that the speed was no faster than my iPhone at 3G, they pointed me to the manual (AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G Manual):

      (Page 11 - Emphasis Mine)

      And right above it on the same page, the description for the 4G indicator on the screen (note that the device has NO 3G indicator):



      I promptly returned the device. This is a class action lawsuit waiting to happen.
      Can anyone confirm this for the iPhone 4s? Maybe they made the necessary alterations for devices to be able to distinguish the two. I want an indicator when I'm using the faster technology but it does nothing if it can't distinguish. I don't care what it's called(4G or 3G+... I just want an indicator.)
    1. Agent929's Avatar
      Agent929 -
      Quote Originally Posted by poa317 View Post
      I just updated my wife's phone and it still says 3G? She has the iPhone 4 with AT&T..
      It's for the 4S not the 4