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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 Appleís new smartphone should be considered 4G or not. The data speeds of AT&Tís HSPA+ network are capable of doubling the speeds the iPhone 4 could get on AT&Tís 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 Appleís 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 todayís 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&Tís 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 youíre 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. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      From what I remember the 4S and 4 do not have the same speed. The 4 tops out at 7mb I believe and the 4S at either 14 or 21. Can't remember off the top of my head which one it is. But the 4S is faster.

      Yup, just checked. The iPhone 4 has 7.2mb HSDPA. The 4S has 14.4mb HSDPA.
    1. BenderRodriguez's Avatar
      BenderRodriguez -
      Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
      From what I remember the 4S and 4 do not have the same speed. The 4 tops out at 7mb I believe and the 4S at either 14 or 21. Can't remember off the top of my head which one it is. But the 4S is faster.

      Yup, just checked. The iPhone 4 has 7.2mb HSDPA. The 4S has 14.4mb HSDPA.
      I believe thats for 3G/4G speeds only
      AT&T delivers at a max of like 14mbps over 4G while everyone else can only do 7mbps right now

      on wifi I just got a return of 38mbps download and 7mbps upload on an iphone4S

      My Internet actual speed is 50mbps down and about 5mbps up

      Thus technically the phone can go faster but the drawback is your provider
      When I had an iPhone 4 I did the same test hitting about 20mbps download and 5mbps upload
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
      Guess they only changed the symbol for ATT. I am on a HSPA+ network and it still says 3G.
      Yes. AT&T only.

      Quote Originally Posted by BenderRodriguez View Post
      I believe thats for 3G/4G speeds only
      AT&T delivers at a max of like 14mbps over 3G while everyone else can only do 7mbps right now

      on wifi I just got a return of 38mbps download and 7mbps upload on an iphone4S

      My Internet actual speed is 50mbps down and about 5mbps up

      Thus technically the phone can go faster but the drawback is your provider
      When I had an iPhone 4 I did the same test hitting about 20mbps download and 5mbps upload
      That is incorrect. AT&T can deliver 7.2Mb/s on 3G. HSPA+ is 4G and yields 14.2Mb/s.
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      I get this on my 4S. Have actually topped out at 10mb before. My iPhone 4 would always be in the 5-6mb range on the same network.
    1. Lecram25's Avatar
      Lecram25 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      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.
      7.2 Mbps on EV-DO Rev. A?! Lol in what world?

      Likewise, the iPhone 4S is a 14.4 Mbps HSDPA device, not HSPA+.

      Some fact checking is in order.

      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      Yes. AT&T only.












      That is incorrect. AT&T can deliver 7.2Mb/s on 3G. HSPA+ is 4G and yields 14.2Mb/s.
      14.4 Mbps HSDPA is still considered 3G as it is no where near the theoretical maximum speeds of HSPA+, LTE, and/or WiMAX.

      And no, not AT&T only. Well maybe the software update. However, all iPhone 4Ss are capable of 14.4 Mbps (or Mb/s) over HSDPA.

      AT&T can deliver a theoretical maximum of 21 Mbps HSPA+ on their network (where they've deployed it). There's no magic switch to toggle between HSPA+ and HSPA. The only thing that would limit connectivity to HSPA+ is the device. An iPhone 4S connected to a 42 Mbps HSPA+ network is still an HSDPA device. Yes, it will be closer to reaching its theoretical maximum, but it does not automagically make it a 4G device. There is no [efficient] way to determine if a device is connected to an HSPA+ cell or an HSPA (D and U) cell. So AT&T and Apple opted to slap a "4G" icon on the 4S once it's connected to 3G (HSPA). I do wonder if the "3G" icon would show up if the phone connected to a W-CDMA-only cell though.

      Shame on Apple and AT&T.

      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      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.
      7.2 Mbps on EV-DO Rev. A?! Lol in what world?

      Likewise, the iPhone 4S is a 14.4 Mbps HSDPA device, not HSPA+.

      Some fact checking is in order.

      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      Yes. AT&T only.












      That is incorrect. AT&T can deliver 7.2Mb/s on 3G. HSPA+ is 4G and yields 14.2Mb/s.
      14.4 Mbps HSDPA is still considered 3G as it is no where near the theoretical maximum speeds of HSPA+, LTE, and/or WiMAX.

      And no, not AT&T only. Well maybe the software update. However, all iPhone 4Ss are capable of 14.4 Mbps (or Mb/s) over HSDPA.

      AT&T can deliver a theoretical maximum of 21 Mbps HSPA+ on their network (where they've deployed it). There's no magic switch to toggle between HSPA+ and HSPA. The only thing that would limit connectivity to HSPA+ is the device. An iPhone 4S connected to a 42 Mbps HSPA+ network is still an HSDPA device. Yes, it will be closer to reaching its theoretical maximum, but it does not automagically make it a 4G device. There is no [efficient] way to determine if a device is connected to an HSPA+ cell or an HSPA (D and U) cell. So AT&T and Apple opted to slap a "4G" icon on the 4S once it's connected to 3G (HSPA). I do wonder if the "3G" icon would show up if the phone connected to a W-CDMA-only cell though.

      Shame on Apple and AT&T.

      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      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.
      7.2 Mbps on EV-DO Rev. A?! Lol in what world?

      Likewise, the iPhone 4S is a 14.4 Mbps HSDPA device, not HSPA+.

      Some fact checking is in order.

      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      Yes. AT&T only.












      That is incorrect. AT&T can deliver 7.2Mb/s on 3G. HSPA+ is 4G and yields 14.2Mb/s.
      14.4 Mbps HSDPA is still considered 3G as it is no where near the theoretical maximum speeds of HSPA+, LTE, and/or WiMAX.

      And no, not AT&T only. Well maybe the software update. However, all iPhone 4Ss are capable of 14.4 Mbps (or Mb/s) over HSDPA.

      AT&T can deliver a theoretical maximum of 21 Mbps HSPA+ on their network (where they've deployed it). There's no magic switch to toggle between HSPA+ and HSPA. The only thing that would limit connectivity to HSPA+ is the device. An iPhone 4S connected to a 42 Mbps HSPA+ network is still an HSDPA device. Yes, it will be closer to reaching its theoretical maximum, but it does not automagically make it a 4G device. There is no [efficient] way to determine if a device is connected to an HSPA+ cell or an HSPA (D and U) cell. So AT&T and Apple opted to slap a "4G" icon on the 4S once it's connected to 3G (HSPA). I do wonder if the "3G" icon would show up if the phone connected to a W-CDMA-only cell though.

      Shame on Apple and AT&T.

      Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
      I get this on my 4S. Have actually topped out at 10mb before. My iPhone 4 would always be in the 5-6mb range on the same network.
      And you have a real network similar to T-Mobile USA. Oh AT&T...

      iPhone 4S on T-Mobile USA where they've refarmed 1900 MHz:

    1. tonkajds's Avatar
      tonkajds -
      Actually, this is not true. An iPhone 4s on AT&Ts' network will always have the "4G" indicator even if your iPhone is connected using a "3G" protocol! The ONLY thing that the "4G" indicator means is that you are NOT on the EDGE network.