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AT&T (not) limiting iPhone 3G speeds to 1.4Mbps [U]

updated 02:25 pm EDT, Mon June 16, 2008

iPhone 3G speeds: 1.4Mbps?

Readers of AT&T's Apple iPhone 3G website, have this weekend been left confounded by information that iPhone 3G data download speeds will apparently be limited to 1.4Mbps, while other devices tout much faster speeds. With the figure also echoed in the official AT&T press release, speculation is that the 1.4Mbps limit is not a website error. With the latest HSDPA cards now offering speeds up to 7.2Mbps, and even iPhone 3G rivals such as Motorola's Moto Q listed capable of 3.6Mbps speeds, it would seem that the iPhone 3G, despite being significantly faster than the first iPhone model, may not, at first glance, live up to its early "3G" promise; it is unclear why the yet-to-be-released device would be slower than "3G" device counterparts from other companies.

With clarification expected from AT&T in the next few days, this download speed 'mystery' can only serve to confuse potential buyers in an already crowded and complex 3G market, while 3G device rivals are offering faster download speeds.









Update: Sources tell us that the advertised iPhone 3G 1.4Mbps speed, touted by AT&T (and Apple), is actually the observed speed over AT&T's 3G network and that faster peak speeds -- up to 3.6Mbps -- are likely supported by the iPhone 3G (like the Motorola Q), but that Apple (and AT&T in its own 3G network press release) have chosen to market the "real-world speeds" rather than the theoretical maximums touted by some manufacturers. Network speeds are affected by a variety of factors, including battery life and general traffic on the network.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. dagamer34

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Battery life

    Because the iPhone 3G is not allowed to be tethered to a laptop, faster speeds do NOT mean that your webpages will render faster. This is plenty obvious when surfing webpages that are extremely complex and take forever to load even on WiFi. It's not the download speed that's the bottleneck, but CPU speed.

  1. henjin

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Sad excuse

    dagamer34

    So Jobs demonstration showing the iPhone 3G beating the Nokia 95 used 1.4?

    I had a Verizon EVDO data card which was terribly slow. I upgraded to REV A and that is much faster using every metric. I know for a fact that throttling back on the pipe for 3G will create a much diminished performance. 1.4 compared to 3.6 will be like EDGE to WiFi. It has nothing to do with tethering, except nobody would buy a device so slow to use as a laptop modem.

    Makes perfect sense for AT&T to protect bandwidth for other users. I think this news is wonderful! Can't wait to watch more Apple apologists claim it doesn't matter when it's not Apple's ideal set up. Is there no end to our willingness to make excuses? This is bad, very bad news. And it's AT&T doing this not Apple.

    Maybe Apple will knock some heads together.

    Sad

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Not a significant point

    IPhone is the cellphone with the fastest-rendering web browser. As demonstrated in some tests, even on EDGE, iPhone 1.0 came extremely close in rendering time to 3G devices running WinMobile or Palm. While this is obviously AT&T's black eye, I have a feeling that in terms of actual, real-life performance, iPhone 3G will still outrun those other 3G devices on faster networks. On devices as small as these, with processors (and graphic chips) as slow as they are, bottleneck is often shifted away from the network and over towards the hardware itself.

  1. Bennyboy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    not for me they don't

    With my Iphone on wifi, the speed is approximately the same as a computer running 802.11g downloading webpages. What does kill it is the javascript on a lot of them. I think there needs to be some clarification of the demo at WWDC of the speeds of the different 3g phones. What exactly, were the speeds?MacNN do your sleuthing and find out.

  1. Pennywigeon

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Carrier VS Phone

    One comparison is the capability of the PHONE to download speeds up to 3.6 and the other is the limitation of the NETWORK (1.4) Does the 3.6 actually download at 3.6 or is it limited to a slower speed based on the network limitations? A car may advertise it can have a top speed of 200 mph but is there a road in America where that speed is allowed?I think what may be needed is to see if other Carriers limit their DL speeds or if they actually carry faster speeds.A side by side comparison of Carriers would be more accurate way to tell the story.

  1. Pennywigeon

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -3

    Carrier VS Phone

    One comparison is the capability of the PHONE to download speeds up to 3.6 and the other is the limitation of the NETWORK (1.4) Does the 3.6 actually download at 3.6 or is it limited to a slower speed based on the network limitations?

    A car may advertise it can have a top speed of 200 mph but is there a road in America where that speed is allowed?

    I think what may be needed is to see if other Carriers limit their DL speeds or if they actually carry faster speeds.

    A side by side comparison of Carriers would be more accurate way to tell the story.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +5

    3G iPhone is...


    ... 3-4 times faster than competing phones in rendering web pages

    LET THE COMPLAINING BEGIN!

    Here's a suggestion, kids (yes, Kids, because you act like 5 year olds), how about waiting until you actually hold one in your hands and use one, before bitching about imaginary limitations?

    You all make yourselves look like god damn idiots, otherwise, and I don't need to be an apologist for that observation.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    at&t

    So AT&T is charging us $10 more AND throttling our speeds. Apple should open up the iPhone to more carriers in the U.S. I was planning on updating my iPhone to the 3G version but now I think I'll pass. Not because of Apple but because of AT&T.

  1. Thrillington

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Silliness

    1.4Mbps isn't enough? We have 3Mbps driving our office of 16 tech people for crying out loud. Heck, we used to pay $1,800 each month for 1.5 not too long ago.

    People need to get real and set realistic expectations. Common sense has definitely flown the coop in this country. The downside of everyone being able to have so much tech in their hands these days is that they have no idea of the overall architecture that drives these services.

    I had a friend who was recently sold an expensive network upgrade for his home because the kid at Best Buy told him that upgrading everything in his house to support gig networking would speed "his Internet" 100 fold. His internal network speed was operating at a "pokey 10mbit" before the upgrade which caused www.cnn.com to load too slowly. Stupidity at it's finest.

    Wait until you get the phone. If it's too slow for you then take it back in the grace period and get a POC Q.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    where???

    Where oh where does it say anywhere that the 3G iPhone was going to have any particular speed. 3G doesn't define a speed, it defines a specification (and it really doesn't define that, as something like HSPDA defines that).

    And as anyone who has ever used any type of wireless device, you should know that the supposed speed of the connection isn't as important as the actual throughput. 802.11g has never come close to matching its supposed maximum.

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