AAPL Stock: 118.07 ( -0.81 )

Printed from

AT&T pushing Apple to have iPhone 4S show '4G'

updated 03:10 pm EDT, Fri October 7, 2011

ATT wants Apple to exaggerate iPhone 4S speeds

AT&T is pressing Apple to give in to its network marketing strategy with the iPhone 4S, an internal memo slipped out on Friday. It's "working with Apple" to patch in a change where the new iPhone will show "4G" near its signal indicator when on the HSPA+ network. The change as relayed in This is my next's copy would be to underscore the "unique network advantage" of AT&T's version.

A firmware update was supposedly coming, although when wasn't mentioned.

The change if it comes about would partly run against Apple's own attitude towards network speed claims. During its Let's Talk iPhone event, Apple's Phil Schiller expressly said Apple wouldn't get into claims of what constituted 4G. It took the unusually honest approach of treating the iPhone as 3G but contending that the 14.4Mbps speed was fast enough to compete with others.

In the most literal definition, no current cellular network reaches the true 4G speeds defined by LTE-Advanced and WiMAX 2. Even common definitions of 4G have usually required a technology switch such as regular LTE or WiMAX. AT&T's HSPA+ service is technically 3G and, while much faster than the EVDO that Sprint and Verizon have to use, isn't 4G in the truest sense.

Sprint was the first carrier in the US to claim 4G speeds with its WiMAX network. T-Mobile sparked increasing chaos, however, when it decided that any 3G over 7.2Mbps could be labelled as 4G. The step led AT&T to start rebadging its HSPA+ as 4G and even Canadian providers that had previously sworn to be accurate about their 4G claims.

by MacNN Staff



  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969


    A test..

    AT&T seems to be testing the new CEO, to see if he'll put up with this sort of boloney...

    I hope Tim Cook tells them to shove it.

  1. sibeale1

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why not split the difference and call it 3G+?

  1. azrich

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why not display

    the actual speed you are getting at the time (approx) abbreviated. That might be quite the reality check for all of us. All those terms are marketing speak and not reality, so why not display reality? At least its not 3gXtreme or something even more stoopid.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Here's the conversation

    AT&T: "Call it 4G."
    Apple: "No. How about 3G+?"
    AT&T: "Uh, how about 3.9G?"
    Apple: "Done."

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    @azrich @ sibeale1

    Either idea is acceptable. 3+ is correct, but I think the actual speed would be the best option. In no way is showing a 4 acceptable. I hope Apple puts AT&T in their place.

  1. chas_m




    I think the writer must be thinking of Google. They would do this in a SECOND, since their customer is the CARRIER.

    Apple -- not even Apple-Jobs -- would never do this.

  1. mrinella

    Joined: Dec 1969


    AT&T and Chickens

    The poultry industry tried this same kind of nonsense in 2003 under Bush. They proposed that if the cost of organic feed became too high, they could feed chickens conventional feed and still label the chicken as organic. Consumers were smart enough to stop this nonsense and the organic feed requirements were kept in place. I seriously hope that Tim Cook does not cave on this. And what does this say about AT&T? When did it become okay to try and change the meaning of standards just to fool consumers? Why do they seem to have such disdain for their customers?

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented