iPhone 4S Sprint Customers Complain of Slow 3G Speeds

Sprint set sales records with the introduction of the iPhone 4S yesterday, at least in part because it’s the only carrier to offer unlimited data for new iPhone customers. Unfortunately, reports are coming in that Sprint’s 3G network is extremely slow for some iPhone 4S users, making it impossible to use some of the latest iPhone’s core features, such as Siri.

Customers across the United States are complaining of shockingly slow upload and download speeds, even in locales where their other smartphones are performing quite well on Sprint’s 3G network.

Over at the Sprint Community forums there’s a raging discussion thread on the topic of slow 3G speeds.  How slow are we talking about? According to the Speedtest.net tests many users ran, the Sprint version of the iPhone 4S is clocking in well below .30 Mbps on the download side of things and under .10 Mbps for uploads.

Network congestion could certainly be part of the problem, with a large number of Sprint customers activating their iPhones for the first time and testing out their favorite features.

One Sprint customer wrote:

Have you tired Siri?  It will say “Sorry I am having trouble connecting to the network”.  This speed is ridiculous, too slow to use the function provided by iPhone.  I couldn’t even imaging how would navigation work at this speed when it has to load maps on demand.

Obviously iPhone 4S users want to be able to access the Internet and have other options. AT&T locked in many irritated iPhone customers for the first few years of the iPhone since it was the only carrier that sold Apple’s devices until earlier this year, but that’s not the case any more. Sprint has a very limited amount of time before some customers seek greener pastures.

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Another Sprint iPhone 4S customer wrote:

Using the iPhone 4S in Orange California, Speed results are anemic at best..  0.10 Mbps down, 0.06 Mbps up, since Siri requires network connectivity, I am unable to use it, might have to switch back to T-Mobile….or Verizon if I want to keep an iPhone 4S…

While part of the problem could be network congestion, many Sprint customers participating on the discussion thread at Sprint Community and elsewhere are complaining that their non-Apple smartphones are running significantly faster on Sprint’s 3G network at the same locations as where they’re testing their iPhones. Speedtest.net results will vary dramatically depending on your location, network conditions and which test server is being used.  But there’s clearly something wrong her for at least some Sprint customers.

Sprint’s iPhone 4S plans with unlimited data start at just $79.99. By comparison, AT&T’s data plans start at $15 (200MB ) and Verizon’s start at $30 (2GB), plus the cost of  your choice of voice and MMS plans.  You can read more about each carrier’s plans and the trade-offs in this iPhone 4S carrier comparison article.

As we reported earlier, AT&T seems to be the fastest iPhone 4S 3G provider, beating Verizon handily in some locations. Of course AT&T’s 3G network doesn’t hold a candle to Verizon’s 4G LTE network, but the iPhone 4S is a 3G-only device.

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Comments

  1. Guest says

    Sprint suckers bought into the hype. There was a comparison where a reviewer had an iPhone 4s from Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T. He ran several tests comparing the speed of the three networks. In every case Sprint came in dead last. Not just a little slower, a lot slower. And you guys couldn’t wait to get in on the iPhone on the NOW Network. NOW mean you keep yelling at your phone, “Any time NOW”!

    • Guest says

      Sprint is way faster than that, i saw that video that your talking about. first off, that video is no help whatsoever. he had all three phones right next to each other with that being said, network interference. since all three 4S’s have both CDMA and GSM. secondly, He had the AT&T iphone running on a different server. what he should have done was rotate the phones so that they wouldnt interfere. lastly, IT DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU LIVE!

      • Silent_for_life says

        “IT DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU LIVE!” Your so full of shit! It depends on the signal idiot. Other things that affect is where the towers are at and what cell you are in. The phone doesnt stay at home. You may ask what do I mean by cell. Well look it up. You may learn a thing or 2 about how cell phones work.

        • Test Test says

          you just proved your self an idiot. TOWERS are connected to servers and if 1000 people are connected to one server and 50 on another the one with the less people connected to one server the faster the connection. Also, cell phones have nothing to do with connectivity, it’s networking. 

      • Jmorgan says

         I can see alot of people returning their Sprint iphone 4s within the 14 day period, so many people upset on the slow network….and I have to agree it is bad.

  2. Bziemer says

    That actually has nothing to do with this. The sprint network is fine there is a glitch with the iphone. I did a test on my evo before activating my iphone with them and it was running normal 1.2 down off the same tower. The iphone 4s is running .10. 

    • Cecil Helton says

      lol…1.2 down isn’t stellar. I get two to four times that speed on AT&T. 

      Wonder how Sprint’s iPhone could have a “glitch” while Verizon’s iPhone uses EV-DO just fine?

    • Anonymous says

      it doesnt really matter if its a glitch or not -if they don’t fix it, its gonna doom them.  Already blogs all over are posting comparisons and sprint customers are complaining about slow speeds.  Take a look at the test on 9 to 5 mac blog

    • Dualnic says

      well that glitch has been going on for about 2 yrs here in south texas, the network is just SLOW.

    • Anonymous says

      Untrue. Sprint is the only network presently having data speed issues with iPhone 4S.

  3. bobobo says

    Well I’m on Verizon and just got my wife the new iPhone and its just as fast if not faster than my thunderbolt running 4g I’m impressed

    • Kayjammm says

      You are right I have the 4s on Verizon my cousin has the photon 4g on sprint and the iPhone loads faster

    • Stopthemerger says

      “Your wife’s IPhone is faster than your thunderbolt running 4G.”  You must be running a magical Iphone thats turns CDMA speeds into faster LTE 4G speeds. Apple Mars Prototype phone.  

    • HawaiiD says

      Evo 4g here in Hawaii currently getting 2.1MB DL .8 MB UL on 3G, 9MB DL 1.5MB UL 4G per speed test app. Palo Alto Ca. server over 2500 miles away with ping about 150 MS.

      Never had this type of speeds before. Usually 3G  would be at best about 1.2 MB DL and .5 UL

       Another thing Speeds were really crappy for the past 2-3 weeks or so(.8MB DL with 4G).
      Also I would get this 128 data failure error code about 20 times a day.

      Finally called Sprint this past Saturday, said they were upgrading the towers in my area.So I asked if this part of the new network vision project adding LTE support they said yes! So it looks like Honolulu
      with be a LTE city when launched Yay!

      I would say if the 3G speeds are quite slow in your area? maybe it could be a combination of
      a huge in rush of Iphone activations coupled with Sprint upgrading the towers in your area?

      So give it some time  and see what it is like in a couple of days or weeks?

      Because certainly from my end in the middle of the pacific ocean
      Sprint’s network seems strong.

      • Markjr says

        Here are the facts. Sprints 3G is terrible. Slow on any phone for the most part. It will not get better as it can’t. Its their network period. Their 4G is fine. If you just make calls and text u are fine. Anything beyond that. Return it. It can’t improve during your 14 day return window. Or anytime there after. Cheaper prices yes. This instead of helping sprint will ruin them until LTE is ready next year.

  4. Steele110279 says

    you may be right about some areas be congested, but i have test my sprint iphone 4s in omaha, I range from 500kbs to 1.5 mbs.

    • Test Test says

      that is still slow, 0.5mb. 3g is rated at 4Mb+. also, the iphone is capable of running 3g speeds of 13.4Mbs. 

      • Brent Hilgenkamp says

        The 3G speeds Apple showed on the 4S are not available in America – http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/10/04/iphone_4s_new_14_4_mbps_hsdpa_4g_speeds_wont_help_americans.html

  5. 123 says

    I do not have any issues with my new Iphone 4S. Sprint seemed to a lot better than Verizon or AT&T. Sprint Sprints

    • Jarmo3000 says

      Sprint is a lot better than the rest and trust me I been with all carriers at least when your phone breaks or crash they respond right away and their customer service is ten fold compared to verizon and at and t

      • Kayjammm says

        I had Sprint when they brought Nextel they are the worst drop calls no signal poor customer service that’s when I switch to AT&T Sprint has never been good that’s why they #3

        • Micha says

          When they bought Nextel? That was back in 2004 – 2005. The company went through a huge overhaul and their customer service became top notch. Clearly, you should only speak of what you know and since what you know is out dated do some research.

  6. Rock_a_87 says

     I got 0.15 Down and 0.07 up on ATT…..Sprint does well in my city…….Soon going to ditch ATT for its crappy service.

  7. 123 says

    I am from NJ and drive on Turnpike every day. As soon as I reach exit 14 all the data connections are lost. Oh btw, I’m with AT&T. I was with Sprint for 10 years and due to corporate policy we had to switch to AT&T but we are having lot of issues with quality of calls. My company is reconsidering to switch back to Sprint, which I really look forward to…

  8. Mike says

    I bought the Sprint Iphone 4s and my 3G speed are slow….but I don’t even care. I use wifi 90% of the time.

      • Test Test says

        Get it, youll never go back. Sprint will fix this issue. They just need more servers up, and they need to up the bandwide. 

    • Jrrose18 says

      I am in the cell phone business and the fact is sprints 3G data speeds are pathetic on most all phones. It will never never improve as they are only upgrading to LTE 4G LIKE VERIZON.
      NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY IF YOU DONT RETURN PHONE BEFORE 14 DAYS ARE UP YOU ARE STUCK. WHY DO YOU THINK THEY JUST CHANGED FROM 30 DAY RETURN TO 14 RIGHT BEFORE IPHONE LAUNCH. RETURN YOUR PHONES.

  9. Tomik Manooki says

    calm down people -________-.
    Sprint isn’t the only network to experience problems with the iPhone the first day it came out.
    AT&T experienced a lot of issues on the first day of iPhone sales when it was exclusive and even yesterday. Sprint isn’t the only provider having issues with Siri, many Verizon and at&t costumers are having problems as well receiving the same error.

  10. Anonymous says

    I have never gotten .16 Mbps download. But then again I would never buy an Iphone. I have Sprint and average around 2-2.7 Mbps.I think this is pretty biased. I could test this in another market that shows completely different results. Opinions of the writers even when claiming to be unbiased, will still make sure there choices win out over the others.

  11. Carl Black says

    Yeah, this has been a painful experience. In some cases I’ve had apps crash from the extremely slow speeds. One test last night was 7 kbps down and 10 kpbs up! Wish I was kidding! Fastest download in two days has been 534 kpbs down and 573 up. The majority of the time I have four or five signal bars when testing, but it clearly doesn’t matter. Something just isn’t right here.

  12. Scottybmusic says

    well i have an iphone sprint and have not great coverage in my house yet i just a speedtest and got 2.14mbps download, .47mbps upload and 161ms ping

    • R Starcher says

      I have a AT&T 4s and Sprint 4s ….. Trying to decide which to keep. Speed test.net results are not even close. AT&T 2.3 avg down 1.1 up Sprint .37 avg down .23 up.That is with equal bars and testing all around town. Akron / Canton Ohio. Really disappointed withe Sprint data speed.

  13. Rick 118 says

    I have sprint and live in san bernardino county and i cant even use 3g on my iphone 4s yet. There saying that there having difficulties right know…. I want my money back….

  14. Derek Hartley says

    I’ve been experiencing similar problems using Siri. I also have problems downloading apps and music so I just connected to Wi-Fi and downloaded everything I needed that way. Siri works excellently on Wi-Fi which brings me hope that once Sprint (and all carriers) speeds are back up to date it’ll be a GREAT feature. Right now if Siri decides to connect, answers to even simple things like what time is it take 5-10 seconds to load. But on Wifi it’s almost instant. I downloaded the speed test Ap (which took over a minute to download) and ran it and it maxed out at 1.1 for downloads but it hovered around .99 for most of the test. Very unfortunate. I’m still impressed with iOS 5 and I really love the interface but the download speeds have been very disappointing :( 

  15. Andrew DiNardo says

    I have was having serious problems with data speeds, often no data at all… I called Sprint and they had me provision (you will need to call but it was something like ##873382# ) and now my speeds went from . .22 and .23 to 1.75 and .44.  Not great but much better

  16. Anonymous says

    Sounds to me like the Network is fine, it always seems to be the iphone that is having the problems.

  17. Anonymous says

    The following is a 3g vs 4g argument, not apple vs android blah blah blah.

    Getting 24+Mbs dl 3.3Mbs up on my Bionic. No lie or exaggeration. Can’t understand why people still volunteer to lock themselves to a 3g phone for 2 years, its truly yesterdays tech.

    And before anyone mentions 4g battery life, I get 2 days easy with the ext. range battery from Moto, with only a minor increase in girth.

  18. Aed says

    Honestly I’m saving $95/month for moving from verizon to sprint. I’ll deal with some slower speeds and a couple dropped calls. I got the 4s the day it came out n I’m not complaining!!

    • Anonymous says

      AT&T and Verizon customers are not having issues with data speeds on iPhone 4S. Sprint is a bargain network and you get what you pay for.

  19. Anonymous says

    Just checked here in Santa Clarita: Dl: 1.28Mbps Ul: 0.48 and Ping: 262 ms… Not too bad.
    HOWEVER: I keep losing Network with Siri !!!

    I suspect Sprint. Hmmm

  20. Chowan24 says

    We are talking 3G here…. Hands down AT&T is going to be the fastest. How can Sprint users even think there 3G speeds would be comparable? Sprint probably has one of the worst data networks of the major cell carriers. It’s only going to get worse. Wait until more and more iPhones are activated and they are sucking up all the bandwidth. Apple will own Sprint in the next 2 years. Sprint will not be able to sell the 30 million iPhones to foot the $20 billion dollar deal with Apple.

      • Thejt says

        Own as in destroy was the context i am sure. Att would have absolutely zero inerest in sprint because their network is differant technology and crap at that!

  21. mw says

    I’m sure SOME people on both networks are experiencing faster or slower speeds. I switched from ATT to Sprint and I was surprised to see that I actually get faster data speeds than I did on ATT, not to mention a significant reduction in dead zones (there were a lot of dead zones on my drive into work on ATT), not to mention excellent voice reception (something I didn’t have with ATT). All in all, I’m very pleased. 

  22. Lkej says

    Sprint is faster where I live, AT&T is unreliable and overpriced.  Verizon is just a rip off. 

  23. Analbsndyan87 says

    I returned my sprint iPhone 4s back. Why pay for something that does not work. I rather pay a little more and have a network that works. Sprint sucks and thanks to AT&T the allowed me to return to my original grandfathered account.

  24. Thejt says

    I have have three people on the iphone 4s in minneapolis and they all exibit the same problem.. Extremely slow 3g speeds. I get .10 Mb. Yes point one! What is the point in unlimited data if you could never even download near that much. I am done with sprint, tomorrow they go back and i will be taking 20 lines elsewhere.

  25. Thejt says

    The code that a previous poster mentioned is: from your dialer enter ##873283# then press call. This has not solved the slow network problems on any of the iphones i tried it on but it cant hurt to try.

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