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AT&T Wants 4G Indicator on iPhone 4S, ‘working with Apple’



AT&T isn’t content just to tell you that the iPhone 4S on AT&T is capable fo download speeds twice as fast as the Verizon and Sprint iPhone 4S models. Now, they want to make sure you know you are using ‘4G’ every time you use your new iPhone.

Shortly after AT&T sent out a press release touting the fast HSPA+ networks and ability to talk and surf at the same time, This Is My Next uncovered an internal document that shows AT&T is ‘working with Apple’ to place a 4G indicator on the iPhone 4S.

AT&T has since confirmed the joint task, of adding a 4G icon to the iPhone 4S.

4G iPhone 4S indicator on AT&T

4G iPhone 4S indicator on AT&T

This is news for a few reasons. First, Apple avoided calling this the 4G iPhone 4S, at the announcement. Second, this ‘4G’ is not 4G LTE, which offers incredibly fast uploads and downloads. Finally, this is one of the first times Apple has bowed to carrier pressure.

According to the leak, the iPhone 4S on AT&T won’t show the 4G indicator on day one, as it will require an iOS update to be pushed. Regardless of the 4G or 3G indicator, AT&T assures you that you will have faux 4G speeds from day one.

AT&T’s 4G network is separate from the 4G LTE network the company just launched in 5 cities. These faster networks will not deliver LTE speeds to the iPhone 4S. While AT&T is calling much of their current network 4G, and the theoretical speeds of 14.4Mbps  down sound fast, the real life speeds are actually capped at 1/10th of that. Add this up, and you’ll see why ‘4G’ has trouble competing with 4G LTE networks that deliver 7-12Mbps down or higher on a regular basis, in the real world.

So, while the AT&T iPhone 4S will soon show 4G in the status bar, it is not the 4G iPhone we had hoped for.


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