iphone-bandwidth-cap

Does it feel like your iPhone 5 data throughput is unreasonably slow? Seriously, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint all advertise high data throughput rates, but you’re not getting anything close to that. An iOS hacker has just earned his 15 minutes of fame by uncovering the cause.

Joseph Brown is known for creating hacks that unlock the network performance of iPhones on America’s big four carriers, limiting his potential audience to the geeks.

Now, he’s gone viral. Brown has written a lengthy blog post detailing Apple’s absolute complicity in limiting iPhone 5 data network performance:

– Apple limits the iPhone 5 data to Category 10 (14.4Mbps) HSDPA despite the device’s support for category 24 (42.2Mbps) DC-HSDPA+ and the AT&T network supporting up to Category 14 (21.1Mbps) HSDPA+.

— AT&T limits HSPA+ and permanently throttles LTE

— Verizon permanently throttles LTE

— Verizon and Sprint throttle down 3G

— Apple has band preferences set for T-Mobile and AT&T causing signal issues

To that end, he cites specific code within iOS that limits iPhone 5 network performance.

“Here we can see what is quite obvious to, really, anyone at this point from being jerked around so much by carriers,” writes Brown. “Yes folks, this is throttling coding.”

The one good bit news from Brown? The iPhone 5 isn’t arbitrarily limited when used on T-Mobile’s network. However, the way Apple sets band preferences causes issues between the AT&T and T-Mobile networks.

And, the hilarious bit of irony? Even with Apple’s network speed caps, and one assumes carrier complicity, is the fact that iPhone users use their devices and data more than any other individual smartphone or platform.

Crippled before it leaves the store and the iPhone’s still superior in the only terms that matter, usage…

What’s your take?

via 9 to 5 Mac

6 COMMENTS

  1. I can assure you the caps are required by the carriers. If they’re caps. AT&T is still building out its nextgen network – we know the iPhone killed AT&T to the point where they had to randomly dump calls to prevent network congestion.

    Latest gen LTE has a theoretical bandwidth of up to 300mbps per sector, IIRC. So six phones at 42Mbps could suck up all that bandwidth.

    Wireless will never be as fast or as reliable as wired communications. Get used to it.

  2. It’s not what they’re done, but the way they’ve done it — throttling under the hood puts the lie to their marketing.

  3. “And, the hilarious bit of irony? Even with Apple’s network speed caps, and one assumes carrier complicity, is the fact that iPhone users use their devices and data more than any other individual smartphone or platform.”

    No, that’s not irony… it’s an obvious trend that networks and carriers (and Apple) are aware of–and they’re dealing with it by intentionally engineering those devices to underperform. The networks (and Apple) are betting on three things:

    1) …That plenty of people will buy such devices anyway

    2) …That the people who buy such devices and experience mediocre speeds won’t notice, won’t care, or won’t know any better

    3) …That they (the networks/carriers) can save loads of cash by not having to improve their infrastructure as quickly to keep up with increasing demands on network resources.

    So far, I’d say they’re 3 for 3. Don’t fool yourself–all of this is just a carefully calculated risk. Consumers consistently prove that they’re not nearly as clever as the marketing campaigns they’re exposed to.

    By the way… you should change the word ‘usage’ in your closing sentence to ‘profit margins’–because if it continues to rake in money… the rest is just details.

  4. Does Android do the same sort of throttling? Because it’s Apple they shouldn’t get away with it just because their devices are ‘used’ more…

  5. AnandTech has debunked the story — Apple isn’t throttling. http://anandtech.com/show/7037/apple-not-throttling-iphones-ipads-cellular-throughput-via-carrier-bundles-

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