AT&T Brings The iPhone 4S Swagger - InformationWeek
Mobile // Mobile Devices
02:25 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman

AT&T Brings The iPhone 4S Swagger

AT&T wants to remind everyone thinking about buying an iPhone 4S that its variant will be the fastest.

Though Apple did not announce a "4G" version of the iPhone 4S, AT&T wants you to know that not all versions of the iPhone 4S have been created equal.

The company published a press release today claiming that its version of the iPhone 4S is "twice" as fast as that being offered by Sprint and Verizon Wireless. How could this possibly be? Let's look at the radio support in the iPhone 4S.

Rather than make two different versions of the iPhone (one for GSM networks, one for CDMA networks) Apple made one version that supports both network types. This means the same phone will work on AT&T's network, Sprint's network, and the Verizon Wireless network.

The iPhone 4S includes HSPA+ at up to 14.4Mbps theoretical max download speeds. That means in real-world conditions, iPhone 4S users can expect to see the best possible download speeds between 7Mbps and 10Mbps. Even using an iPhone 4, which has a lower maximum data rate than the iPhone 4S, I've achieved maximum download speeds on AT&T's network as high as 5.1Mbps.

[ Are Apple-haters missing the point about the iPhone 4S? See iPhone Vs Android: It's The Sum, Not The Specs. ]

What about the iPhone 4S on Sprint and Verizon? CDMA-EVDO Rev. A, which is the fastest and best form of EVDO deployed by Sprint and Verizon Wireless, has a maximum download speed of 3.1Mbps. Real-world speeds are often between 1.2Mbps and 2.0Mbps. The highest EVDO speed I've ever achieved is 1.86Mbps.

Simply comparing the two best numbers I have personally experienced (sampling both networks back one year), it is easy to see that AT&T's HSPA+ network is faster that either Sprint or Verizon's EVDO networks under peak conditions.

This gives AT&T at least one marketing advantage over its rivals. The other is that AT&T's version of the iPhone 4S will let customers talk on the phone and surf the internet at the same time. CDMA-EVDO networks aren't built to offer that type of dual use.

AT&T is clearly happy to have these differentiators in its corner.

"We can't wait for our customers to experience the incredible new iPhone 4S on our 4G network and enjoy download speeds of up to twice as fast," said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "When you combine the nation's fastest mobile broadband network with iPhone 4S, as well as our new pricing for iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, we think we have the best iPhone line up in the industry."

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User Rank: Apprentice
10/10/2011 | 6:07:10 PM
re: AT&T Brings The iPhone 4S Swagger
Fill you're a little late coming into the "Why is everyone claiming to be 4G, when they are all only barely reaching the International 4G standards" argument. :) None of the carrier's true average speeds are 4G yet. Thier Max theoritical speeds are in the very low end of the International 4G standards and therefore they all claim to be 4G now. Marketing ploys. T-Mobile and AT&T use the same Network type HSPA and when software upgraded it is HSPA+ which is really a high end 3G standard that at max speeds will barely reach into the 4G standard. But from what I have read so far, none of the Towers on all networks have the actual line speed structures to handle max speeds and that all the carriers are going to have to redo thier infrastructure in order to really get thier current Max speed of thier current network types. So basically for a time, T-Moble & AT&T will have a faster network HSPA+ all over the US than Verizon's slower CDMA network. That is why you see all the marketing from Verizon talking about LTE and them building up what they are calling True 4G. IT's still not true but faster than all the other networks. Even AT&T is moving to adopt LTE going forward next year. It will be interesting to see how each carrier markets thier speeds. One thing is for sure though, all the carriers are going to spend alot of money upgrading infrastucture to handle all the data traffic coming in the future.
User Rank: Strategist
10/7/2011 | 9:04:36 PM
re: AT&T Brings The iPhone 4S Swagger
I was reading an article a few days ago which said that T-Mobile was marketing HSPA+ as "4G". So there appears to be some confusion over what exactly 4G means.
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