AT&T Capping 4G Android Upload Speeds, iPhone 4 Still Faster with 3G


AT&T, you got some ‘splainin to do. We should have seen this coming with the initial reports that the carrier was disabling HSUPA support on their 4G Android phones. Though the company touts the enhanced speeds of their 4G network, we are faced with the embarrassing fact that the iPhone 4 and its 3G radio is consistently outperforming the HTC Inspire 4G and Motorola Atrix 4G in terms of upload speed. How much faster is the iPhone’s uplink? Try five times.

Several sources have put the claim through its paces and each time the result is the same. The iPhone 4 is getting an average 1.5Mbps upload speed while the supposedly faster 4G network servicing the Inspire and Atrix is capped at 300kbps. That’s right, capped at 300kbps when the radios installed in the Android devices are capable of up to 5.7Mbps upload speeds. You can see it in the below speed test video put together by YouTube member EchoRelay. So what’s the deal?

AT&T won’t provide an answer, but they are promising future devices (and future updates to current devices) will allow faster uploads over 4G. The hint is whatever cap is in place on the Inspire 4G and Atrix 4G will eventually be lifted. The problem is AT&T is advertising enhanced speeds making better experiences for things like video calling when the enhanced speeds simply don’t exist. One need only to check our own AndroidForums to find the complaints amassing with one user even starting a petition against the service provider.

From the sound of things, AT&T got caught up in the rush to deploy 4G devices on their HSPA+ network and might not have the infrastructure in place yet to support heavy traffic and still provide a consistent quality of experience. That’s not what early adopters want to hear, but it may be the truth they have to live with.

[via Android and Me]

Kevin Krause
Pretty soon you'll know a lot about Kevin because his biography will actually be filled in!

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  1. lolcano

  2. Remember, there is a way to lift cap. You just need to root to do it.

  3. Not surprised at all.

  4. They still know not to bite the hand that feeds them…

  5. Lolz AT&T commercials always say (the nations fastest network is getting faster with 4G) If that is their 4G speeds the need to keep the word fast out of their commercials

  6. @TF: what they’re doing is not biting. They’re using the other end.

  7. Really, at&t need to at least lower the price on the 4G customers because they are really NOT getting what they paid for. I feel a law suit coming their way soon.

  8. I just bought an Atrix outright at AT&T because I did not want to be tied to them for another 2 years (I’ve 10 months left on my current contract). Unless they get their act together I’ll be on my way it’s done.

  9. Kevin, is this really worth reporting, again.

    AT&T has capped all phones that support hsupa to 300kbps with the exception of the iPhone.

  10. lolol who cares about upload speed. its all about the download

  11. False ad! I will buy a 4g device so can sue. Lol. I Hopefully att can fix this shit!

  12. This is so not true. I consistently get 2-4 Mbps with my Samsung Captivate and it is not even 4G. I don’t know about the 4G phones for AT&T, but I do know that they are not capping all android phones. My Captivate is consistently faster than my wife’s iPhone 4.

  13. @goblueboy With bandwidth intensive talks such as video calling and syncing large files, it most certainly IS important. Let’s not kid ourselves.

  14. tmobile hspa+ is way faster than att, i have a samsung vibrant and i get 3.5 to 4.3 consistently.

  15. s/talks/tasks

    Damn you autocorrect!

  16. This is completely unacceptable and anyone who is okay with this has got to be a fool. These cell phone companies are walking all over you guys limiting access to services YOU pay for and giving lame excuses such as “network stress”. Do you not pay them so that they may continue to build and maintain the very network they limit access to…

    Meanwhile they nickle and dime you for texts which cost them a fracion of a penny to transmit. They charge you $25 dollars or more for text packages PURE PROFIT. Its now the end of unlimited data at most cellphone prviders in america with at&t not even offering it as an option. Is this done to protect the network or to protect and garner record profits… Use common sense and do the math.

  17. AT&T should cap iPhone upload speeds if they want to fair…don’t make us pay for iPhone data hogs !

  18. In Engadget’s review, they said Atrix is slower than the iPhone for download speeds, too. So maybe this explains. They must be really capping all the other phones besides iPhones. This is very bad of them, especially since Atrix is supposed to be “4G” so potentially much faster than any 3G phone, including the iPhone. They should be sued for this.

  19. After the iphone took exclusivity away from AT&T, you figure all bets would be off… Major failure on AT&T’s part not embracing the Android Community with open arms.

    They had a chance to redeem themselves, and now they will fail.

  20. Not a fan of frivolous lawsuits but this is well worth a big one.

  21. At&t can embrace Android all they want, but they know that even without exclusivity, the iPhone will remain the top draw for their network….

  22. @iKing: If that’s true, then why do they need to cap the 4g Android phones? Shouldn’t make a difference.

  23. Wow. The download speed that my crusty old 3G Nexus One gets on Telus is just marginally slower than the fancy new Atrix gets on AT&T. And my upload speed is five times better.

    It’s nice to know that there’s one country in the world whose wireless market is even more screwed up than Canada’s.

  24. And yesterday people were actually supporting a merger of TM & Sprint….There needs to be a glut of broadband not narrow window with 2 or 3 major suppliers who will ask you to bend over while they give 6% and 7% of your cash back to their (mostly institutional) investors with a fat dividend check and try to molest you to get $20 to $25 for a couple of Megs every month.

  25. @goblueboy Some of us do actually care about upload speeds.

    @Jon The article speaks of AT&T capping 4G service which wouldn’t apply to your Captivate. No where in the article does it mention that AT&T is capping Android 3G speeds. This article also refers to uploading bandwidth not downloading bandwidth.

  26. @Rebel:
    I suppose to make the iPhone look better by comparison….they’re locked in a battle with Verizon over iPhone customers, which is why all of a sudden they’ve allowed hotspot capabilities to the iPhone.

  27. A lawsuit would be welcome..att is a piece of shit..more articles like this are needed..i would not mind at all if i paid less with my android or all the phones including the iphone are capped

  28. Online petitions are worthless. When was the last time you heard about some kind of change happening as the result of an online petition? Never, that’s when.

  29. iPhone can’t win on its own merits so they have to ruin all the other android phones.
    oh and FYI: “AT&T is proud to be one of America’s largest employers and the largest private-sector employer of full-time union labor.”

  30. I read somewhere (Possibly Droid-Life?) That the Thunderbolt and Bionic (And all LTE Phones) Will also have a software speed limit on them, to increase sales of the wireless USB stick things. its very shameful! Revolution!

  31. @zizo
    A few months ago it was pretty much posted in the “real news” not phandroid that Android users are larger bandwidth hogs. This isn’t me being an fanboy for any product just that I seen this information on the web a lot of places such as on Newser.com, and techweb to name a few. Personally I don’t know why you all still like these cruddy phones that are just terrible and defend them so much. I have an Evo, I had an intercept and a original droid by verizon and it has always sucked. I would not even allow these phones on my business network as they are not a true business phone like Blackberry. Android is still know as the joy ride phone.


  33. Well, I just posted this article on ATT’s Facebook website. Hopefully I won’t get banned or something…

  34. ATT= BIG LOOSERS….. I feel sorry for MOTO ATRIX

  35. an this is why i went with verizon …..

  36. It’s amazing how everyone has given in and actually believes AT&T really offers “4G” now. They do not. Even the blog writers like this one has conciliated and now just call 3G “4G” because AT&T does ..

  37. Doesn’t att have fake 4g? I remember reading about that. They used a loophole in the loose definition of 4g to say they had it.
    @Nicholas is rooting really all it takes?

  38. This affects all non-iPhone 4’s (all branded devices) on AT&T’s network. @Jon thoses were download speeds you were posting, my Captivate and Atrix see those as well, this is about upload speeds, which on everything from my dad’s Blackberry to my sister’s Aria to my old Captivate and current Atrix, to my friend’s iPhone 3GS, to their newest webconnect modems are ALL capped at 334 kbps. Only the iPhone 4 (which received this capability after launch after much complaining) and un-branded phones like my Nexus 1, or a Dell Streak, or custom ROMs can surpass the artificial cap on upload speeds…

  39. Att is a mandingo penis

  40. @DS – They call it “4G” because it is 4G. The ITU changed their definition of 4G to include WiMAX, LTE, and HSPA+ even though none were even close to the previous 4G standard. This capping bs is ridiculous though.

  41. I just got an Atrix 4G in Indianapolis. I hadn’t really noticed, but checking the history on the speedtest app shows all results between 300 and 350 for upload. That’s pretty lame (but not the end of the world for my usage).

  42. It’s like watching a Charlie Sheen train wreck reading the comments.. UPload speed is the issue here.. It doesn’t make it right, but most of the comments here show a lack of understanding. Upload speeds become important when you SEND a lot of data.. A video chat and perhaps Skype would be the biggest worries.. Oh and you probably can’t run a web server.. most likely.

  43. AT&T users find this shocking? It’s AT AND F&$#ING T. The same company that locked down your phone so you can’t install non market apps, the same company that has packet analyzers in place for the government, the same company that brought back the capped data plan. Don’t fool yourselves and stop asking for a pity party. You picked the worst carrier and it’s your own fault.

  44. umm where are you testing? I am in southern Oregon and I am consistently getting 1.5mbps up and 3-5mbps down. They are certainly not capping my atrix…just did a speed test and got 3220kbps up…I’ll email my results to anyone who asks.

  45. Thanks for giving credit! Appreciate it. Lets keep fighting this battle!

  46. Can’t u just turn off 4g and get the faster speeds off 3g?

  47. No way you are getting those speeds with att software..go to the stores try all the phones and the iphone you’ll see the difference

  48. I could see why ATT would give Android a bad rep while they had iPhone exclusivity, but why do it now? People are actually getting excited about their MASSIVE Android lineup, and then they do THIS? Seems like a TERRIBLE business move to me…

  49. so glad I’m on tmobile and not at&t. 4.5 down 1.5 up on my old nexus one

  50. I had a nexus one my uploads speed are about the same as the iphone .The sad thing is i went out bought the atrix and boy was i disappointed when i saw the speed test .


  51. I’m anything but lawyer but isn’t this the sort of thing false advertising claims and class action lawsuits are made of? Or maybe not since you aren’t technically paying a premium for 4G speeds?

  52. I have atrix such is terribly slow returning it coin with tbolt. Ill wait

  53. Root it, and flash another ROM, stick it to the man! I did mine, I’m rockin’ faster downloads and HSUPA!

  54. Everyone who’s complaining : THE SINGLE MOST EFFECTIVE THING TO DO : google your state attorney general’s email address and complain through them. ANY complaint filed thru the AG MUST be rectified by letter to you just what (and when)
    the problem will be fixed. If it is Not fixed to Your advantage they Could loose the opportunity to operate in your state. Believe me, it works!

  55. That is all networks that claim 4g, by definition 4g should get downloads at 6mbps. There are no networks that can truly claim 4g speeds.

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