AT&T wants to call the iPhone 4S a 4G phone

att 4g iphone 4sWith the immense success of the iPhone 4S presales, it’s no surprise that AT&T is attempting to corner itself as much of that wealth as possible. The original iPhone carrier is working with Apple to secure a 4G label for the latest version of the iPhone 4S, which is technically an HSPA+ device.

AT&T has confirmed it wants to include a “4G” symbol on the signal bar near the top of the iPhone 4S. This would of course set the network apart from its iPhone competitors Verizon and Sprint, given that neither carrier will be offering a “4G” capable handset.

Whether or not AT&T is given the go-ahead from Apple, it will be able to market its iPhone 4S as the fastest of the bunch—in a way. AT&T’s GSM network infrastructure, which differs from Verizon and Sprint’s, will be able to support the iPhone 4S’ HSDPA capability. This, in theory, will enable high-speed downloading (reportedly speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps).

Of course, advertised speeds are generally never what they are said to be. Really, what we are seeing is that were the iPhone 4S to reach its maximum potential download speed, AT&T would be the only carrier that could support it. But even AT&T explains that saying is one thing and doing is another. “HSDPA[‘s]…peak theoretical rate is 14.4 megabits per second. AT&T has engineered its network so that most users’ experience typical downlink throughput rates of 700 kilobits per second to 1.7 Mbps, with bursts of over 1 Mbps. Typical uplink rates are 500 Kbps to 1.2 Mbps.”

Time and time again, carriers have continued to label their devices 4G even while the International Telecommunications Unions wavers over what is the true definition of the technology. And despite the numbers, AT&T has already advertised its iPhone 4S as the only option that will let you “download twice as fast.” Its advertising campaign has gotten some extra help from researchers at OpenSignalMaps, which plots that the carrier will offer the fastest speeds in 31 states because of its hypothetically-optimal network.

A few things to consider before you sign your life and iPhone usage over to AT&T: None of this means anything for signal or voice calling, so if you’ve had trouble or heard your friends’ complaints about this, consider yourself warned. AT&T’s network definitely has the best architecture to take advantage of the iPhone 4S’ new download capabilities—whether that’s in theory or practice remains to be seen.

And no matter how badly AT&T wants that 4G logo on its phone, we can’t imagine Apple will for once bend to a carrier’s wishes. When Apple creates a 4G iPhone, it will want to harness and control that release from the inside, not fork over the benefits to a lowly network. 

[UPDATE 8:24 A.M. PST] 

This post was edited to better point out that the ITU has redefined 4G to include HSPA+ along with LTE and WiMAX. However, the ITU officially recognizes LTE Release 10 and WiMAX 2 as “actual” 4G speeds. Confused? Check out our 4G guide

Mobile

AT&T jumps the gun with deliberately misleading 5GE launch

As excitement about 5G networks continues to build, AT&T jumps the gun with a ridiculous and deliberate attempt to deceive the public with 5G Evolution – a speed bump that’s based on improvements to 4G tech.
Mobile

Get $100 discount on the Razer Phone 2 for a limited time

The Razer Phone 2 is finally here, and it's got upgraded specs, that super-smooth 120Hz display, and an updated design. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Razer Phone 2.
Mobile

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.
Mobile

Google Fi is getting support for the next-gen messaging standard, RCS Chat

Google has been pushing the development of the RCS Chat standard, and now it's finally bringing that new standard to its own carrier -- Google Fi. With Chat, customers will get features like read receipts, better group messaging, and more.
Mobile

The iPhone XS Battery Case's battery has a smaller capacity than previous cases

Apple has been rumored to be working on a new iPhone battery case for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now, those new cases are finally here, offering seven hours of extra use for each iPhone and are available for $129.
Mobile

Join the Apple club with our complete guide to switching from Android to iOS

If Android simply isn’t cutting it for you anymore, then you might be considering Apple’s warm embrace. Here’s how to make the switch from Android to iOS without losing your contacts, sleep, or hair!
Mobile

Want more power, but faster? This new charging tech claims it can deliver

Chunky power bricks and slow charging could be a thing of the past with GaNFast technology from Navitas Semiconductors. By using an alternative to silicon, GaNFast reduces power consumption and boosts output.
Mobile

It’s back! Here’s how to switch to Twitter’s reverse chronological feed

Twitter has finally brought back the reverse chronological feed, allowing you to see your feed based on the newest tweets, rather than using Twitter's algorithm that shows what it thinks you want to see. It's easy to switch.
Mobile

Having trouble logging in? Here's how to reset your Apple ID password

To use any of Apple's services, you need to have an Apple ID and know your password. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with forgotten passwords and regain access to your account. Here's how to reset your Apple ID password.
Mobile

Turn to these apps to help you in your next hunt for a job

Looking for a job can be a stressful experience, but these days, a simple mobile app can help you to find and apply for jobs all over the country -- here are some of the best job search apps for iOS and Android.
Wearables

Omron HeartGuide brings blood pressure monitoring to your wrist

High blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, and many other health problems, so it's important to keep an eye on. Omron's HeartGuide is a fitness tracking watch that can also monitor your blood pressure from your wrist.
Mobile

Learn how to play YouTube in the background on iOS and Android

We show you how to play YouTube in the background with apps such as Opera, Chrome, and Firefox -- along with the premium offerings like YouTube Premium -- whether you have an Android or iOS device.
Mobile

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.
Mobile

Verizon’s deal could get you a free iPhone XR — but there’s some fine print

Verizon launched a new deal for its smartphones aimed at encouraging customers to open a new line. If you're willing and you want two new phones, you could get a free Samsung Galaxy S9, iPhone XR, or Pixel 3.