Thursday, March 10, 2011

Are Upload Speeds Being Capped on AT&T Devices?

Something interesting has started popping up around the internet recently, the fact that AT&T may be capping speeds on many devices to speeds quite a bit lower than AT&T's network can support. It is also looking like this may be the case on a plethora of AT&T devices and not just the iPhone 4.

This has been seen on a few different AT&T devices recently including the company's latest set of USB modems like the USBConnect Shockwave 4G and the USBConnect Adrenaline. Both of the aforementioned devices were running upload speeds far below their capabilities in many parts of New York City recently.

It also appears that AT&T devices that should support HSUPA, something that would allow them to enable upload speeds of up to 1Mbps, are also being limited to UMTS, which only maxes them out at 384Kbps, half of their potential speed.

The folks over at PCMag have been running some tests to figure out what exactly is going on. They tested an HTC Inspire 4G, a Motorola Atrix and an Apple iPhone 4. Both the Inspire and the Atrix are supposed to be faster than iPhone 4 overall considering both the Inspire and the Atrix have HSPA+ 14.4 modems whereas the iPhone 4 only has an HSPA 7.2 modem.

PCMag used the Ookla SpeedTest app and connected each phone to the exact same server. Then they ran the test six individual times. Their results? They got the UMTS upload speeds on the Inspire and the Atrix every time. Tests done by PCMag with the iPhone 4 at the same time in the same location showed dramatically higher upload speeds which also correlated to the two USB modems PCMag had tested earlier.

These tests conclude that AT&T is in fact capping upload speeds for several different non-iPhone 4 devices. There are other explanations though. This could be a problem specific to the four separate devices PCMag tested or it could also be a problem with the particular sections of NYC that are experiencing the problems. However, that all seems highly coincidental.

PCMag contacted AT&T and inquired about what was going on but got no solid answer. What do you think? Is there a reason AT&T is doing this? Is it to promote the AT&T version of the iPhone 4 after Apple released a Verizon version? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Source: PCMag - Is AT&T Capping Upload Speeds?
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