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iOS 5.1 Adds '4G' Indicator to iPhone 4S Status Bar for AT&T HSPA+ Coverage

Last October, an internal AT&T talking point claimed that the carrier was working with Apple to have the iPhone 4S status bar display a "4G" indicator when the device is connected to an HSPA+ network.

With today's release of iOS 5.1, that change now appears to have gone into effect as shown in a photo posted to Twitter by @ichadman.


While short of the data speeds seen with LTE networks now rolling out, AT&T and other carriers have also referred to their HSPA+ networks using 4G as a marketing terms to distinguish the standard's faster performance relative to older 3G standards.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 33 months ago
Marketing BS.
Rating: 13 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
While HSPA+ is certainly not 4G nor is LTE. HSPA+ is faster on paper than LTE, so if you call LTE 4G you might as well call HSPA+ 4G.

LTE Advanced is the only spec that meets the definition of 4G, however that isn't out yet.
Rating: 9 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago

Did it say HSPA+ before, or just 3G?


it said 3G previously.
Rating: 6 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago

That's a shame. When this news first broke back in November or so and then nothing came of it, I thought it was because Apple told AT&T to go stuff it with their non-4G 4G-in-name-only marketing. Ah, well...


When I got my 4S, my download speeds were hitting ~10 Mbps. That's way faster than any 3G connection I've used.

T-Mobile has been calling HSPA+ "4G" for a while now. Now AT&T does as well.
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
HSPA+ does NOT = 4G! :mad:

The status bar should simply display 3G+ when it is HSPA+!!!!
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
Ridiculous.
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago

It isn't 4G at all. Not anywhere close. If it said H+ then I'd be happy. AT&T calling it 4G is just pure marketing BS.


It is in line with the other carriers though. It probably confuses customers that Sprint's '4G' service is slower than AT&T's '3G' service.
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
"4G" is a marketing term. Pure and simple. The ITU issues recommendations on communication standards, but they have no "power" to enforce marketing terms.

However, one of their key requirements is 100 Mbps maximum throughput. HSPA+ has a maximum throughput of 168 Mbps, obviously well above the "minimum maximum" for "4G" classification. (Not that you're ever going to get it. The fastest HSPA+ I've ever gotten was about 20 Mbps.)
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
Just finished upgrading my phone to 4G. Wicked fast now
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
As one of the millions of Americans who live in rural areas and will not see real LTE for YEARS (2014-2015 at earliest most likely as we still have a lot of EDGE coverage) I like the change.

Deployment of HSPA+ is widespread where we used to just have regular 3G. I frequently see 5mb/sec+ with my iPhone 4S and it is a big step forward from before. Much faster than Verizon and likely the closest thing we will see to anything close to real 4G until the iPad 5 is out.

So I'm glad I can tell now when I'm on HSPA+ versus regular versus EDGE. Bravo Apple!
Rating: 2 Votes

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