iPhone 5 Likely to Support AT&T '4G', Widening Speed Gap Over Verizon

Barron's reports on a new research note from Hudson Square analyst Todd Rethemeier, who claims that the fifth-generation iPhone due this fall will indeed support HSPA+ technology, a development that will allow the device to offer faster data speeds on GSM networks such as AT&T. (The currently shipping iPhone supports standard HSPA.) Despite the fact that HSPA+ is slower than the LTE standard being rolled out by major carriers, AT&T has begun marketing its HSPA+ network as "4G", meaning that the carrier could position the next iPhone as a 4G device despite it failing to offer LTE compatibility.

hspa

The implications of an HSPA+ iPhone are significant in the United States, where Apple presently offers a separate CDMA iPhone running on Verizon. Even with both current models of the iPhone 4 limited to 3G networks, AT&T's HSPA data network is already faster than Verizon's EVDO data network. That disparity will be magnified with the next iPhone as AT&T users will be able to experience download speeds in the range of 5-10 Mbps under HSPA+ while users on Verizon will remain stuck on the carrier's current 3G network running in the neighborhood of 1 Mbps.

And that advantage would continue to be significant even for the expected LTE-enabled sixth-generation iPhone until LTE networks are essentially built out, as AT&T users would be able to fall back from LTE to HSPA+ while Verizon users would fall all the way back to basic 3G when out of LTE coverage areas.

For AT&T iPhone 5 users, this could mean download speeds of 5-10 Mbps, compared to less than 1 Mbps for a Verizon user. Certainly, when an LTE iPhone is introduced AT&T would lose some of its marketing advantage. However, even when that happens, the phone will be backwards compatible, so the AT&T iPhone 6 would be able to roam onto the HSPA+ network when an LTE network is not available, giving AT&T an advantage in suburban and rural areas for several more years, we believe.

AT&T notes that it is currently seeing "4G" speeds of up to 6 Mbps for HSPA+ devices connected to cell towers utilizing the enhanced backhaul connections needed to support such speeds. The carrier touts HSPA+ as an intermediate step on the way to LTE, a move that will enable it to be the only U.S. carrier to offer two layers of "4G" speeds on its network.

Early reports have seen some users of "4G" HSPA+ devices on AT&T experiencing speeds slower than that seen on 3G, particularly when it comes to upload, although the carrier is still finishing building out its full HSPA+ capabilities. Consequently, it remains to be seen exactly just how wide the disparity would be between an HSPA+ iPhone running on AT&T versus one running on Verizon's network.

Verizon executives have claimed that the next-generation iPhone will be a single "world-mode" model capable of operating on both GSM and CDMA networks. The CDMA iPhone 4 and iPad 2 already include a Qualcomm chip capable of supporting both HSPA+ and CDMA 3G standards, meaning that Apple would primarily have to focus on integrating sufficient antenna capabilities to support the number of frequencies required for both CDMA and GSM compatibility in a single device.

Top Rated Comments

ratzzo Avatar
133 months ago
Why do they label anything as 4G nowadays when it clearly isn't? :confused:
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
_Refurbished_ Avatar
133 months ago
Throughout the internet, this includes top rated journalists, people concern themselves with speeds and "speedtests". A maximum theoretical speed is, in a lot of cases, less important than latency.

While this may vary by area, ATT's latency ranges between 300 - 1000ms in the Orange County / LA / NY areas. Speeds range from abysmal > 2.5mbit.

My average latency on Verizon is 190ms. My WiFi is only 100ms lower than that. My average speeds range from .5mbit > 1.2 mbit and are much more consistent on a day to day basis.

Even though my speeds are better with ATT, my Verizon iPhone reloads sports scores faster, loads mobile sites faster, videos load more evenly and the majority of desktop sites fly by. Verizon's lower latency leads to a better overall experience. 1 mbit is sufficient for the majority of work that needs to be done on a mobile device.

The point I'm trying to make is that HSPA+ tends to have a lower latency than HSPA and that will be the most noticeable change for ATT users, as they transition to the iPhone 5(4s). A lot of tasks on the iPhone are latency related, and not speed related.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
srl7741 Avatar
133 months ago
Feds need to step in and set limits to what people can call 4G. This crap is getting confusing.
That and you should not be able to run TV Ads claiming the same when you dont even have 4G anywhere in an entire State. People walk into a store buy a 4G phone and never think to ask if they even have 4G service. They find out later "It's Coming". Total farse and deceiving to the average consumer.

I have several people a week brag to me about their 4G smart device and I smile while telling them good job, we don't even have 4G anywhere in the entire State you moron.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
miles01110 Avatar
133 months ago
Why do they label anything as 4G nowadays when it clearly isn't? :confused:

The same thing happens every time there's a race to be the first to adopt a new buzzword.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FriarNurgle Avatar
133 months ago
Feds need to step in and set limits to what people can call 4G. This crap is getting confusing.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rodimus Prime Avatar
133 months ago
Why do they label anything as 4G nowadays when it clearly isn't? :confused:
well technically it 4G but that is more because the carriers got them to change what is defined as 4G.

I call it Fake G. It pisses me off that they really are doing it. I would not be surprised if at some point LTE becomes known as 5G.

I say HSPA+ is more like 3.5G a lot like how Edge as 2.5G.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 With Fix for Touch ID Apple Watch Bug

Monday July 26, 2021 9:48 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1, minor bug fix updates that come just a week after the release of iOS 14.7, software that introduced new Apple Card features and support for the MagSafe Battery Pack. The iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to...
iPad mini pro feature 2

iPad Mini 6 to Feature 8.3-Inch Display With No Home Button and Narrower Bezels

Monday July 26, 2021 12:26 pm PDT by
The sixth-generation iPad mini that's in the works will have an 8.3-inch display, according to display analyst Ross Young. That will be larger than the current 7.9-inch display, with the larger size due to the removal of the Home button and a narrower bezel design. Rumors about the iPad mini 6 have been picking up in recent weeks ahead of its prospective launch this fall. Apple analyst...
iphone 12 pro gold

Report: iPhone 14 Pro Models to Feature Tough Titanium Alloy Chassis

Monday July 26, 2021 1:12 am PDT by
Next year's "iPhone 14" series is expected to feature high-end models with a new titanium alloy chassis design, claims a new investors report by JP Morgan Chase. According to the report, the use of titanium alloy will be one of the biggest changes to the case design in the 2022 iPhone series, and Foxconn will be the exclusive manufacturer of the titanium frames for the high-end models....
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
apple mac business page

Apple Shares 11 Reasons Why Business Users Should Choose Macs

Monday July 26, 2021 11:35 am PDT by
Apple today updated its Apple at Work website with a new section dedicated to the Mac, which offers up 11 reasons why "Mac means business." On the webpage, Apple highlights the M1 chip as the number one reason why business users should choose a Mac, offering up an M1 overview [PDF] that explains the benefits of the M1 chip. The information isn't new, but it does provide a look at all of...
imac with accessories

Larger Redesigned High-End iMac Rumored to Launch Next Year

Monday July 26, 2021 3:45 am PDT by
Apple's larger redesigned iMac will arrive sometime in 2022 rather than later this year, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." On Twitter, Dylandkt claimed that Apple's "high end iMac" is not expected to release in the fourth quarter of 2021 alongside Apple's "M1X Macs" – a reference to Apple's redesigned MacBook Pro models – because "Apple simply does not want their devices to...
General iOS 14

iOS 14.7.1 and macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 Patch Security Vulnerability That May Have Been Actively Exploited

Monday July 26, 2021 11:55 am PDT by
Apple today released unexpected iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates to the public, and according to a newly released support document, the software addresses a serious security vulnerability that may have been exploited in the wild. Apple says that an application may have been able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges due to a memory corruption issue. "Apple is aware of a report ...
apple bitcoin hack

Is Apple Really Buying Bitcoin?

Monday July 26, 2021 3:07 am PDT by
A large number of websites and posts on social media are stoking rumors that Apple has purchased $2.5 billion worth of bitcoin in the company's first move into cryptocurrency, but is there any validity to the claims? Many people are citing the fact that Apple was looking for a Business Development Manager with experience in alternative payments, including cryptocurrency, earlier this year as ...
tesla red orange bg feature

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Takes Shots at Apple During Earnings Call

Monday July 26, 2021 4:53 pm PDT by
During a Tesla earnings call that took place today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk spent time sniping at Apple, reports CNBC. Musk criticized Apple's "walled garden" and made comments on the company's cobalt use. In a discussion about plans to allow Tesla competitors to use the Tesla electric vehicle charger network, Musk said that Tesla does not want to create a walled garden to "bludgeon" Tesla...
FaceID iMac REREREREMIX

Gurman: Face ID on the Mac Coming Within a 'Couple of Years'

Sunday July 25, 2021 7:09 am PDT by
Apple plans to bring Face ID to the Mac within the next "couple of years," respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter. In the newsletter, Gurman says that he believes Apple's ultimate goal is to shift all of its products to Face ID, including the lower-end iPhones such as the iPhone SE and the iPad Air, which feature Touch ID....