AT&T Looking to Add '4G' Network Indicator to iPhone 4S Status Bar
This is my next... shares an internal talking point from AT&T regarding the iPhone 4S, noting that the carrier is "working with Apple" to change the network indicator shown in the status bar on the iPhone 4S to read "4G" when the device is running on an HSPA+ network.
AT&T is working with Apple to update the network indicator for AT&T's iPhone 4S to read "4G". This will happen with an iOS release from Apple. Since iPhone 4S is an HSPA+ device, our customers will get 4G speeds from day one. Only AT&T has this unique network advantage.
"4G" is a marketing term that is being applied to both LTE and HSPA+ networks, leading to some customer confusion over just what exactly the term means. AT&T markets both its HSPA+ and LTE services as being 4G, and thus it believes that the iPhone 4S, which supports 14.4 Mbps HSDPA, should be marketed as offering 4G speeds.
Apple has purposely shied away from the debate over what should constitute "4G" speeds, with Phil Schiller steering away from any claims of the iPhone 4S being a "4G" device in its introduction but noting that the iPhone 4S meets or exceeds the data speeds of a number of other handsets that are marketed as 4G devices.
Now, if you follow the phone industry, these numbers might sound familiar – 5.8 up, 14.4 down. Where have I heard that before? Well, this is what the majority of our competitors claim when they talk about 4G performance. The Motorola Atrix 4G, the LG Thrill 4G, the HTC Inspire 4G – they even put it in their names. We're not going to get into a debate in the industry of what's 4G and what isn't. We leave that to others to talk about. What's most important, when it comes to real-world performance – the iPhone 4S is just as fast as all these phones. In fact, we think with some of our software enhancements, it's even faster in real-world use.
The confusion over HSPA+ and LTE flavors of 4G marketing is focused on GSM carriers like AT&T. Verizon does not have a similar issue with its CDMA network, as its only 4G network utilizes LTE technology, which the iPhone 4S does not support. Sprint currently offers 4G service using WiMAX technology, which the iPhone 4S also does not support, although the carrier is moving quickly to transition to LTE for its 4G connectivity.