Have you updated your iPhone to the iOS 5.1? Did you notice and wonder why there was an AT&T 4G mark instead of the old 3G logo? You may have wondered if iOS 5.1 flipped the switch with AT&T’s cellular network and you’ve been browsing on the faster 4G LTE network.
If you were wondering about this, unfortunately the answer is ‘no‘. iOS 5.1 did NOT flip the switch on your iPhone and no, your network isn’t any faster.
What’s really happening is that iOS 5.1 is simply switching your carrier’s data network logo from “3G” to “4G” and nothing else. At least nothing with respect to the consumer side of things.
Over the past couple years, there were endless debates what a ‘true’ 4G network is. Currently, according to Marguerite Reardon on CNET, there aren’t any true ‘4G’ wireless technologies commercially available today. According to Reardon, most experts decided to label technologies such as LTE and WiMax as 4G and networks that are simply a mere extension of the existing 3G network, such as HSPA+, would be considered as ‘3G’.
The agreement held together until T-Mobile USA, back in 2010, started advertising their HSPA+ network as ‘4G’. T-Mobile, who did not have the capabilities to install LTE networks argued that the HSPA+’s network performance matched that of the LTE and WiMax networks. Arguably so, the actions led every other carrier networks to start calling their HSPA+ network as 4G.
So to answer your question, the iPhone 4S does not even have the 4G LTE chip needs to access the LTE networks, therefore even if AT&T tried to flip the switch, it wouldn’t have done any good anyway. Your iPhone 4S is still running on AT&T’s HSPA+ network.
The ‘new iPad‘ that was announced on Wednesday is the first and only Apple device that runs on the 4G LTE network at the moment, and the iPhone 5 due by the end of the year is known to have 4G LTE capabilities as well.
- New iPad models include high-speed LTE networking (tuaw.com)
- iOS 5.1 Upgrades AT&T iPhone 4S To Bogus “4G” Status (cultofmac.com)
- Rotten Apples: AT&T flexed, Apple caved and customers should be concerned (thenextweb.com)
- What you need to know about the third-generation iPad (FAQ) (news.cnet.com)