Perplexed by my iPhone 4S on ATT Data Speeds (Long)

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by pinkoos, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. pinkoos macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2005
    EDIT: I'm in Houston if that matters.

    I guess I never really paid much attention to this topic since I had been on TMobile for years and was using Android with no real desire to switch to iOS.

    However, now that I'm on the bandwagon, I've of course been following the blogs regarding data speeds on ATT vs. Verizon vs. Sprint.

    As background, on TMobile, I was always getting subjectively fast speeds on 3G (and later 4G) data at home, though I never used a speed test app to actually quantify it.

    Anyway, I went ahead and got the iPhone 4S from the Apple Store and ported my number over from TMobile to ATT. I had picked ATT for several reasons...ability to use the phone for other things while simultaneously on a call and for the apparently much faster data speeds vs. Verizon and Sprint.

    I've had the phone since Saturday and recently traded it out just for a larger capacity model. However, I've always kept the phone on wifi while at home and at work, so 3G data speeds never really came into question as I've just either been at work or home since having the phone.

    Last night, I decided to turn off wifi and see how my 3G speeds were at home. I'm using the Speed Test app that seems to be the most popular on blogs and forums when others are posting their results.

    Anyway, my 3G speeds at home were abysmal last night (all values in Mbps and are download speeds): 0.48, 0.33, 5.44, 5.27, 0.01, 0.29, etc. Notice the two anomalies (5.44 and 5.27). Those were obtained right around the same time last night (8:21 PM). Before that, I tested at 7:52 PM and got the 0.33 value. And, after that I tested at 8:33 PM and got 0.01(!).

    These values were all obtained indoors and essentially in the area of the house. Interestingly, during all these tests I was getting anywhere from 4 to 5 bars of cell reception.

    Where I live there are a lot of old, tall pine trees, oak trees, etc., so the general area of Houston where I am always has a reputation of getting poor coverage but this never seemed to be an issue with TMobile (though, again, I never objectively tested my data speeds while on TMobile).

    When I drove out this morning on my way to work, I tested again at a stoplight, away from the trees that surround my home and got 5.13 and 5.37. This was literally about one minute away from my house, but close to the freeway and away from the trees.

    As I mentioned, one of the reasons I chose ATT over Verizon was for the better data speeds. Granted, while I'm at home or work, the data speeds should be a non-issue as I will be on wifi unless wifi or our internet connection goes down. But, I'm wondering that while ATT definitely provides faster data speeds maybe it's at the expense of being inconsistent and spotty in nature vs. Verizon who provides slower data speeds but maybe would be more consistent and less spotty (I'm just guessing about Verizon since I've never had it and never tested it)?

    Anyway, if somebody could explain several things, that would be great:

    1. The two anomalous readings I got last night.

    2. If there is any relation between the number of bars showing and data speed or if those are mutually exclusive?

    3. If while on a call on a Verizon iPhone, is it impossible to do anything else on the iPhone simultaneously or just impossible to use data? For example, if I need to look up a contact while on a call, can I do that or not?

  2. trouble747 macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2011
    I live in Austin, Texas and have not been seeing some of the impressive speeds that other AT&T users have mentioned.

    I work downtown near the capitol. Early in the morning, I can usually hit around 3 mbps or so. Once it gets to be about 9, and through the rest of the work day, I never get a reading above .75, if that.

    This has been an issue for as long as I've had an iPhone. I contacted AT&T yesterday just to see what they'd say, and was told it was probably due to "network congestion."

    Eh, congestion seems like a somewhat valid excuse for AT&T's dismal service quality during big events like SXSW, ACL Festival, or UT football games. It's not a great excuse for areas of a city that normally have many customers on the network on any given day.
  3. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    With Verizon, it's just data you can't use (email, web, Siri, etc.). Data is paused when you place/answer a call and resumes when you hang up.

    SMS text messages will still come thru & can be sent while on a call.

    But other than internet, you can do anything else on your phone while on a call - open apps, type, etc.
  4. pinkoos thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2005
    Thanks for the replies so far. Another thing I just learned is that Verizon wifi data and calls will work simultaneously. Only Verizon 3G data and calls won't.

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