iPhone users on AT&T that have upgraded to the iOS5.1 release will be delighted to note that the network icon at the top of the screen will now display ‘4G’ rather than ‘3G’, when it suitable coverage. Just like that. As upgrades go, that’s quite impressive. Yes, with a simple software upgrade, Apple has managed to upgrade the innards of every AT&T iPhone so that it now supports ‘true’ 4G speeds, which are 45,683 faster than standard 3G. Honest guvnor.
Of course, it’s not actually Apple’s fault, It’s AT&Ts, who clearly have told Apple that it wants everyone to think that its entire network is 4G, even though on an iPhone the fastest network it can connect to is HSDPA 14.4. So more FauxG that 4G.
As most will know, it all stems from the ITU’s capitulation last year in allowing anyone that has a network that offers, “a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed,” to call it a 4G network. When you consider that initial 3G networks offered data speeds of 384Kbps, that’s not saying much. The original requirement for 4G from the ITU was networks that could deliver 1GB/sec when stationary and 100Mb/s on the move. That’s not possible from LTE – that’s LTE Advanced, which is still a while away from commerical deployment anywhere in the world.
But fret not. We have iOS 5.1, and AT&T. So that’s all right then.