Uploading fireworks photos over AT&T’s 3G network might’ve been harder than usual this weekend, as iPhone 4 users reported capped upload speeds in more than two dozen U.S. cities.
A Macrumors forumgoer first noticed problems in New York City on Saturday. After seeing 1.7 mbps upload speeds one week prior, speeds suddenly would not exceed 100 kbps, The problem was consistent across friends’ iPhones as well. A forum thread documenting the problem now has over 300 posts, with confirmed speed caps spanning from Boston to Las Vegas.
Apple’s iPhone 4 is supposed to get better data rates than previous models, thanks the use of UMTS’ high-speed upload protocol (HSUPA), just as the iPhone 3GS got better download speeds through HSDPA.
The upload speed issue appears to be regional or temporary. When Gizmodo picked up the story, several commenters reported no problems and posted their own speed tests as evidence. Other posters at Macrumors claim to have spoken with AT&T service representatives, who said the company is experiencing country-wide data issues.
AT&T is reportedly preparing an official statement, but it hasn’t been posted as of this writing. Hopefully the standard customer-appeasement questions are answered: Why did this happen? When will it be fixed? What are you doing to make sure it doesn’t happen anymore? Also, why 100 kbps?
AT&T should be held up to extra scrutiny now that the carrier has stopped offering unlimited smartphone data plans. Ostensibly, AT&T’s 2GB monthly cap on new smartphone data plans will crack down on bandwidth hogs — the carrier claims that less than 2 percent of subscribers use more than this amount on average every month — in theory freeing up the network for everyone else. But because existing smartphone users can still enjoy unlimited plans by remaining on contract, it may be some time before we see any major changes.