Along with introducing new LTE 4G capabilities for their latest iPad, it appeared to many users today who upgraded to iOS 5.1 that their AT&T iPhone 4S devices were receiving a 4G signal as well. All was not as it seemed however, as it turns out the bogus 4G indication is just a bug in iOS 5.1, and the iPhone 4S is still limited to 3G speeds.
AT&T tried to get Apple to market the iPhone 4S as a 4G device when it was released, and it appears that Apple may have caved to their demands, despite the fact that it’s a bit shifty for AT&T to call their HSPA+ network “4G”.
The Verge confirms that it is indeed just a misleading change in the labeling, as iPhone 4S users who see the indication aren’t getting any kind of speed increase to go along with it.
AT&T’s defense lies in the fact that their HSPA+ 3G data network operates at much faster speeds that the 3G networks that Sprint and Verizon use, and that the increase in speed should be enough for them to call their network “4G”.
Of course, it’s also possible that this is just a bug within iOS 5.1, but given AT&T’s prior attempt to label their network as 4G, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is just more of their dishonest marketing coming into play.