Joseph Brown, one of the developers behind the iTweakiOS site that provides hacked carrier updates for iOS users, says Apple and three major wireless carriers are throttling iPhone and iPad data speeds on purpose in order to “even out” the network, as users of Apple’s smartphones consume more data than other smartphones.
Brown states that AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint limit the iPhone’s data speeds and provides evidence in the form of snapshots of network settings. For example, AT&T limits the iPhone 5 to Category 10 (14.4Mbps) HSDPA despite the fact that the network is able to support up to Category 14 (21.1Mbps) HSDPA+ and the iPhone supports Category 24 (42.2Mbps) DC-HSDPA+.
Brown also notes similar throttling code that is present in the LTE and 3G network settings of both Verizon and Sprint, for both the iPhone and iPad. The developer’s theory is that Apple, or the carriers, are throttling the data speeds to cut back on the device’s data usage.
– AT&T limits HSPA+ and permanently throttles LTE (unless hack is applied)
– Verizon permanently throttles LTE (unless hack is applied)
– Verizon and Sprint throttle down 3G (unless hack is applied)
– Apple has band preferences set for T-Mobile and AT&T causing signal issues (very much fixable by Apple and the carrier and is currently being looked into, from I’ve been told)
T-Mobile is the only carrier that doesn’t appear to be throttling iPhone data usage.
While Brown seems to place the blame for the network settings squarely on Apple’s shoulders, it is unclear if Apple or the carriers are at fault. It should also be noted that Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon have all historically throttled the data speeds of high volume users.