AT&T capping iPhone 4 data upload speeds?

It appears as though AT&T has put a cap on the 3G upload data speed in certain regions. Members of MacRumors forums are reporting that the cap seems to be at 100 kbps and the areas that are affected are:

NYC, Central Jersey, Boston, Orlando, Seattle, South Jersey/Philly, Columbus, Cleveland, West Houston, Phoenix, Northern Colorado, St. Paul/Minesota, Suffolk County/Long Island, Quad Cities, South Jersey, Denver, Detroit Metro, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Fairfax, Minneapolis

A possible explanation could be maintenance work related to HSUPA (high speed uplink), the network protocol that will bring us faster upload speeds to devices that support it, like iPhone 4. We hope to hear an official statement from AT&T soon.

I did a quick test in Denver while connected to my AT&T Microcell and got a whopping 47 kbps upload speed. Meanwhile, Jeremy is experiencing no problems in HSPA-drenched Chicago. What about you? What 3G upload speeds are you getting and where are you located?

[Gizmodo, Macrumors forums]

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Leanna Lofte

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

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AT&T capping iPhone 4 data upload speeds?

81 Comments

App used to test speed: Speedtest.net
Download: 4978 kbps
Upload: 811 kbps
Location: Carmel, Indiana (Northern Indianapolis)

Strange. Prior to today in NYC, I was seeing uploads speeds of 457,707,and even up to 1632. So why then are the slower speeds today indication of network upgrades when NYC was already seeing high upload speeds?

Just under 100kpbs is the max upload in the DC/Baltimore Metro area all over MD and northern VA. I never get any faster. Download speeds are good now, pushing 2000kbps.

In Jersey (Central I guess) here and just tested with the app you used:
1689 avg 1689 max down
251 avg 251 max up

@Joshua - WOW! I'm in Indianapolis and I only see those download speeds late at night. My download speeds seem to be good though.

1128 D / 637 U
iPhone 4 (in 3GS case!)
Speedtest app
Far North Dallas, TX
Back around Dec/Jan when HSPA was being upgraded in my area, I was consistently getting 50 Kbps or 100 Kbps uploads (+/- 1 or 2kbps)

I am just north of Austin, TX. Most test's I have run here have been good. I do get an occasional bad one, but most are about like this:
Test Date: Jun 24, 2010 6:33:56 PM
Connection Type: Cellular
Download: 4042 kbps
Upload: 1246 kbps
Ping: 308 ms

I didn't believe this was true, but tried it, and sure enough... Two tests: 2072 down, 100 up & 1922 down, 96 up. BUMMER!! That's slower than before even when death gripping (got around 300 up).
In my result history using the Speedtest App, on July 2nd, I got 1976 down, 1626 up.
I'm in Des Moines, IA.

Atlanta download 10.99 Kbps & upload 3.02 Kbps with no problem with dropped calls using iPhone 4!

DC area had uploads near 1 Mbps up last week. Now they're 50-100 Kbps. So 10-20x slower. Bummer. Feeling a little ticked about this.

I'm in Western Wi (Mpls/St Paul area) and definitely seeing throttled upload. On average 70-90 kbps on 3Gs. 1200+ download tho.

I am getting about 1.2mbps upload on 3G, which is faster than the wifi at my house! (Though wifi still wins in download)

And BTW, 3GS owners please stop posting your upload speeds (@9, @15, @23). 3GS doesn't support HSUPA, so you're not going to see high upload speeds even if AT&T isn't capping data- you're limited by your hardware.

1360 kbps down / 1079 kbps up right now, which is by far the lowest I've gotten from Speed Test in Boston since I got my iPhone 4 on launch day.

Beaverton, Oregon - iPhone 4 - iOS4 - Speedtest.net app - 3 tests with server in Portland - 61kb/s, 67kb/s, and 65kb/s upload........

I just did a speedtest in Minneapolis and I got 4200kbps down and 2200kbps up so I don't think we're getting capped here.

Yes! I have Charter Cable 25 Mbp connection and 'N' wireless - but my results indicate that 'N' on the 4 is only using 2.4 kHz and not the faster 5khz as others have reported. Charter caps upload at 3 Mbp so that doesn't provide a true indication of 4 capability.

Duh! This post was about 3G on AT&T and I dashed of a speed test not thinking that it had nothing to do with the post topic. My apology to all...

iPhone 4: 1.02MB Up / 0.13MB Down
In the area of Boston I'm in (Brighton) we've apparently fallen off the map in the last month. Since a couple weeks before the iPhone 4 came out, the ATT signals we receive in the house has gone from full bars consistently to 1 bar or no signal at all. I noticed this on my 3G in the weeks leading up to the 4 and have felt it since on the 4 as well. (Can't test the death grip if you have no signal to begin with!) It's really strange, and increasingly frustrating, as both my fiance and I use only our iPhones & have never bothered to get a landline for our apartment. Now, we either can't make calls or need to go outside to do so.

Here is my speed test on 3G... 1.1 mb is a lot right? :P
Test Date: Jul 6, 2010 2:16:39 PM
Connection Type: Cellular
Download: 585 kbps
Upload: 1174 kbps
Ping: 357 ms
A detailed image for this result can be found here:
http://www.speedtest.net/iphone/44138777.png
Ookla operates Speedtest.net using a massive global infrastructure to minimize the impact of Internet congestion and latency. With over a million tests performed every day across hundreds of servers, Speedtest.net is the ultimate resource for bandwidth testing and related information. Visit it on your computer today to find out why.
Sent from my iPhone 4

Columbus, OH. 60 Kbps. I call shenanigans. This explains some of the data issues on 3G. Beautiful phone, shady carrier.

Testing 3Gthis time - laying flat on table down is 156 Kbps and up is 97 kbps. My phone is in a Sonix shell and held in hand in the same location the result is 10 Kbps and upload is 0 Kbps using speediest.net to an Atlanta server from an Atlanta suburb. I had to turn 3G off then back on to get any bars after I put the phone back on the table. This time it was 546 down and 187 up.
I guess if you want to use 3G you can't hold the 4 in hand even with a case.

Speedtest over 3G
Average 1300 kbps download; average 220 kbps download
Washington, DC area

I just did a test in northern Oakland county (metro Detroit area) I recieved 1231 kbps down and 249 kbps up.

In Southlake TX (suburb of Dallas/Ft. Worth):
Using the SPEEDTEST.NET application:
Upload: 421 kbps
Download: 2,345 kbps

I get vastly different results depending on which speed test app I use.
Sppedtest.net came up with 1800 kbps download and 1100 kbps upload here in southern CA. But if I run the xtreme labs app I get 450 kbps down and 350 kbps upload.
Maybe it's not all ATT, but rather faulty speed test apps.

Average 1100 down/55up in Pennsylvania (about 40 minutes out of Philly). I've ALWAYS gotten reasonably faster speeds than that - they've got to be capping speeds in this area.
I was actually running Speedtest.net last week and I noticed that I was capping around 45 up... but I wrote it off that maybe I had poor 3G coverage. Apparently I was wrong.

In Buffalo 2.8 download and over 600 upload consistently. The upload is much much better than the 3GS. I usually averaged around 300 kps.

FYI, microcell upload speed is capped at 64kbps. Always has been, always will be. Don't do your speed test on a microcell. It's an invalid test.

In San Fransisco CA I'm getting 2mb up, and 1 mb down, much better than the ~200kb up I was getting on my 3GS

To take the test further I tested while driving doing errands.
3:43 pm 119 1095
3:45 pm 476 690
3:46 pm 78 0
3:47 pm 304 1043
3:48 pm 1019 794
3:49 pm 946 901
3:52 pm 2292 1271
3:53 pm 2213 1266
3:54 pm 2008 1244
3:55 pm 2311 1216
3:56 pm 1555 1265
All tests were speediest.net. When signal strength was 5 bars it didn't matter whether the phone was in my hand or laying on the dash of the car. In my house 3G hovers between 2 and 3 bars on a table. In my hand it has one bar but often will not connect for a test.

Charlotte, NC
Test Date: Jul 6, 2010 7:03:17 PM
Connection Type: Cellular
Download: 1714 kbps
Upload: 618 kbps
Ping: 218 ms

I thunk this is AT&T. I'm getting 1600 down and 160 up on 3G in Arlington VA. I'm also getting 130 down and 13 up on edge. Isn't it interesting that it's approx1/10 in each case?!

I hate AT&T so bad. Over priced and unreliable. Every 4th of July whenever I'm watching fireworks whether it's the macy fireworks or at the beach, Im in and out of no service due to the large amount if people I'm surrounded by. WTF is that about.
Completely unacceptable. Apple needs another carrier in the US already.

Central Delaware, on 3G I get very different numbers for uploads depending on the app I use, also. In my house, with four bars, I get a high of 99k with the ookla app and 257k with the xtreme one. If go back and forth between apps, the results are the same.
As Shane stated above, some of the fault could be on the apps themselves.
Note: my down speeds and ping remained consistent between tests and between apps @ 2900k and 115ms, respectively.

@63, @69, @70: Once again, reporting upload speeds for 3GS devices is off-topic since they don't support HSUPA anyway.

Here in downtown Indianapolis using Xtreme SpeedTest I'm showing 1088K down and 432K up. I'm in the basement of my office building but showing 5 bars.

AT&T is a pathetic network. In Central Michigan, I usually get 200-250k down and 100 up over EDGE ( no 3G ). Lately though (past few days) ATT has been kicking me off the network. I'm reading TiPb and splat, can't load a page. I have to put on Airplane mode for 5 minutes, hard reboot my phone, and reconnect to ATT. Then it MIGHT work again, but only for a few minutes. When I'm in 3G range the network seems better, but i haven't been in range for a week or so.
Come on Apple! Ditch AT&T and go to Verizon / Sprint

AT&T is a pathetic network. In Central Michigan, I usually get 200-250k down and 100 up over EDGE ( no 3G ). Lately though (past few days) ATT has been kicking me off the network. I'm reading TiPb and splat, can't load a page. I have to put on Airplane mode for 5 minutes, hard reboot my phone, and reconnect to ATT. Then it MIGHT work again, but only for a few minutes. When I'm in 3G range the network seems better, but i haven't been in range for a week or so. Come on Apple! Ditch AT&T and go to Verizon / Sprint

AT&T is a pathetic network.  In Central Michigan, I usually get 200-250k down and 100 up over EDGE ( no 3G ).  Lately though (past few days) ATT has been kicking me off the network.  I'm reading TiPb and splat, can't load a page.  I have to put on Airplane mode for 5 minutes, hard reboot my phone, and reconnect to ATT.  Then it MIGHT work again, but only for a few minutes. When I'm in 3G range the network seems better, but i haven't been in range for a week or so.  
Come on Apple!  Ditch AT&T and go to Verizon / Sprint

Spoke to soon - In buffalo my download remains the same but now my uploads wont make it past 80 kps. Damn ATT, you stink! ATT's network here is quite good, usually never have any problems but its hard to recommend when they do stuff like this to us.

5 speedtest tests. iPhone 4 3G. Downloads between 1600 and 2800 Kbps. Uploads in high 80's low 90's. Seems capped.
Salt lake city