Yes, iPhone 4S is HSPA+

Yes, iPhone 4S is HSPA+

There were rumors the 2011 GSM/AT&T iPhone would have an HSPA+ radio for faster download speeds but when Apple announced the iPhone 4S, while they said it would do 14.4 mbps, they only listed it as an HSPA device.

Now, some are of the opinion that anything under 21 mbps should qualify as HSPA+, so iPhone 4S with only 14.4 mbps speed shouldn't qualify. However, 3GPP release 7 doesn't mandate that faster speeds are necessary to qualify as HSPA+ -- a device can support any 3GPP release 7 feature and still be classified as HSPA+. The Qualcomm chipset in iPhone 4S uses 3GPP features, and so it's an HSPA+ radio, speed be damned.

So while iPhone 4S did indeed get its HSPA+, it didn't get the 21 mbps or 42 mbps speed to go with it that many were hoping for. Also, Apple chose to neatly sidestep the whole 4G/fake 4G issue, so we won't open that can of worms here either.

Note: This applies only to the GSM/AT&T iPhone 4S. The CDMA/Verizon/Sprint iPhone 4S retains the same EV-DO rev A

More: AnandTech

Thanks: @nerdtalker, @justin_horn, @varek, @shuxley

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Yes, iPhone 4S is HSPA+

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Ok this may be a dumb question, but if Apple decided to use an HSPA+ radio, why didnt they enable it to use the full speed that HSPA+ is capable of? Maybe im misunderstanding something but if the radio is there, and the cell tower can handle the signal, why the lower speed? Doesnt make sense...

I don't know if you missed his post warlord but vareck said it about as clear as possible it's all about the chip and modulation

21 mbps requires a higher order modulation (64QAM) than the 14.4 mbps (category 10 devices) require, and not all HSPA+ chipsets support that. The first HSPA+ devices in the US (tmobile G2 and my touch 4G for example) were also category 10, 14.4 mbps HSPA+ devices.

Who cares as long as is performs twice as fast in real world usage. I have tested several hspa + dual core phones that can barely break 1.5 mpbs down and less than a mb up, this is with full bars and the hspa + icon on. Specs mean nothing unless they perform as stated.

No, because those speeds are theoretical, I don't know anyone on AT&T/T-Mobile "4G" enhanced backhaul stuff getting more than 6-7Mb on a really really REALLY good day.

Just because the chip comes with HSPA+ doesn't mean that Apple didn't get it cheaper with HSPA+ turned off. Chip makers do this all the time. Assuming it's HSPA+ from this is not enough.

It does! If it's HSPA+ then that means low latency! That's all I want, lower latency, HSDPA and HSUPA is fast enough, but latency is too high for VOIP purposes!

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