AT&T capping data uploads on the iPhone 4?

Rumors are flying that AT&T is experiencing problems with its network and is restricting upload speeds on its 3G wireless network for iPhone 4 users.

CNET TV producer Wilson Tang tested his iPhone 4 at 4:40 p.m. EDT Tuesday in Manhattan and got an average download speed of 682Kbps and an average upload speed of 225Kbps. That followed tests around 3:15 EDT in which he was getting download speeds of 958Kbps and 970Kbps and uploads of 57Kbps and 59Kbps, respectively. Screenshot by CNET

Are you an iPhone 4 customer running into data upload problems?

CNET is seeing plenty such reports saying iPhone 4 usersin some regions of the country, including New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and as far west as Salt Lake City and Seattle, are experiencing dramatic drops in their data upload speeds.

People in the MacRumors forum started writing posts about the potential problem on Sunday. The initial poster from New York City said that last week he had seen upload speeds of 1.7 megabits per second. But on Saturday, he noticed he was only able to get upload speeds of 100 kilobits per second. Hundreds of people on MacRumors have responded saying they have experienced similar problems.

So far, the rumor mill has been blaming AT&T. The wireless operator, which has the exclusive contract for the iPhone in the U.S., is being accused of intentionally capping upload speeds as it experiences regional data outages that are affecting customers in different parts of the country. AT&T thus far is mum, and CNET can't confirm the reports.

While in Boston recently, CNET Reviews editor Kent German ran three separate tests using the same SpeedTest app by Xtreme Labs. He found that download and upload speed results varied by hand position. For example, one test suggests that when the iPhone 4 is held on the right side of the device, the average download speed was 998Kbps and the average upload speed was 340Kbps. When the phone was not held on the right side, the average download speed was 419Kbps and the average upload speed was 193Kbps.

Wilson Tang, a CNET TV producer in Manhattan, tested his iPhone 4 on Tuesday afternoon first using the SpeedTest.net app. At about 3:15 p.m. EDT Tuesday, he reported that he was getting download speeds of 958Kbps and 970Kbps and uploads of 57Kbps and 59Kbps, respectively. An hour and a half later, using the SpeedTest app by Xtreme Labs, he got an average download speed of 682Kbps and an average upload speed of 225Kbps.

It's difficult to conclude anything from these tests. But AT&T has been criticized for network performance in the past. The carrier has admitted difficulties in keeping up with the onslaught of data traffic on its network due to previous versions of the iPhone. And the company recently stopped signing new customers up to its unlimited data plans. Instead, all new smartphone subscribers get two choices of data plans, which are capped at 2 gigabytes of data and 200 megabytes of data, respectively.

CNET wants to know what our readers are seeing in terms of upload speeds. So if you're an iPhone 4 user, let us know if you're having problems and what kinds of speeds you are seeing. You can check your speed by downloading the SpeedTest app by Xtreme Labs. The Federal Communications Commission also has an app that can be downloaded for free that allows you to test your data speed connection.

 

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