A recently published, Gartner report examines the 3G networks of all four major U.S. wireless carriers. What they found was that most of these networks provide slower speeds than customers were led to expect. AT&T customers had the most complaints about its network, and the iPhone 3G was singled out.
The report was quick to point out that both companies and consumers should be a bit more realistic about their expectations of network performance and that consumers should look closely at the fine print which "doesn't guarantee such speeds." Claims of speeds as high as 1.8Mbit/sec. were "generally between 300Kbit/sec and 700Kbit/sec lower than expected for both uplink and downlink speeds".
The Gartner report covers services provided by AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA, with an emphasis on the fact that all of these vendors market their 3G network speeds as "broadband." Broadband, by loose definition, generally delivers network speeds of 1.5Mbit/second download and around 250KBit/second upload.
The report then singled out the iPhone 3G, which is sold for exclusive use on the AT&T 3G network. Redman's comments about the iPhone 3G: "saying it won't support downloads faster than 1.4Gbit/sec" whereas "some laptop cards get 1.7Mbit/sec." He further said, "Companies shouldn't expect the fastest network speeds on the iPhone 3G."
AT&T, of course, wasn't all that happy with the results of the report and the methodology used to put it together. Accordingly, AT&T spokesman, Mark Siegel, commented, "We deliver to customers on speeds... Redman based his conclusions about AT&T, he added, "on anecdotal feedback from only 30 customers to fashion some sweeping generalizations about us in particular.""
AT&T went further to advise Redman that he should have tested the AT&T network with the new Blackberry Storm.
We've covered the topic of slow 3G throughput many times:, , and others. We've documented workarounds and fixes to try, Apple has tried fixing 3G reception via firmware updates and soon AT&T will be offering products to make 3G work. We also wonder if this is what might be AT&T from offering iPhone 3G tethering.