4G Icon on AT&T iPhone 4S

The Sudden Appearance of 4G Icon on AT&T’s iPhone 4S Surprised Many

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4G Icon on AT&T iPhone 4SApple bumped all its devices to iOS 5.1 with the Tuesday software update and if you’re an AT&T subscriber, you could be a little surprised to see a brand-new 4G icon in place of the old 3G icon. However, it doesn’t mean that Apple has found a way to upgrade a phone’s hardware over the air. In reality, it relates to how AT&T controversially defines its mobile service implementation. In AT&T’s network, HSPA+ is considered as the next upgrade to the standard 3G HSDPA network and it is simply called as 4G.

Much has been discussed about how AT&T is manipulating the 4G terminology, but is it wrong for AT&T to brand a non-LTE device as 4G? Many proponents argue that HSPA+ is sufficiently fast for typical users to experience as a 4G implementation. However, according to the ITU, LTE is still considered as a part of 3G technology and it’s simply a pre-cursor to an upcoming real 4G implementation. In reality, many carriers and manufacturers also mislead users about the true nature of the LTE.

IMT-Advanced is the latest applicable data technology, although along with WiMax and LTE, it might still be a precursor to the real 4G.  Generally, AT&T subscribers shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of confidence and brag that they now have a 4G device, when in fact; they don’t even get an LTE connection. Compared to other smartphone manufacturers, Apple is regularly one step or more behind, the iPhone family still doesn’t support LTE and the new iPad is still confined to the slower 3G technologies, although iPad users will get the DC-HSDPA support.

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