Carriers

AT&T: We’re not capping 4G uploads on Android. It’s not even on.

March 11, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka

AT&T

inspire-4g

AT&T has finally responded to allegations that it caps upload speeds on the Motorola Atrix and HTC Inspire 4G. While a group of angry customers started a petition alleging that AT&T purposely sets speeds on Android 4G phones that are slower than 3G-capable iPhones, it’s actually because AT&T hasn’t turned on a feature that powers faster uploads.

In a response to a Better Business Bureau complaint about Atrix upload speeds, AT&T said that customers can

“be assured that AT&T has not ‘capped’ the upload speeds on the ATRIX. The ATRIX is a HSUPA-capable device, and we currently are performing the testing and preparations necessary to ensure that, when we turn this feature on, you will continue to have a world class experience.”

So what’s the difference? “Capping” is a willful move by carriers to limit the speeds that a phone can reach. Think of it as building a car capable of reaching 100 mph but programming it to never exceed 45 mph. What’s happening here is that AT&T is temporarily not letting Atrix owners utilize HSUPA, a feature that allows for faster data transfer speeds. This is more akin to having a car that reaches 45 mph only because it doesn’t yet have the part that will crank things up to 100 mph.

Angry AT&T customers may see that as semantics. Regardless of the reason, they’re still going 45 instead of 100, which can be important when trying to share photos or upload to YouTube. It also doesn’t help that iPhone users are whizzing by them at 70 mph. AT&T Android phones are moving slower than the iPhone because of a lack of software and network support that the phone is capable of running.

AT&T has not yet said when the HSUPA feature would be enabled on the Atrix, so users will have to ride in the slow lane until then. Read the full response at XDA.

Thanks, AT&T Fail!