What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

AT&T users see 4G on their phones but it’s not what they think

John Moe Mar 9, 2012

I was on Facebook last night and saw a post from my old college roommate, Drew, who noticed that his iPhone said 4G whereas it used to say 3G. He’s with AT&T and was excited to see that maybe he had finally been bumped up to the new superfast network. But yet, he added, “Speedtest says 600 kb per second – how can AT&T call this 4G?? Slower than 3G lol!”

LOL indeed, Drew, because AT&T changed all iPhone 4Ses to say 4G but, says Business Insider:

the AT&T model of the iPhone 4S runs on a type of network called HSPA+, which is slightly faster than the 3G connection you’re used to. AT&T brands its HSPA+ network as a “4G” network. It also calls its LTE network, which can be about 10 times faster than 3G, a “4G” network.

This is pretty screwy stuff for AT&T to pull on its customers and its all about making people think that their phones are running faster than they really are because 3 is more than 4.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.