Wednesday, Mind Of The Geek reported that with iOS 5.1, AT&T iPhone 4S models were now showing “4G” next to the signal indicator, replacing the “3G” formerly there. To be clear, the AT&T iPhone 4S is not a true 4G phone, in the terms of using a 4G LTE network. Rather, the AT&T iPhone 4S uses AT&T’s HSPA+ enhanced 3G network, which AT&T, along with T-Mobile, are calling 4G.
Just when things seemed clear as mud, AT&T just made things even muddier. Recently, AT&T went on record stating that they are now imposing limits on customers with unlimited data plans, throttling customers with 3G devices after 3GB of data usage or 5GB of usage for 4G customers.
With the term “4G” being thrown around liberally it seems by the wireless industry, AT&T and Apple have just possibly confused even more customers, especially new customers. You see, one would think that since your AT&T iPhone 4S now shows “4G” that you have a 4G phone, and therefore, if you have an unlimited data plan, you’re “limit” would be the 5 gigabytes stated by AT&T for 4G devices.
However, such is not the case. The Washington Post confirmed today with AT&T that iPhone 4S users, even though their devices are showing on the screens “4G”, will be subject to the same 3G data throttling limits as other 3G devices.
It seems, by its own actions and policies, is confirming that the iPhone 4S is not a true 4G device. While AT&T may have the right to set its own policies, from a customer service standpoint this could be very confusing to consumers and give off the perception of a bait and switch policy.
Mind Of The Geek’s advice, when purchasing any device, do your homework. It could save you a lot of trouble and confusion.