iPhone 3G speeds: Wired study reveals network weaknesses

Noah Kravitz
 from  Oakland, CA
| Published: August 25, 2008

Awhile back I ran a few 3G data speed tests on video, comparing iPhone 3G to a few other high-speed Web capable devices.  My results led me - and some of you - to wonder if I was nuts, had somehow screwed up the testing, or maybe had just received a lemon of an iPhone from Apple and AT&T.  Well, according to a survey just published by Wired, none of those things is true; instead, I merely live in one of the worst areas in the world when it comes to data throughput on Apple's new cell phone:

In some major metropolitan areas that are supposedly 3G-rich, 3G performance can be very slow. For example, zooming in on San Francisco, you'll see that 10 out of 30 participants reported very slow 3G speeds -- barely surpassing EDGE.

  • This
    pattern is linea up with femtocell developer Dave Nowicki's explanation
    that in major metropolitan cities where the most iPhone users reside,
    3G towers are getting overloaded, resulting in slowdowns or delivering
    EDGE-like performance as a result.

See, life isn't all high tech, sunshine and beaches out here in California (especially not in San Francisco, where it's foggy far more than it's sunny much of the time).  We've got too many early adopters and trendsters out here, so not only did we have to bear hours-long lines to get our iPhone 3Gs, but now that we've got 'em we're all hammering the network at the same time.  And, apparently, the network can't keep up.

The study reveals a few other interesting tidbits as well.  For instance, while Australians reported the slowest 3G speeds overall, the U.S. had the highest number of "0" results, likely stemming from dropped connections.  Want to know which countries and carriers reported the fastest connections?  Click on over to Wired's blog for the full results.

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