Analyst debunks claim of Apple throttling iPhone data speeds for Verizon, AT&T, Sprint

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is not throttling the speeds of iPhone users on Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), according to an analysis by technology publication AnandTech. The analysis sharply disputes allegations from iOS developer Joseph Brown, operator of the website iTweakiOS, who claimed that Apple was doing so via code in its iOS operating system.

According to the lengthy and detailed analysis of the issue by AnandTech's Brian Klug, the code Brown referred to in his original post on the topic is benign. Several publications, including FierceWireless and CNET, reported about Brown's findings before the AnandTech report debunking his claims ran.

At issue is IPCC code, or "carrier bundle" code, which Apple inserts into iOS to provision and optimize an iPhone for a carrier. Brown had identified code that said "Service Req Throttle" and "Throttling Parameters." He claimed that this was evidence that Apple was capping the maximum data speeds iOS devices could achieve.

However, according to AnandTech, that is not the case. Klug noted the code actually refers to "a retry interval throttle to prevent the phone from continually trying to reattach to an LTE network in the case of some error." The code essentially prevents devices from wasting battery life by trying to connect to a network if there is a connection issue, or prevents network congestion if too many devices try to connect to a network "pointlessly fast."

Further, AnandTech also pointed out that the code and files Brown was referring to applied only to the iPhone 4S, not the LTE-capable iPhone 5. The iPhone 4S uses a Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) MDM6600 chipset and is only capable of up to Category 10 speeds for HSDPA downlink.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. Verizon, AT&T and Sprint said they do not throttle their iPhones, but they do have in place policies and network management programs to slow users' data speeds if they reach certain data limits or are on congested cell sites.

For more:
- see this AnandTech article
- see this GigaOM article

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