ITHINGS MAKER Apple has suffered yet another embarrassment, as it appears that a software glitch has left Iphone 4 owners suffering terrible data speeds.
The fault lies with AT&T, the US mobile operator Apple jumped into bed with years ago, and telecoms equipment manufacturer Alcatel Lucent. The problem affects Iphone 4 handsets, which support the 3G high-speed uplink packet access (HSUPA) protocol. It makes accessing websites, emails and other Internet content arduous affairs.
AT&T was quick to calm fanbois fears that they would find it harder than usual to post spurious comments on articles critical of Apple by saying that only those who connect to AT&T's network and are routed through Alcatel Lucent equipment are affected. Apparently that is around two percent of its subscribers, but that includes all Iphone 4 users in the US.
A spokesman for AT&T told Reuters that bandwidth is "cut to a maximum of 384 kilobits per second from a potential maximum of 5.67 gigabits per second." That's a pretty impressive cut, especially given that the HSUPA standard has a theoretical maximum of 5.67 megabits - not gigabits - per second.
While the Iphone 4 is one of only a few devices that support HSUPA, a protocol invented by Nokia, it is yet another problem for fanbois who have spent a great deal to get an Iphone 4 that now cannot receive voice or data all that well.
As is standard practice for all Iphone 4 related faults, AT&T is saying that the problem can be solved through applying a software update, without any need for serious network changes. Apparently AT&T is the only operator to be affected by the dodgy software in Alcatel Lucent's 3G cellular wireless telecoms gear.
AT&T has not provided a date when it will patch its equipment, so Iphone 4 users will simply have to chalk up another hit from Jobs' Mob. µ
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