[Update: Debunked] T-Mobile Gives Users Full Use of Network As Competitors Throttle iOS Users

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Update: Turns out these allegations have been debunked, folks. The guys over at AnandTech have dug deeper into the source code in question and have disproven the claims that Apple throttles data throughput on iOS devices. Check out their in-depth analysis of the claims here. Just goes to show that you can’t trust everything you read, even if it comes from those nice fellas over at TmoNews.

A new report by Joseph Brown over at iTweakiOS, the same fellow that brought us the hacked T-Mobile iPhone carrier update, hit the wire today, bringing to light some rather interesting snippets of code within Apple’s iOS. Now, I’m no coding expert, but it seems pretty plain that these suspicious lines of code actually intentionally throttle the data speeds of iOS devices connected to Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T’s networks, even at off-peak times. T-Mobile is thankfully missing from the lineup of offending carriers.

What this means is that every cellular-enabled Apple product on Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint suffers from artificially limited data throughput. No official statement has been issued by either Apple or the offending carriers at this point in time, but it can be inferred that this code is present within iOS per request of the carriers, since it is conspicuously MIA in T-Mobile’s carrier bundle.

This just seems strange to me. While I understand protecting the quality of service of ‘the 99%,’ carriers like Verizon and AT&T charge a massive $15 for every gigabyte of data over a customer’s allotment and thus stand to gain on overage fees. More throughput makes it easier to guzzle data, which makes it easier to go over your allotment. Mo’ money.

Curiously, good guy Magenta doesn’t seem to be throttling data speeds for its iPhone users. We may get stuck on 2G quite a bit, but at least when we have 3G/4G we get full use of what the network can give us.

  • dkbnyc

    Just another reason to love Big Pinky!

    • xmiro

      Big Magenta :)

  • xmiro

    Doesn’t T-Mobile throttle the $20 unlimited 4G past a certain point also? I seem to remember reading about the throttle kicking in after 10-15GB mentioned somewhere

    • Chris Allen

      Not anymore unless you are on the prepaid month to month which I have no idea why people still are using that. When I look at my limit online it says over 9000GB limit. Lol

    • sushimane

      i had the same question but i got answered by the comsumer rep and users its really unlimited i got 3 people that used almost 60gb which is crazy. i barely break 2 but i have unlimited just incase

      • Mo

        I have used about 100 gig on 2 months with T-Mobile and no throttling and I’m running about 15 gig n nj

        • sushimane

          for me that’s crazy. but maybe because im always around wifi that’s why i barely break 2

        • kawkaw

          what the hell are you using your phone for? Are you uploading HD movies to ftp sites or something?

          I barely use 2gbs a month and i always use my internet on my phone.

        • ANTHONY

          damn I wish i had enough stuff to download or upload..now that is awesome…LOLOL….

    • RobotChupacabra

      That 10 GB thing for unlimited data is there just to encourage people to not abuse the network. In reality they won’t throttle you.

      • Jose Hernandez

        Agreed. I have gone over 12gb twice without loosing speed

    • Jason Crumbley

      They have plans that are unlimited data, but limited 4G, but they also have a true unlimited 4G.

      What this article is saying is that it’s the phone OS that is limiting the data speeds due to certain lines of code in it, if I understand correctly. And that is pretty damn shady.

    • kev2684

      it’s 9.5TB. Tera not Giga.

    • Mo

      It’s tera not giga big difference.Lmfao… that’s why I switched too T-Mobile as well good job. I miss AT&T but..I’m happier with T-Mobile and there unlim and Verizon is just out of the question

      • WW

        Someone making corrections shouldn’t misuse both “too” and “there” in the same paragraph.

    • jelliottz

      I’m at 24gb with 5 days to go in my cycle. Haven’t been throttled… Knock on wood.

      • $20426701

        1 month I went over 31 when I’m on vacation and wasn’t close to an internet connection,I never got throttled.

    • Alex Zapata

      They will throttle it at around 9.5TB, but I’ve gone over 100GB without any throttling.

    • Quan Bui

      man… 9.5 TB is sooooo much data lol. If you use that much data per month, you DESERVE to be throttled.

  • VapidRapidRabbit

    Good on T-Mobile! It’s why I stick with them. I hate the duopoly Verizon and AT&T have become.

  • stewart

    in layman’s term? -______-

    • loopyduck

      In layman’s terms, Apple has been colluding with AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint to cripple their customers’ iPhones. T-Mobile didn’t go along with the scheme.

      • jarrod

        ATT Verizon and Sprint crippled their networks the software Apple released doesn’t have anything todo with them not caring about capacity.

        • loopyduck

          Read the source post.

        • jarrod

          The point I’m making is that I know for sure the reason people are having issues on Verizon and sprint are due to the fact they have sh!t backhaul and they refuse to maintain their network. My dad was roaming with his Verizon iPhone 4 on Bluegrass in Ky and was getting a little over 2mbps down on 3G, that is impossible to get in my part of Houston. The fastest they are on 3G in my area is maybe 500kbps.

        • loopyduck

          And the point I’M making is that if you read the post you’d understand one of the reasons why the fastest in your area is 500 kbps.

        • Jarrod

          Even when my brother had a droid bionic?????? He went from 40mbps to peaking at 10mbps and only getting 1mbps in some cases? I didn’t know the communist Apple could control Motorola phones also………

        • loopyduck

          You seem to be having a little trouble with both reading comprehension and arithmetic: “ONE of the reasons”, and 1 Mbps is still considerably (relatively speaking) faster than 500 kbps.

        • jarrod

          I was referring to LTE which the Bionic is, there LTE has taken a nose dive since launch even though they haven’t had the iPhone for even a year.

        • jarrod

          Their*

        • loopyduck

          And if you read the post, the throttling code includes a provision for Verizon LTE on the iPhone 5; do you really think Verizon wouldn’t tell Motorola–which isn’t exactly in a position to say no–to have something similar in place? The source post is only about Apple because the dude fiddles with iOS stuff, not Android and not Motorola.

        • jarrod

          I understand that this person modifies settings in the iPhone carrier file, What I’m saying though is that he is a complete jack@ss in his conclusion. Apple is throttling the phone on Verizons or Sprints network, they are to congested in return making it universally slow for every handset. My brothers old phone would get ~500kbps on 3G like my dads phone and would sometimes get ~1mbps on LTE in some areas averaging ~5mbps in others or when not as high usage. So for that guy to make it out as the “zionist” apples fault is completely and utterly ridiculous when it is the carriers fault for not providing a seamless high speed wireless backbone to the internet like their subscribers pay them to.

        • jarrod

          isn’t*

        • WW

          There’s an “and” in there…Both the carrier AND Apple can control the phone’s data rate.

  • Graham Blackadder

    Thieves, crooks, liars, frauds, false advertising to name a few.

  • hurrpancakes

    Speaking of iPhones, my sisters iPhone just got stolen today. Which really sucks because (1) she had a $600 phone stolen, and (2) they just turned LTE on in our area yesterday

    • Ben

      If she had the T-Mobile version of iPhone 5, I say call customer service and have them block the IMEI and Black List it. That way the thief won’t be able to activate it on another T-Mobile account or even AT&T, since they all share that information now. I wish her the best of luck.

    • Papa Midnight

      Have her do the following:

      1) File a police report. The prevalence of phone theft, especially iPhone theft (colloquially termed “Apple picking” – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/apple-picking-stolen-iphones_n_2818488.html), is increasing in many major metropolitan areas. Getting a police report on file will help with an insurance claim and the next step…

      2) Check the local GameStop stores. I wish this was a joke, but GameStop has quite literally become a one-stop, no-strings-attached, cash-in-hand, no-questions-asked, pawn shop for smartphone thieves. Having a police report and will go a long way towards their not wanting to be in possession of stolen property. I recall an incident where a guy lost his iPhone in a mall; when he went to security, their response: check GameStop (of which there are two in the mall – one being a former EB Games).

      • Michael Johnson

        Wow this is sad…

  • Gul Lible

    I heard an IT manager saying that he didn’t give the users all the RAM he had right away so that they would be satisfied longer as he kept improving their stations, because he knew that people were going to bitch after a while no matter how much he gave them.

    So, I wouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t one of those things, where Apple give you less at first in purpose and then increase it slowly to give you a feel of constant improvement. I think MS did the same in 90′s regarding their profits. Not declaring them all at once to have year after year of good returns.

    They all suck!

  • Jay J. Blanco

    Wow! can you say marketing campaign for T-Mobile. This could bring more iphone sales for T-Mobile if they can get this information unto the air waves.

  • Jose Hernandez

    Hey Brad,
    All I can say is, I’m not surprised at all by this.

  • bigleman

    I tried this “hack” and it FAILED. Now I am stuck trying to find the true “factory” file (the one in the how-to doesn’t work either) or losing my jailbreak by updating to 6.1.4
    Thanks…

    • WW

      Aren’t you satisfied with the phone experience the way Apple intended it?

    • Michael Johnson

      What failed about it? My iPhone speeds increased. I only saw a difference on the 1900mhz band, not the 1700mhz band.

  • Steven

    Maybe because tmobile just gettng the phone is why they haven’t throttled it

  • Zeitori Brandon Huiett

    Honestly this is a smart idea on the apple and the providers part. Now before everyone jumps on me hear me out. I would assume from apples prospective this will give the mass majority of users a very similar experience on most carriers. From the carriers perspective they would like all of the devices on the network to have similar speeds and limiting it will avoid people from running through there data faster and bogging down the network. The other advantage to the carrier is over all more customers that are happy cause most won’t do research to even know this is happening. This will help them with avoiding issuing more credits for data overage and assist the with the Jd powers yearly review. Tmobile at this point doesn’t really care because they are sti building there network and in a lot of cases there current 4g network will give users LTE like speeds with a smaller initial investment. This will help the really techie folks to give better reviews and patience while they build there network. At the end of the day I really think back ground data should be throttled because how often would it even matter. Also given tmobile current limited spectrum it would be smarter to have the device get the data faster and jump of the network quickly to help with back log. This is just my thoughts on the matter.

    • Quan Bui

      I sort of understand what you’re saying, but from a customer’s perspective, throttling data speed is NEVER good for us. If it benefits only the corporations and NOT the customer, then there is something very wrong. Throttling data speeds just so customers get the same experience across all carriers? That’s just silly…

  • kolijboy234

    There’s a whole world in that last sentence. Wouldn’t you say that moderately throttled but widedpread 4G/LTE coverage is better than 2G/G/no coverage at all?

    • Jose Hernandez

      Well, that’s not what he said on that last sentence. So probably not. The whole point of the article is to state how you can make use of all the data you want when you are able to use it on the 4G network without being throttled down.

      This article is not intended to discuss coverage/2G issues.

      • TechHog

        Every single article becomes about that, and it’ll stay that way until T-Mobile magically blankets every inch of the country in LTE.

        • Jose Hernandez

          I know. I understand the frustration, God knows I do. But it’s a never ending issue. Every single article.

      • kolijboy234

        I didn’t raise the issue, the author did. Thus, it is fair game. Just trying to keep it real…

  • http://www.youtube.com/#/mrjlwilliams J. Williams

    I wonder how much data this person used. I use more than 20gb a month and have never got any warnings, glad I’ve got T-Mobile. This is where they shine, truly unlimited data.

  • ceegii63

    that cowboy commercial way back months ago just got real hehehe

  • WW

    I thought Sprint had “truly unlimited” too…there goes the single point of parity Sprint had with T-Mobile.

    Seems to me that since it’s built into the code of iOS, that’d make it part of the iOS software license. Does that mean, for non-T-Mobile iPhone users, that not only can the carrier throttle you but so can Apple?

    • Jose Hernandez

      The issue with Sprint is that there network is so darn slow. It makes no sense to try and use unlimited data when you can barely use it.

    • Quan Bui

      I don’t know how it is in other areas of the United States, but in Pennsylvania, Sprint has possibly the WORST service I’ve ever used. The fastest I’ve seen data on Sprint was <2MBPS down… how in the world is this considered 4G?!? Not only that, but the call quality of Sprint is terrible… it feels like it'll disconnect you at any moment.

  • WW

    That screenshot makes me smile: “As a reward for being in the top 5%…”

  • RJKMadison

    Looks like the source page was taken down, probably not voluntarily.

  • cvgordo

    so does tmobile throttle or not? i thought they don’t and that was their big deal but on my bill it says something about throttling at 9.6gb of data or something like that. also i get messages saying i’m approaching my cap limit. if they do throttle it will be very disappointing as i signed up with the belief that they didn’t.

    • thepanttherlady

      It is 9,765.6GB, not 9.6. You can also turn off that notification in your phone.

      • cvgordo

        i see. that’s pretty disappointing. didn’t the ceo of tmobile tell data users something to the effect of “bring it on. we can handle it.” or something like that? to say something like that and then have throttling is very disingenuous.

        • thepanttherlady

          They may throttle you at 9,765.7GB but I challenge you to reach over 9 THOUSAND GB of data in a month to even have to worry about that.

        • cvgordo

          oh snap. i just thought of it as 9.7gb or 9700kb..if it’s 9700gb then that changes everything. thanks for the clarification :)

        • thepanttherlady

          LOL I thought that was the case but didn’t want to assume. Don’t feel bad, a lot of people see that number and think the same thing. When T-Mobile first came out with the unlimited data and I saw the number, I did too. :)

        • Quan Bui

          holy crap, I didn’t notice that either until I read your comment hahaha. Thanks for the clarification… I mean, I barely use 2GB of data a month, but man 9 THOUSAND GBs is freakin crazy!

        • thepanttherlady

          When they say unlimited data with no throttling, they mean business!

        • Roger Sales

          They don’t throttle at that number, when you have truly unlimited you can go past it. I think the number is a default figure/placeholder since a number is supposed to be there in data plans of old.

      • rene

        i agree with you, you guys need to read the fine print, or call customer services

    • Sean

      What plan are you on? Are you on the new Simple Choice Unlimited High Speed Data?

    • romeo_288

      i think so….i got a message that says they will throttle me down after i use my 2gbs of highspeed down to edge

      • thepanttherlady

        Not on unlimited.

  • $20426701

    why does every article on this website have to become about the network quality in some areas being edge (2g )in the comment section?

    is the network is bad in your area go to this website to improve coverage.http://www.t-mobile-takeaction.com/

  • kpb321
  • romeo_288

    i have the 2gb highspeed plan….but after you use that 2gbs they throttle you down to 2G aka EDGE…speeds. so it is unlimited but once u pass you plans speed 2gb, 5gb, or 10gb…they throttle you down to the unlimited 2G edge speed -___-

  • Aurizen

    So that hack that came out to speed up…. doesn’t work? I’m a bit lost.