Is AT&T Misleading iPhone 4S Users About 4G Access?

Yesterday, the same day that Apple announced its new iPad would be able to access AT&T and Verizon’s 4G LTE networks, AT&T iPhone 4S owners received an update to their devices — and suddenly millions of people who had been told their phone didn’t work on 4G networks now had a little icon that reads “4G.” But it’s really just the same speed they had the day before.

No, iPhone 4S users do not have access to 4G LTE networks. Instead, it’s the same HPSA+ network that they’ve been using for quite some time.

Writes Buzzfeed’s Matt Buchanan:

It’s slightly faster than AT&T’s older 3G network–theoretically, you can reach speeds of 14.4 megabits per second on an iPhone 4S. So it’s faster than what’s possible on an iPhone 4 or 3G, yes. But not much faster, in practice. It’s not a generation ahead. It’s certainly not on the same level as the iPad. It’s not 4G. But AT&T is calling it that.

Meanwhile, the techie folks at The Verge, which calls AT&T’s move a “deeply misleading labeling change,” tested their network speed and, in spite of the 4G icon, the speed remains unchanged.

Hey, AT&T Users: Your iPhone Still Doesn’t Have 4G [Buzzfeed]

iOS 5.1 shows ’4G’ indicator in iPhone 4S status bar for AT&T [TheVerge.com]