With the new murky ITU definition of 4G including pretty much anything
, AT&T has taken to calling their wireless network "4G" like everybody else. Except as we noted briefly
, several of the company's more recent smartphone releases, including the Motorola ATRIX "4G" and the HTC’s Inspire "4G" -- don't really fully support AT&T's idea of 4G. In fact, they don't yet even support the HSUPA upstream upgrades we noted AT&T completed nearly three years ago
. That has resulted in several Atrix and Inspire customers filing complaints with the BBB claiming AT&T was "capping" upstream speeds, and offering hardware that didn't match the "4G" advertising blitzkrieg AT&T has been engaged in.
AT&T PR has been a little murky about what was happening, initially suggesting the Inspire simply didn't support HSUPA, when in fact it technically does
. AT&T's response to the Better Business Bureau complaints holds more detail. A user posting to the XDA Developers forum
has posted AT&T's response to his complaint, which confirms the phones support the HSUPA standard, AT&T just hasn't turned the functionality on yet:
(user) complains that the recently released Motorola Atrix does not offer speeds anywhere near what advertised speeds claim. He is requesting activation of 4G services and removal of the cap on the Motorola Atrix services. Account research regarding this complaint shows that AT&T is focused on delivering a wide choice of solutions and the best possible Smartphone experience to our customers. Be assured that AT&T has not "capped" the upload speeds on the ATRIX. The ATRIX is a HSUPA-capable device, and we currently are performing the testing and preparations necessary to ensure that, when we turn this feature on, you will continue to have a world class experience.
In other words, the phones AT&T are advertising as offering a "4G" experience are actually being crippled so they max out at about 300 kbps upstream, in sharp contrast to AT&T hype surrounding their "4G" network and the revolutionary promises surrounding the Atrix, the launch of which was already soured by AT&T's dubious pricing
. Keeping these devices penned in on the upstream suggests AT&T's privately still not quite fully comfortable with their network's performance in the age of smartphones, despite all of the "4G" rhetoric. We're going to note here that like most carrier-imposed restrictions, this can all be avoided (on both Inspire and Atrix) by rooting your phone.