Wired.com’s iPhone 3G Survey Reveals Network Weaknesses


Wired.com conducted a  survey of iPhone 3G users across the country and the data suggests that the widespread data speed problems have more to do with carriers’ networks than with Apple’s handsets.

Recently Wired.com asked iPhone 3G users all around the world to participate in a study, which involved testing their 3G speeds and entering their data on an interactive map. The purpose? To gain a general idea of how 3G was performing — where it’s best and where it’s worst — in light of widespread complaints about the handset’s network performance. More than 2,600 people participated (wow!) and we’ve diligently cleaned up the data to present it to you here.


Detailed observations from the survey follow.

  • By country:
    • Participants in Australia reported the slowest average 3G download speeds of about 759 Kbps.
    • The most "0" results for 3G download speeds came from U.S. participants — presumably those dropped from the 3G network. In the United States, 63 participants reported "0" Altogether there were 80 "0" figures reported. 
    • Users in Germany and the Netherlands reported the fastest average 3G download speeds — about 2,000 Kbps.
  • In some major metropolitan areas that are supposedly 3G-rich, 3G performance can be very slow. For example, zooming in on San Francisco, you’ll see that 10 out of 30 participants reported very slow 3G speeds — barely surpassing EDGE.
    • This pattern is linear with femtocell developer Dave Nowicki’s explanation that in major metropolitan cities where the most iPhone users reside, 3G towers are getting overloaded, resulting in slowdowns or delivering EDGE-like performance as a result.
  • By carrier:
    • European T-Mobile users reported the fastest 3G Download Speeds: 1,822 Kbps on average.
    • Canadian carriers Rogers and Fido tied for second fastest with an average download speed of about 1,330 Kbps on average.
    • U.S. carrier AT&T tied for third with Telstra, Telia and Softbank, where users reported average download speeds of roughly 990 Kbps.    
    • Australian carriers Optus and Virgin users reported the slowest speeds of about 390 Kbps on average.

Other figures:

  • Overall, 2,636 iPhone 3G owners participated in the study (that doesn’t count more than a thousand entries which were completely blank or so incomplete as to be unusable).
    • 1,638 were in the United States
    • 233 were in Australia
    • 152 were in Canada
    • The majority of the remaining participants reported results from European countries

You can read the entire story at Wired

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