updated 04:10 pm EDT, Tue October 18, 2011
'Small number of reports' of slow 3G, carrier says
The iPhone 4S is not having a serious impact on Sprint's 3G data speeds, the carrier claims. Since Friday's 4S launch some Sprint subscribers have complained of lethargic 3G, potentially as slow as 300 to 500Kbps down. The issue appears to be affecting all phones, not just the 4S, but the popularity of the iPhone combined with a sudden influx of new customers could be sapping Sprint's bandwidth.
"As always, Sprint is carefully monitoring the performance of the 3G network," a response from the carrier reads. "We are looking into a small number of reports of slow data speeds when using the iPhone 4S, however there are also reports showing that Sprint's network is the fastest, such as the Gizmodo report that came out earlier today. Speed tests represent a moment in time and are subject to many variables including weather, time of day, device, and proximity to a tower. Sprint will continue to monitor the feedback we are getting from our customers and will investigate and resolve any issues that may arise."
The Gizmodo test in question, however, shows Sprint's average iPhone speeds to be about half of those available from AT&T or Verizon. The results are also thought to be mixing in Wi-Fi, since some of the quoted performance is faster than the carriers' 3G networks are capable of. PC Mag figures put Sprint at 480Kbps, though, and AT&T and Verizon at 2.4Mbps and 700Kbps respectively.