updated 08:00 pm EDT, Thu June 6, 2013
IPCC bundles dissected, no evidence of manufacturer connection hobbling
Refuting a previous report, Anandtech has published in great detail why it believes that Apple is not using network provisioning to intentionally hobble the internet connection on iPhones and iPads. The debunk called the notion that Apple would do such a thing blatantly wrong, and notes that "there's both no incentive for them to do so, and any traffic management is better off done in the packet core of the respective network operator rather than on devices."
The new analysis does claim that handset makers have in the past throttled devices at the request of a carrier, specifying the HTC Inspire 4G, HTC Atrix 4G, and AT&T Nexus S -- all Android models -- having HSUPA disabled as shipped, and re-enabled by an update.
The report delves in-depth into IPCC carrier bundles, including some breakdowns of documented fields and what they do. From the report, "Apple builds these bundles which contain settings used to provision and optimize the device for a particular network in collaboration with the respective network operator. These then get distributed inside a particular iOS release, or asynchronously via iTunes or over the air if they need to make updates as necessary."
In short, the allegations that the iPhone 5 limits speed are false -- and Anandtech notes that the original source of the charge has removed his claims. While the carrier file does limit devices with the Qualcomm MDM6600 to HSDPA Category 10, the iPhone 4S has this chipset, not the iPhone 5, and the chipset is only capable of Category 10 speeds in the first place. The iPhone 5 settings are proper for the handset, allowing the device to reach full Category 24 (64QAM dual carrier - 42 mbps) speed.
Anandtech notes that traffic management happens all the time by the carrier, at the packet core level, and not by settings on iOS devices. The management "varies more often than not by market region and time of day like you'd expect, as network conditions change. That's the reality of things, but in almost all cases the operators want their networks to go fast and for their users to see the best speeds."