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Users Say Sprint Epic4G 3G Upload Speeds Limited To 150kbps

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the some-limitations-may-apply dept.

Wireless Networking 138

Miamicanes writes "Nearly everyone who owns a Sprint Samsung Epic 4G and has benchmarked its 3G performance has discovered that its 3G upload speeds are apparently limited to 150kbps. So far, Sprint has not officially acknowledged it as a problem, nor has it indicated whether this might be a firmware bug, a PRL issue, tower-related, or the result of a deliberate policy to cap 3G upload speeds. Regardless, the problem is causing widespread anger among Epic4G owners, many of whom have bitterly noted the irony of being charged a $10 surcharge so they can endure data transfers that are slower than they had 4 years ago (and a quarter of the speeds enjoyed by Evo owners on the same 3G network)." Cellphone networks are fickle beasts; can anyone out there with an Epic provide a counterexample?

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138 comments

What would you upload from a cell phone? (0)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627080)

What would you upload from a cell phone?

Maybe if you had like an N900 where you have a full Linux install and you can make quick edits, maybe. MAYBE. Even with my Pandora and my Gentoo boot of it doing anything on a tiny screen is a total pain.

I'm not justifying their actions, I just want to know.

Re:What would you upload from a cell phone? (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627114)

VOIP, Video Chat are good examples. There's more to the internet than files.

Re:What would you upload from a cell phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33627116)

Tethering?

Re:What would you upload from a cell phone? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33627122)

Movies and pictures shot with your phone. Runs into the 100 megabytes for a couple of small movies.

Re:What would you upload from a cell phone? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33627134)

Video. Most phones have cameras. You could upload directly to YouTube.

Re:What would you upload from a cell phone? (2, Informative)

puto (533470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627490)

I use a Nokia E63 and I use VOIP on an almost daily basis. I keep an 8 gig memory card in it and on the odd occasion when I am leaving the office and not dragging around a laptop, I will tend to put creatives from current campaigns on the phone just in case one of the traffickers "misplaced" their copies. I can upload them from my phone.

Re:What would you upload from a cell phone? (2, Informative)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627706)

I happen to have N900 myself and given the powerful stuff this phone enables me to do having good upload bandwidth is really damn useful. But, I can imagine several use-cases for non-N900 users too: video chat applications, uploading pictures and recorded video to whatever service your phone supports, some mobile MMO-like games,etc. Especially uploading video tends to take a damn long time if your upload limit is set to very low, and any kind of multiplayer games usually benefit from the lower latency.

My guess to them limiting the upload bandwidth so low is the fear of people using mobile networks for P2P. It is a reasonable fear and it most likely does happen, but is their network really of so poor quality that it can't handle such loads or is it just a just-in-case? That's the question. Compared to my provider here in Finland I have about 700kbit/s upload bandwidth, atleast when I tested it on my N900 and no limits to the amount of data to be transferred.

Re:What would you upload from a cell phone? (2, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627728)

People might send attachments via email, might upload videos to youtube, might tether, voip, video chat, maybe they're streaming audio for a few people, this is a few obvious things.

Re:What would you upload from a cell phone? (2, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628814)

Video. I was at the Metro (concert venue in Chicago) last night, and took some pretty awesome video from the side of the stage while the band was playing, and uploaded it from my Nexus One. Trivial? Perhaps. But that's what I'm paying T-Mobile for unlimited data for (+1 for 3G in Chicago; had 2.5Mb/s up).

Opps (5, Funny)

QA (146189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627086)

Epic fail

Re:Opps (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33627470)

That's not this device's only Epic fail:

  1. The GPS is useless (fails to find location side by side with perfectly working Droid, iPhone, and Palm). Even with wifi on.
  2. It powers off randomly.
  3. Application icons start opening the wrong app (necessitating a restart).
  4. Turning on Navigation sets the system volume to max.
  5. The battery lasts less than 10 hours if you use it at all.
  6. The minimum screen brightness is uncomfortably bright in a dark room.
  7. The minimum volume hurts your ears though the supplied headphones
  8. Connecting to 4G causes all network use to fail

The upside? The keyboard is pretty great. The screen looks great. The camera is great. It is an Android phone. That's it.

Re:Opps (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628140)

I'll take two ... does it come with a longterm contract and an extended warranty??

Re:Opps (1)

stox (131684) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628554)

Many issues have been fixed in the D107 update that was just released on Friday. We're all anxiously awaiting Android 2.2 which is rumored to be out at the end of the month.

Re:Opps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33628586)

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_L8MD2hKD6lo/TJOQ2JoGihI/AAAAAAAAASg/FGf5bnpKTWw/s640/snap20100917_120108.png

10 hours huh? i consider your point moot

never had mine power off randomly unless you count when i press the power button...

Re:Opps (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33629238)

That's not this device's only Epic fail:

  1. The GPS is useless (fails to find location side by side with perfectly working Droid, iPhone, and Palm). Even with wifi on.
  2. It powers off randomly.
  3. Application icons start opening the wrong app (necessitating a restart).
  4. Turning on Navigation sets the system volume to max.
  5. The battery lasts less than 10 hours if you use it at all.
  6. The minimum screen brightness is uncomfortably bright in a dark room.
  7. The minimum volume hurts your ears though the supplied headphones
  8. Connecting to 4G causes all network use to fail

The upside? The keyboard is pretty great. The screen looks great. The camera is great. It is an Android phone. That's it.

As an Epic owner, I can only say that your entire post is a fail. I won't argue that your phone might have issues, but that doesn't mean the Epic line has those issues. I haven't had a problem with any of those supposed issues. The closest is the GPS. It took a few moments to get a lock on me while I was indoors. After a few moments, it put me on the other side of the wall I was sitting next to. I think thats well within a respectable margin of error.

Re:Opps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33629940)

Most of these things have never happened wirh my Epic.

Re:Opps (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627552)

Epic fail #2:

You are paying ~$50/month for this service. My DSL gives me the same speed for only $15. Even satellite is cheaper. (cue Nelson) Ha! Ha!

from Sprint... (4, Funny)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627112)

"Don't worry. We are slowing down the Evo speeds too and we will be charging them $29.99/month for wifi hotspot."

Re:from Sprint... (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627432)

I wonder if this is the same issue that AT&T experienced when the new iPhone 4 came out and there was some issue on AT&T's side, when users were routed through Alcatel Lucent equipment that caused a hit to transfer speeds.

Could this be something similar in nature?

Re:from Sprint... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33627508)

--- We need more Ron Paul!

Ron Paul is a politician.
Politicians run government.
Government is evil.
To get less evil, we need less government.
To get less government, we need less politicians.
Therefore we need less Ron Paul, not more.

Re:from Sprint... (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627660)

"Don't worry. We are slowing down the Evo speeds too and we will be charging them $29.99/month for wifi hotspot."
--
--- We need more Ron Paul!

Wouldn't more Ron Paul mean that the oligopolies are free to do just that, even when the user has nowhere else to go?

Freedom should be for individuals, not corporations.

Re:from Sprint... (1)

Stray7Xi (698337) | more than 3 years ago | (#33629456)

Wouldn't more Ron Paul mean that the oligopolies are free to do just that, even when the user has nowhere else to go?

Freedom should be for individuals, not corporations.

I don't know Ron Paul's view but the libertarian idea is that oligopolies exist because of government regulation. If you reduce the right regulations you can encourage competition. Now the problem is any legislation to reduce regulation brings out the corporate lobbyists and the regulations become targeted even more to strengthen oligopolies. Some libertarians are very concerned with the power of corporations, because that power is often obtained through Government entitlements, which Libertarians label as theft from the people. Of course other libertarians want to auction off our national parks to the highest bidder.

A classic example of "what the market will bear." (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627152)

So long as people keep paying their bills, the market is bearing this imposition. I am all but certain that this is another example of telcoms limiting and crippling their services rather than improving their infrastructure. AT&T taught the industry a hard lesson with their iPhone exclusivity deal. They burdened their entire infrastructure which was unprepared for the load. I am of the opinion that Sprint seeks to avoid the same. Additionally, as these handheld computers are getting phone network enabled, I suspect VOIP and other forms of internet communications will become more frequently used. So they will sell you a "phone" and you will in turn use it to bypass their business model? Not if they can help it.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (3, Interesting)

PJ6 (1151747) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627252)

It more than just what the market allows; compare what we have in the US to say, Europe, and you will come to the conclusion that we're simply seeing the effects of regulatory capture.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627676)

>>>seeing the effects of regulatory capture.

What's that?

Also why does everyone think Europe is so much better? According to speedtest.net the EU's average wired internet speed is 1 Mbit/s slower than the US average. Is their cell service any better, or if this just a case of "the grass looks greener on the other side" until you get there and discover it's actually no different.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627288)

I have to agree - don't "be angry" as a customer, phone them up and complain. If they won't do anything for you, cut the service there and then and tell them why. If they bother to argue about things, dig out your contracts, file official complaints, etc. But, ffs, don't just "get angry" on a forum they probably never read and don't care about while you're still paying your monthly fee. Damn well complain, move companies, terminate contracts, etc.

This is the sort of thing you should realise while the contract is still fresh if it's important to you, so use the early get-out clause and introductory periods and get the hell off it. If you keep paying, it's really NOT that important to you. And if you entered into a cast-iron contract that you can't get out of (HIGHLY unlikely) for a service that you didn't bother to read up on, check terms, insist on minimum speeds, etc. then that's your own tough luck.

I still can't figure out why people pay for shit that they don't want, and then complain about it.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (2, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627456)

Exactly. Most contracts will include a dispute process of some sort or another. For business contracts, once the dispute is filed, you stop paying and they can't disconnect you for not paying. For individual contracts, I can't speak to it, but I suspect that the local and state laws may have something to add to that where consumer protection is concerned.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (2, Informative)

fortfive (1582005) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628230)

Unfortunately, most contracts require dispute resolution through a mediator of the service provider's choice, who almost always side with the service provider. And, thanks to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, it is up to the mediator to decide whether the mediation clause is fair.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628090)

But, ffs, don't just "get angry" on a forum they probably never read and don't care about while you're still paying your monthly fee. Damn well complain, move companies, terminate contracts, etc.

Actually, complaining on public forums does get attention.

At one of my old jobs, I did application support for a guy who worked at Comcast a few years back setting up RSS google feeds so they can scour forums, twitter accounts, and FB updates for people complaining about Comcast and respond to them in a positive manner. From my understanding, I think they have a whole team handling it now.

Apparently the big wigs at Comcast felt that there is a need to do something about all the complaints after Comcastmustdie.com was put up so they had people actually go around trying to do something about.

Though... I don't know if Sprint really cares that much.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628556)

I still can't figure out why people pay for shit that they don't want, and then complain about it.

Because it's easier to speak than to act.

What makes me grin is that some people never stop complaining about their problems, but keep being victims.
Stockholm Syndrome ?

Hopefully, there will be a class action, and everything will be solved at this moment (in a few years).

Insightful... (3, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627314)

The difficulty is that the banks won't lend to improve infrastructure, as nobody is sure where the demand will go. In fact, I have some sympathy for the carrier. When O2, which is in my view a pretty [comment redacted owing to libel laws in UK] telecoms supplier, introduced the iPhone, our company was using O2. I noticed that every time a visitor with an iPhone entered our offices, calls started to drop out. I guessed that there wasn't enough bandwidth to the cell tower, and the iPhone was getting prioritised. I couldn't prove what was going on but I was suspicious. I jumped up and down and we switched to Vodafone; problem disappeared. I guess a supplier introducing a new, potentially high bandwidth device, would be careful so that, in the language of sales consultancy, they don't turn POCs into PPOCs (pissed off customers into permanently pissed off customers.)

Re:Insightful... (1)

I_Human (781026) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627404)

Problem here in the states is that the tax payers already paid for better infrastructure but we've yet to see the results, and now they're asking for more money!

Re:Insightful... (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627596)

Problem here in the states is that the tax payers already paid for better infrastructure but we've yet to see the results, and now they're asking for more money!

Which taxpayer funded infrastructure are you referring to?

I am not aware of any funding for the specific goal of providing bandwidth to cellular base stations.

Re:Insightful... (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628836)

Cheap or free right-of-ways. Not everyone backhauls with microwave unless you're in the boondocks.

Re:Insightful... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627708)

Since the 1996 Telecommunications Act, my speed has jumped from 14k to 750k, with the the option of 50,000k if I want. How is that "not seeing results"?

Also I'll have a data-capable cellphone. That didn't even exist in 96.

Re:Insightful... (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627478)

The difficulty is that the banks won't lend to improve infrastructure, as nobody is sure where the demand will go.

My experience in the USA is that carriers do continuously improve infrastructure, but not fast enough to keep a lot of customers satisfied.

I guessed that there wasn't enough bandwidth to the cell tower, and the iPhone was getting prioritised.

This seems unlikely to me. I would only expect negative impact on network performance if the network was already close to capacity (with active voice/data communication). If that was the case, you would definitely notice failures more often than just whenever an iPhone user visited. And (at least on 3G) I'd expect data rates to be reduced before voice calls were dropped. The iPhone explanation makes a cute anecdote, but it doesn't really seem likely.

Re:Insightful... (4, Interesting)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627574)

Except that it's correct. When the iPhone was first released, the baseband code was misconfigured and it caused all iPhones to "scream" at the cell towers and the cell towers to "scream" back. This caused all other phones that weren't configured as such to start dropping calls. It was pretty well documented and there was quite a few stories on slashdot about it.

You learn something (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627696)

I didn't know that. Thanks for the information. At the time, I was just very annoyed indeed and wanted a fix.

Re:Insightful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33627682)

a pretty shit-eating thundercunt of a telecoms supplier

[comment reinstated by a citizen of a country that doesn't have ridiculous libel laws - America FUCK YEAH!]

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (0, Troll)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627330)

Since when is the market bearing a cost a justification for over pricing? No business has a right to massive profits, especially when it's the result of maintaining a oligopoly over the particular market.

Now, if it were a competitive market, you'd probably have a point, but this isn't a competitive market and you don't have a point. In order for a market to bear a price, there needs to be real and substantial competition.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627504)

A limited and controlled market can bear a lot more than a free and competitive market. We all know this. You're right in all the things you are saying. You just have to continue voting with your dollars and, if you can get the ear of a politician, complain. At the moment, no government body recognizes mobile phone service as critical in the sense that it would fall under the utilities regulatory commissions, but that is the first thing I would push to change. Putting POTS under regulatory scrutiny really made them behave properly. Before such things, you were not allowed to own your own phone -- you could only lease a phone from the phone company and could most certainly not use a 3rd party phone on your line. Premium services such a "touch tone service" was (and still is I believe) an "option" that must be paid for.

"What the market will bear" is just a nice way of saying "doing whatever they can get away with."

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (2, Interesting)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627720)

> Premium services such a "touch tone service" was (and still is I believe) an "option" that must be paid for.

Ironically,"touch tone" service is really only premium service in the eyes of the sales department. From an engineering POV it's actually cheaper way of signalling than make/break pulses.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628878)

Ironically,"touch tone" service is really only premium service in the eyes of the sales department. From an engineering POV it's actually cheaper way of signalling than make/break pulses.

Really? My dad couldn't use touch tone phones in his house until they came and 'upgraded' the line. I never really did understand that.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628992)

Really old, really crappy lines might have had a problem with DTMF signalling, but then those lines would be sub-par for any other application, too. Including clear voice calls.

It's much more likely that the line at the CO end had to be moved from a 50-year-old piece of junk to much better gear in another cabinet.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33629102)

Really old, really crappy lines might have had a problem with DTMF signalling, but then those lines would be sub-par for any other application, too. Including clear voice calls.

Voice was just fine. I think we even had a 2400 baud modem working on it too. My dad couldn't see the point in paying the upgrade fee just to get touch tone.

It's much more likely that the line at the CO end had to be moved from a 50-year-old piece of junk to much better gear in another cabinet.

That wouldn't surprise me. I think it was a money grab.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33629156)

I've actually made a visit to one of those switching houses where all the phone lines are being relayed from here to there. This was quite some time ago in Paris Texas. There was actually one segment where there existed a huge active board of relays clicking away! Talk about bizarre!

Yeah, the switching networks should all be digital by now, but at the time, those old stations were still running old style. I was quite surprised and amused. It seemed they were still transitioning over as they still had sophisticated uplink gear that translated the last miles from the local copper network to the rest of the nation. I suspect in those areas, at that time, touch tone was not quite an option of the day either... that must have been over 25... almost 30 years ago. I was somewhere between 12 and 15 doing HVAC work at the time (with my father).

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627758)

>>>Putting POTS under regulatory scrutiny really made them behave properly

Not really. POTS fell under regulatory control in the 20s, and then we had to deal with a stagnation of technology due to the government-created ATT monopoly for another 60 years. (Example: Modem technology stagnated at 1200 bits/second from the 1950s to the 80s.) Basically the same thing that happened in East Germany with their piece-of-junk Tribant car - technology froze in a WW2 state.

It was only when the government finally deregulated and allowed competition (i.e. put power in the hands of the consumer to choose their long-distance provider, and modem/phone) that things improved for the average person. Competition breeds innovation.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628656)

Do you have any idea how much regulation and enforcement action was required to allow the consumer to choose their LD carrier? The Bells didn't just wake up one day and decide you could hook a non-bell phone to their network, they were ordered to allow it. They don't interface with VoIP providers because they like them.

They will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into a competitive marketplace. At a minimum it will be necessary to insist that all phones be unlocked and capable of operation on any cell network in the U.S. and that purchase of the phone be unbundled from the service. Next up will be ending the sneak attacks by huge bills.

After all, this is an industry that has pulled every dirty trick in the book including designing phones so that the user can accidentally do things that result in significant charges.

As a side note, the technology did NOT freeze. In that time they went from a system where a human being physically connected pairs of wires carrying analog signals together to complete a call to a fully automated digital network. The services offered to the CUSTOMER stagnated.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628972)

All I have to do is look at my Comcast Monopoly, realize that it was GIVEN that monopoly by my state government, and that negates any belief that government is "good" for the consumer.

Government is more often an impediment because otherwise I would be served by numerous cable companies like Comcast plus Cox plus Cablevision, and be able to choose for myself. Government grants of monopoly have taken away that choice, as they did during the 1920s-70s ATT era.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33629210)

The monopoly wasn't given, it was bought and paid for in various ways both legal and shady. In the same way various radio, TV and wireless carriers bid on and buy radio spectra, cable, power and phone network companies pay for the right-of-way to build and operate their networks. They paid for their monopolies. Make no mistake about it. Now as far as the deals the carriers got for their money? Well, I agree that it is essentially used as a license to rape the consumer. But watch for when the deals are up for renewal and contact your government representatives. If you want to see change, make sure they know some people are watching.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33629342)

Government regulation in itself is absolutely necessary. BAD regulation is a serious problem, as is no regulation. Some regulation is actually essential. Someone had to use eminent domain to allow all those cables to be run at all. More to allocate the EM spectrum.

The problem isn't that your state government granted Comcast a monopoly, the problem is that the fools fail to pull on the strings attached to the grant (or more likely, Comcast is pulling on the strings attached to the "campaign contributions").

Of course, we are now at the point that we should probably consider raw fiber to the home provisioned by the government and open to connection by the various ISPs, Bells, and cable companies. Raw ethernet service supporting multicast, vlan and MPLS tagging would be a good way to go That would provide the competition you want where it is feasible and limit the natural monopoly to the issues that require it (the grant of eminent domain).

The alternative would be NO cable TV at all and phone service still spotty with no interoperability between networks, just like we had before the government stepped in.

It's easy to forget that before the government granted AT&T it's monopoly, we had tangles of phone lines from various phone companies, customers of one company couldn't call customers of another company, and most people had no phone service available at all. There was no pre-monopoly cable television at all. It just wasn't feasible.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (2, Informative)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627594)

Since when is the market bearing a cost a justification for over pricing? No business has a right to massive profits, especially when it's the result of maintaining a oligopoly over the particular market.

What massive profits [google.com] are you talking about? If you had even remotely bothered to type in a few search keywords, you would know that Sprint is losing money $250M every month. The claim that they are charging above-market prices or maintaining an oligopoly is absolutely inconsistent with the facts.

If anything, a company that's consistently (five straight quarters) posting losses should be raising prices or cutting costs since obviously they cannot burn through money forever. What's more, Sprint spent billions [arstechnica.com] deploying WiMax, so it's sort of silly to accuse them of failing to keep up infrastructure. If anything, they are desperately trying to capitalize on their first-to-market status on 4G.

[ Market pricing or not, they should fix the Epic's upload problem. I was responding to the narrow and entirely incorrect (and trivially verifiable!) claim that Sprint is making massive profits, when in fact they have posted a loss in the last 5 quarters. On a personal note to the OP, please verify your claims -- at least where it's trivial to do so. ]

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628706)

Their single biggest expense is administrative and marketing. Of course if thyey would quit pissing people off, their marketing department wouldn't have to run up hill all the time.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627512)

So long as people keep paying their bills, the market is bearing this imposition. I am all but certain that this is another example of telcoms limiting and crippling their services rather than improving their infrastructure.

I wouldn't say that it's "a classic example". Often the phrase "what the market will bear" implies a real market-- you know, with meaningful competition. This is more an issue of "what consumers will bear before they give up on having cell phones at all."

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627786)

How is the cellular market not competitive?

Just like the wired phone service lets you choose your long-distance and local provider, so too do cellular service let you choose from many companies. I've got Virgin. You might have Sprint. My iPhone friend has ATT I think. Then there's Cricket and Clear and Boost and Verizon and Cingular and.....

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (4, Informative)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627876)

Either you don't know what's going on or you're purposefully spreading misinformation. Virgin and Boost are Sprint. Cingular is AT&T. Really there are only 4 companies to speak of: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. And it'll probably be down to 3 in the next few years.

But these 4 companies don't compete very vigorously. If anything, the cost of SMS messaging leads me to believe they're coordinating.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627936)

>>>Virgin and Boost are Sprint. Cingular is AT&T

No they really aren't. For example Virgin's HQ is in London, United Kingdom, EU

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (2, Informative)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628386)

the point is if you count the number of companies that have as capital assets real live TOWERS

ATT owns towers
Sprint owns towers
Verizon owns towers
T-Mobile Owns towers
everybody else rides on those towers (with of course peering agreements giving you towers owned by say Verizon having a Sprint transponder and an ATT transponder)
Virgin mobile IN THE US uses sprint towers (and the sprint PRL)
Nextel is owned by sprint and is i think being phased out (BOOST uses nextel/sprint towers)
Cingular is ATT
Cricket leases tower space from whomever

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628990)

>>>ATT...Sprint...Verizon...T-Mobile owns towers

Okay now I see your point. So if it any different over in the European Union? (just curious) Or do they also have a quadopoly like US has?

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (2, Informative)

RubberDogBone (851604) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628388)

Virgin Mobile sold their US operations to Sprint. Virgin Mobile never owned their own network in the US; it was always just rebranded service (an MVNO) from Sprint running on Sprint's network. Yes, Virgin US is a CDMA service, unlike Virgin's GSM service elsewhere.

Recently they decided to get out of actively running a US wireless operation in the US and sold the business and licensed the brandname to Sprint. Virgin Wireless UK has nothing to do with it any more.

So Sprint is now four main brands: Sprint, Nextel, Boost, and Virgin US, plus half or so of Clear. Sprint also provides MVNO support to about half a dozen other smaller brands.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

judo_badger (812451) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628420)

I don't know what the situation is in the US, but in Canada Virgin Mobile is owned by Bell.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

Glendale2x (210533) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628546)

>>>Virgin and Boost are Sprint. Cingular is AT&T

No they really aren't. For example Virgin's HQ is in London, United Kingdom, EU

Virgin Mobile USA is not Virgin UK. Sorry, but you're quite simply wrong. See for yourself:

Go to virginmobileusa.marketwire.com [marketwire.com] and click on "Fact Sheets":

"Virgin Mobile USA Fact Sheet

Overview: Virgin Mobile USA, one of Sprint's Prepaid Brands, offers millions of customers control, flexibility and social connectivity without annual contracts for mobile phone service and prepaid Broadband2Go high-speed Web access, with national coverage for both powered by the Sprint Nationwide Network.

Headquarters: Sprint Prepaid Brands, Warren, NJ"

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33627532)

So long as people keep paying their bills, the market is bearing this imposition.

Except when you don't, you get kicked out of your house.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627584)

>>>I am all but certain that this is another example of telcoms limiting and crippling their services rather than improving their infrastructure.

(putting on conspiracy nut hat). I think it's done on purpose. ATT and others want to take TV channels 25 and up for usage by cellular phones/internet. What better way to achieve that goal than to slow everything to a crawl, and then say to Congress, "Look. We've already run out of space and need more spectrum. It's time for television to give its 'fair share' rather than hog all the space."

Of course they will conveniently ignore that Cellular services already have ~1000 megahertz and radio/tv only occupies ~200.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (2, Informative)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627612)

Sorry, but that doesn't make any sense. If it were an intentional limitation on the Epic by Sprint, then they would have done the same thing on the Evo, which has been out for several months. Or they would have ADDED the limitation in an update.

Besides, we are talking about the 3G and not even the 4G connections. Something else is going on...

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (2, Informative)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628436)

The most credible theory I've seen so far is that the towers and/or Epic4G don't recognize each other as being capable of EVDOrevA, and are falling back to rev0 (which, conveniently, has a reverse data rate of almost exactly 153kbit/sec). I personally doubt Sprint would have done something as stupid as blatantly throttle Epic4G owners down to 150kbit/sec, because they're smart enough to know that Epic4G owners were going to be pulling out the benchmarks and comparing metaphorical penis size with Evo owners from day one, and anything that blatant would have been discovered *instantly*.

The good news is that if it's just a tower-phone identity issue, it's almost certainly something that can be fixed. The bad news is that if it requires tower-config changes, Sprint will probably try to work it into their normal progressive maintenance schedule instead of doing whatever it takes to deploy a potentially-disruptive fix immediately.

Hence, my primary motive for getting this story to Slashdot: harness the power of public relations to light a fire under Sprint's feet and force them to escalate this to a matter of their highest and most urgent priority, instead of plodding along and allowing Epic4G owners to languish at 150k for the next few months.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627640)

Actually Android users use more data than iPhone users, and yet Verizon has never had any network issues. AT&T's troubles were caused by a deliberate decrease in annual capex meant to pump up their stock price. Their profits have tripled from 2005 to 2008, while their capex has dropped significantly each year.

Re:A classic example of "what the market will bear (1)

Xuranova (160813) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628540)

While Android users might use more data than iphone users on average, unless:
  ( number of Android users on VZW * android data average) > (number of iPhone users on ATT * iphone data average)

bringing up VZW's network is moot.

I can't believe no one has yet said... (-1, Redundant)

ericvids (227598) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627190)

Epic fail.

It's a hardware limitation (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33627216)

Maybe for a $50 fee, they will unlock the hardware and provide the full potential.

Re:It's a hardware limitation (1)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 3 years ago | (#33629808)

They're just uploading it wrong.

EPIC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33627262)

Oh you thought that word means you got epic speeds? haha no.

What that means is sprint is screwing you for an epic amount of money...

If it sounds like a fair deal. Or sounds too good to be true. You are most likely getting screwed....

Most likely OS/Radio Issue (1)

wh1pp3t (1286918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627272)

This is more than likely an issue with the handset itself. It is extremely unlikely the base stations or CO servers are configured to limit the bandwidth of a particular phone model or account. Still, this is not acceptable as all phones are field tested prior to launch. This should have been identified prior to release.

Re:Most likely OS/Radio Issue (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627344)

Perhaps they field tested theirs while clad in a disguise [gizmodo.com] ?

*Only* 150k? (2, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627358)

My cable modem uploads at around 100k, and I don't have any problem with that. What exactly are these people doing on their cell phones that is so important that they can't tolerate an upload speed that is only 50% faster than my cable modem?

And yes, I can upgrade my cable modem to faster service for a price but I willingly have so far opted not to; I find my current cable modem to be more than sufficient for my own needs.

Re:*Only* 150k? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33627438)

150 kbit, not bytes. Your 100k a sec is about 1000kbits /sec. To put it in terms of your connection, its like getting 15k a sec

Re:*Only* 150k? (3, Informative)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627444)

150Kbps, not KBps.

Re:*Only* 150k? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627808)

Hey that's still five times faster than my Netscape Dialup service!

;-)

Re:*Only* 150k? (1)

qubezz (520511) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628564)

150kbps, not 150Kbps...unless you are measuring the temperature of your data. K = Kelvin.

You can capitalize if it is Ki (kibibits, 1024 bits) For most data streams it actually is k (kilobits) though, i.e. 100kbps is 100,000 bits per second, which is 12.207 KiBps.

For a way the mind can actually interpret: 150kbps = 59.4+ seconds per MiB of data after removing the 6% TCP/IP overhead. Whether you should count protocol overhead depends on if the 'speed test' sites are doingitrite or measuring ultimate data transfer only.

Also, the word 'broadband' doesn't mean what most everybody thinks it means, my biggest peeve ever..

Re:*Only* 150k? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33628954)

The k in "Kbps" actually stands for the international prefix "kilo", which means "1000". It's always lowercase. Capital Kbps is a typo.

Re:*Only* 150k? (1)

GenePoolFairy (1446069) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627454)

100k what ? bits or bytes ?

TFA talks about kilobits, divide by 8 to get the kilobytes number and next time pay more attention.

Ahh, and you should find some other ISP, one that doesn't charge you for every ICMP packet you send out.

Re:*Only* 150k? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33627466)

How do you live with 100k? I serve a popular Ruby on Rails website from my cell phone and the 150k limit is really crippling.

Although the phone is literally burning a hole in my pocket I'm still cooool as a motherfucker.

Re:*Only* 150k? (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628846)

Wait... you have a webserver running on your phone that's able to take inbound http requests over the mobile network from the internet at large? Who's your carrier?!? AFAIK, every carrier in America (if not the world) effectively firewalls their mobile-phone IP addresses from inbound tcp connections from the outside.

Re:*Only* 150k? (1)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 3 years ago | (#33629836)

You are mistaken - both my previous PocketPC phones were webservers that could be reached by the public; my current phone does so as well, which includes a webcam on an alternate port. Obviously don't use it often, but it does work.

Re:*Only* 150k? (1)

Terrasque (796014) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627468)

Full HD porn video streaming?

When you're finally doing it with a $5 hooker, you do want the world to know.

Re:*Only* 150k? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627828)

>>>Full HD porn video streaming?

Sure.

You can do 1920x1080 video streaming at 150k. It's just really blocky. (I routinely stream at 50k albeit at DVD quality, not HD.)

Re:*Only* 150k? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33627472)

are you sure your cable modem uploads at 100kB? or is it 100kbs? 100kB is 819 kBps, the epic users are getting 150 Kbps which is actually 18.31 kB/s. I am going to assume that with cable you are actually getting 819kB/s.

Re:*Only* 150k? (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627502)

I tried to to think of a way to parody this post through exaggeration, but the self-centredness is simply too immense. The light of humour simply cannot escape the black hole of narcissism.

Re:*Only* 150k? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33628724)

IT IS NOT 150 KB/sec. It's 150 KBits/sec. Now for those of you who don't know what that is... divide that number by 8. Roughly 20 KB/sec is how fast our upload.

Lern2internts

http://explainthefee.com/ (4, Informative)

brenddie (897982) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627414)

Information about the $10 "4G tax" can be found in http://explainthefee.com/ [explainthefee.com] . There's a new post about how to cancel service without paying ETF in case you want out

Sprint Palm Pre has similar issue (2, Interesting)

damianesteves (1748428) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627494)

The Sprint Palm Pre, which is a 3G phone, has its downloadspeed capped to 64KBps (kilobytes, not kilobits) per second. A foul practice indeed, but there's actually a homebrew patch that removes this limitation.

ROM Bug (4, Interesting)

Cylix (55374) | more than 3 years ago | (#33627712)

In the forum thread mentioned there appears to be a comment regarding the phone's firmware.

Apparently, some guys over at xda developers uploaded the european rom and were able to get full bandwidth from the phone. Given the reception issues and other communication problems I'm going to say this is a badly cooked rom on part of the Sprint side. (Even more Epic fail).

Now, at the moment this is completely unconfirmed and if you are an Epic fail owner I would suggest visiting their site to confirm.

Re:ROM Bug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33627776)

ROM Bug, or just carrier throttling done on the phone itself? Remember, this is how your cable service is tiered as well.

Stop me if you've heard this one... (1)

Fael (939668) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628346)

"And for my last wish, I want a 4G network with truly epoch speed."

And the genie smiled.

Epic Owner Here (1)

VoiceInTheDesert (1613565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628450)

I can confirm this. I struggle to get much more than 150kbps on 3g. I have complaints about my download speed (can't get more than 800kbps anywhere in Phoenix, but that might just be Sprint's limit. Can anyone confirm that for me? My buddy on Verizon gets 2mbps down easily...

4G?! (2, Interesting)

attah (1217454) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628958)

What 4G in the US&A? say what? Ah, it was only a marketing thingy.. like those chinese mp5 plyers... Afaik the only real 4G networks are in Sweden and Norway... (We are talkin some 50 Mbit downstream here) I wonder what real 4g will be called in the us.. Epic 4G, no wait... that's taken too.

Re:4G?! (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 3 years ago | (#33629022)

> I wonder what real 4g will be called in the us.. Epic 4G, no wait...

Duke Nuke'em 4-FR-G

Re:4G?! (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#33629194)

It depends on what you are calling 4G. Sprint considers it's new wimax-based networks as 4G.

Just about everybody else considers 4G to be LTE (or technically LTE Advanced, since plain LTE is only 3.9G), which is expected to be used by providers that used to be part of of 3GPP (GMS/EDGE/WCDMA/UMTS/HSxPA), as well as the 3GPP2 (CDMA/CDMA2000) providers.

This could potentially finally bring the ability to swap phones between providers to the US, since they would all be using the same technology for their latest networks. Of course, I'm not sure how the CDMA providers will transition to LTE, since having a SIM that is needed only for LTE service, but not for the legacy CDMA2000 service would be awkward. I'm guessing the CDMA providers will transition by having a hardwired SIM for LTE, at least until they start offering LTE only phones, when they might finally start offering replaceable SIM cards.

Re:4G?! (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 3 years ago | (#33629476)

For at least the next 2-5 years, Verizon's LTE network will be about as useful to a visiting European as Sprint's WiMax network -- ie, not useful at all. Verizon's using it ONLY for data, just like Sprint. The truth is, Sprint will have to switch to LTE eventually, if only to avoid being locked in to a single vendor for hardware... but in the meantime, Sprint customers will get to have 4G 6-18 months sooner than their neighbors with Verizon. Verizon's LTE is pretty much the bare-bones minimum they can deploy and still legally call it "LTE". It won't be worse than Sprint's WiMax, but it won't be any better than Sprint's WiMax, either. Two steps forward, three steps back, and one big step diagonally-forward to the right.

Also, there isn't much "4G urgency" among GSM/UMTS networks, in Europe or the US. For Sprint and Verizon, WiMax/LTE is a big deal, because it enables simultaneous circuit-switched voice calls + data, above and beyond any higher speeds or reduced latency. For UMTS networks, LTE is more of an incremental step forward, as opposed to a profound game-changing life-altering upgrade the way it is for CDMA users. AT&T and T-Mobile will scramble to deploy LTE because Sprint and Verizon will hammer away at them in ads and make them look substandard if they don't, but the same urgency doesn't really exist elsewhere in the world.

Why? (1)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 3 years ago | (#33629346)

Because people want to pay to say they go the newest connection.... even if it's slower and cost more...
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