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Bad software blamed for AT&T iPhone upload choke

We're big, but we're not evil

iPhone 4

The hue and cry over AT&T's supposed "throttling" of iPhone 4 uploads turns out to have been premature — that is, if AT&T's explanation is to be believed.

AT&T Wednesday issued a statement that said the upload slow-downs stemmed from software problems in their Alcatel-Lucent HSUPA equipment.

The statement came after the intertubes were clogged on Tuesday with reports by GigaOM, Gizmodo, MacRumors, SlashGear, and others, that accused AT&T of intentionally cutting back on mobile-device upload speeds.

Although it now appears that those many observers seem to have jumped to conclusions, their mistrust of AT&T is understandable. After all, Big Phone capped its previously unlimited data plans exactly one month ago, their wireless broadband has teetered and creaked under the onslaught of data-hungry iPhone users, and 1.7 million iPhone 4s were added to its burden in just the first three days of the antenna-challenged device's existence.

So the accusations heaved at AT&T were neither far-fetched nor overly paranoid. They were, however, wrong — according to AT&T.

Reponding to the brouhaha, protestations, accusations, hullabaloo, and high-energy hissy-fitting the telco-giant's statement said:

AT&T and Alcatel-Lucent jointly identified a software defect — triggered under certain conditions — that impacted uplink performance for Laptop Connect and smartphone customers using 3G HSUPA-capable wireless devices in markets with Alcatel-Lucent equipment. This impacts less than two percent of our wireless customer base. While Alcatel-Lucent develops the appropriate software fix, we are providing normal 3G uplink speeds and consistent performance for affected customers with HSUPA-capable devices.

Perspicacious Reg readers will certainly note that those pesky "certain conditions" aren't defined, nor is a time frame for the fix even estimated, let alone promised.

Until those "certain conditions" are debugged, iPhone 4 users won't be able to take full advantage of the Category 6 HSUPA 5.76 Mb/s maximum uplink speeds of which their new toys smartphones are capable. ®

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