Inspire 4G speedtest

We've been hearing from many of you who bought a shiny new Inspire 4G that there appears to be an issue with the device upload speeds.  While AT&T is busy working out the kinks in their HSPA+ network, getting backhaul in place and pouring the magic 4G dust into the wires, most of us with an Inspire 4G are still using the 3G HSPA network.  HSPA is broken down into two parts -- HSDPA (download) and HSUPA (upload).

The Inspire 4G is not HSUPA capable, according to AT&T.  No conspiracy.  No rumor.  Just the answer, straight from the source.

This explains why most of us are seeing fast 3G download speeds, but no-so-much on the upload side.  I had a bit of a play with this myself last night, and see the same thing -- download speeds around 2 Mbps, and upload speeds around 200 kbps.  You can see above what our (and TiPb's) own Jeremy Sikora is seeing for speeds in Chicago.  He also notes that upload speeds on his iPhone 4 (which is HSUPA capable) are about twice what he sees with his Inspire.

While it's not the news most of us want to hear, it does clear up the confusion.  Thanks to the folks at AT&T who took time to answer our questions. 

There are 68 comments

WhitePhone says:

Fail. LTE FTW.

Just to be clear, this is 3G we're talking about.

WhitePhone says:

*EDIT: Re-read the article once AGIAN, and I see, this isn't HSPA |+| we are talking about. Oops. I still stand by my opinion on HSPA+ though.......*

That's just it. It is 3G and they are marketing it as 4G and even if its considered 4G or not, its not as good as LTE. Sure you could argue that its like me comparing EVDO to WiMAX or something, but thats different, because they DON'T market EVDO as 4G. I hate this HSPA+ is 4G trend T-Mobile started. And I could care less what the ITU has to say, they are hot and cold constantly. IMO, HSPA+ is not 4G and regular LTE and WiMAX are. Its not about speed. First things first, it should be about moe potential and more capabilities than 3G, not just a speed bump from 3G, which is exactly what HSPA+ is.

KwietStorm says:

Serious question, because I never see any discussion on this. In my observance, especially after reading how reluctant T-Mobile was to move forward with actual "4G" branding after speaking with their lawyers, it was always clear to me that T-Mobile was simply being competitive in the consumer industry, which is no different than what any other company would do. What confuses me, and this is what I would like someone to educate me on, is why Spring never, ever gets any flack for actually jumping the gun with their own 4G WiMax advertising. That isn't anything near LTE either, is that not correct?, yet they started all this 4G talk almost a year ago, before the Evo 4G even released in the Summer. I also read a lot of forum comments from people who are choosing to disregard the ITU's own official definitions of what's what. Well then what EXACTLY are the prerequisites for a 4G network? Because it seems that answer/definition is just as muddy as what makes a smartphone a smartphone.

shaundizzle says:

Well the way I see it is, att and tmobile are the ones that get crap for 4g branding because 4g stands for 4th generation network.
Wimax and lte are 4th generation networks and evdo is the 3rd generaton network

Tmo and att have hspa 3g and nor their hsdpa crap is basically 3g plus. Its a more advanced 3g network. It is not a new generation of network. Another way that can be looked at islte and wimax are built from theground up. While tmo and att are making their "4g" by building off their 3g network

Tmobile first decided the 4g branding when sprin called wimax 4g, tmo called it 4g because their speeds were comparable or faster than sprints wimax. Second reason is for sales, would you buy a 3g phone if 4g was aailable? Probably not unles yyour a phone geek and know that their 3g is as fast as sprints 4g.

Att then came up the rear for the same financial reason. 4g sells now that 3g is old news

original00 says:

So ATT clarified that their "4G" phone is not "4G" capable. Makes sense....

4G = Hspa+

Hspa+ = HSDPA 14.4 + HSUPA

HSDPA 14.4 + 0 = (.5)Hspa+

Inspire 4g = (.5)Hspa+

Hspa+ = 4g

4g(.5) = 2g

Inspire 4g = 2g


techh10 says:

took me 2 times to read through it toget it...but funny congrats for making me laugh

peterfares says:

I wonder if you can flash an unbranded radio firmware to fix this problem?
My Desire Z that I use on AT&T (same generation as the Desire HD / Inspire 4G) gets 3.8Mbps download / 1.5Mbps upload in my area. This whipped my friends iPhone a couple months ago when we tried them side-by-side.

youareme7 says:

Wow, that is totally obnoxious. What a waste! I wonder if the Atrix will have the same problem?

gtg465x says:

Yes it will. HSUPA is disabled BY AT&T on ALL of their Android phones. They are worried about the strain on their network. False advertising if you ask me.

gtg465x says:

Just wondering why this got a thumbs down lol. People don't like the truth or what?

gtg465x says:

Whoa Jerry, be careful how you word the article. The Inspire DOES support HSUPA but AT&T disabled it. Rooting and/or flashing an unbranded Desire HD ROM will allow you to enable HSUPA on the Inspire.

FIY, HSUPA is disabled on the Captivate and Atrix as well. AT&T disables HSUPA on ALL of their Android phones. I don't know why this news hasn't made it out on major tech sites.

The Inspire 4G is not HSUPA capable

Is the direct quote from AT&T. Once debranded, it's technically no longer an Inspire 4G, and this quote probably won't apply.

I think you know where I'm going with this. wink wink lol

Impulses says:

Are you being coy to avoid AT&T's wrath as an official writer for the site or because you think AT&T's PR spin is a fair characterization of the facts?I think this is beyond dumb... It's bad enough they already have the only hard capped data plans w/overage charges but they're also capping upload speeds on top of it? Seriously? SO glad I dumped AT&T.

To be honest I don't have an issue w/advertising HSPA+ as 4G, but turning around and only giving people HSPA+ speeds on the download seems far far worse... Why hasn't anyone taken this story and ran with it??

I'm only reporting what AT&T told me. Not trying to bash them, or agree with them. We (and I imagine everyone else) have been flooded with folks who just bought an Inspire, and have slow upload speed. Just telling everyone why, according to AT&T.

Working around this issue is for a different, more unofficial blog post.

vinny#AC says:

Jerry, long time listener and follower of Android Central, why didn't Phil report to the listeners about the very slow upload speeds from this device??? He had it before anyone else and did some what of a two part review of the phone. He is always coming back with "I don't have T-Mobile 3G where I live" but we know he uses AT&T, just a little confused that Phil might be showing a little favoritism. Maybe I'm wrong but sure looks like it, that to me is a major flaw in that and all Android devices from At&T. My Speeds from T-Mobile are fast, very fast. Peak hours on N1 are 5.2 DL and 1.5 Upload. Peak hours on my MyTouch 4G are 6.8 DL and 1.5 Upload. They get faster every week.

Thanks Jerry

p4trickh#IM says:

I think the issue is with the kind of writers Android Central has. They are decent writers and they know about as much as the mainstream mobile geek would know but they aren't at all technical so if AT&T gives them a quote they are just going to pipe it through without much technical analysis or even technical understanding. It's one of my favorite phone blogs because they have good coverage but I'm often disappointed with their lack of technical prowess. What would be awesome is an Android site with the coverage of Android Central but the technical analysis/understanding of AnandTech. Now that would be amazing and worth the read.

E_man says:

The same is true of stock captivates on AT&T. We got HSUPA imported from the International SGS into the custom roms. I bet the same might happen with this and the Desire HD.

emuneee says:

Been saying this for 2 weeks. Ask them about the Atrix 4G, the Captivate, the X10 too. You'll get the same answer.

original00 says:

Thanks for the clarification gtg465.Another reason why i stay away from att for crippling their android phones

wdfalco says:

so maybe no 4G for the atrix too

sprke81 says:

HSUPA most definitely works on it I have the DHD ROM flashed and I'm now getting around 1.7 up.

scaots says:

...and I was almost over the locked bootloader. Phooey! But I really want that qHD display. I can deal without dual-core. I am interested in the bigger and sharper screen, FFC, and better audio quality than my N1. I may have to pass and wait for a Nexus S when they show up with the ATT freqs.

peterfares says:

The qHD display is a PenTile screen. That lowers it's effective resolution and makes text look fuzzy. It made the Nexus One's 800x480 screen have an effective resolution of something around 640x360, but I don't know how it affects LCD vs AMOLED.

vinny#AC says:

Very descent DL speeds, better then I thought they would get but the Upload speeds are pathetic. I think the way they are advertising this phone is pretty dishonest, they should let the average consumer know what they will be getting. Rooting and running a custom rom will probably take care of this issue but not everyone wants to root their phone. I am with T-Mobile and I'm getting around 5 MB on the DL on my N1 and my MyTouch 4G is pushing around 6.5 - 7.5 MB DL and both phones are getting a very solid 1.5 MB on the upload. What I'm saying is if T-Mobile can get these speeds what the hell is the matter with AT&T???? I wouldn't go into a contract with anyone who is being as sneaky as AT&T is.

IanAck123 says:

haha. i average around 2.5mbps downlaod speed the Verizon network on my DInc :)

btgrave says:

Why do you even need a high upload speed?

neller2000 says:

Higher quality video calling, running more upload processes at once and so on I'm thinking.

Uploading pics and videos. To youtube for example. Also, sending pics or other attachments such as documents via Gmail, Email, etc. Bad upload speeds result in apps being hung up at "sending" for forever.

kg4zxk says:

Sucks they do this with Android Phones. The iPhone doesn't have this issue.... Seems like if they allow one model of phone to go full throttle it should be the same for all.

vinny#AC says:

Phil did his evaluation on this device and yet he failed to tell his listeners what I think is the most important imfo, failed upload speeds on this device. Why is this??? That would be very important imfo. to a potential buyer of that device.

Well if I remember right Phil said(in a podcast or video)that Jerry was going to be doing a full review but it never happened. At least not yet.

textiaac says:

What about the atrix? Will it have HSUPA?

robnaj says:

I thought that AT&T 's "4G" was HSPA + not HSUPA

Whatever happened to the full review AC was supposed to do on the Inspire?

gtg465x says:

I wouldn't mind one from AC either, but if you want more info on the phone just search for reviews of the Desire HD. Same phone.

coreymcl says:

So how did ATT confirm this exactly? As the post title said they did but the article does not say anything about how this was confirmed or what they said.

tim6253 says:

Another thing to keep in mind...HSPA+ speeds are only obtainable in 10 markets right now...and it's only 14.4. Att is so full of shit.

Shad0w26 says:

That's weird.. on my Inspire 4G, after rooting it and installing a custom ROM, I'm getting 3mbits down and around 1.5mbits up. I live in South Nassau County, Long Island (NY)..

gtg465x says:

Yeah AT&T just changed a hidden setting in the stock ROM to disable HSUPA. It's not a hardware or network limitation. Just AT&T being sly and lying as usual.

waltah#AC says:

I don't recall AT&T saying that it supported HSUPA. So how were they lying? If it's about the whole "4G" label they had to do it. After TMO and others starting calling their network 4G they have to follow suit. If a customer comes in the store asking to see your 4G phones you can't say you don't have any after other companies advertise their "4G" phones. I don't blame them.
Either way this is a killer phone and i could care less about upload speeds.

Mircury#AC says:

I dont think you realize how detrimental this is for our phones. It doubles and triples the ping times. Apps lag that contact the network. Gmail is slower. Google voice is slower. Sharing pics on facebook is a pain. Try your phone with it enabled first and see if you still think that. ATT is deceitful. They are behind on their network so they resort to shady practices and labeling phones 4g that are crippled.

Impulses says:

T-Mobile's HSPA+ speeds ARE comparable to the speed of new network technologies (LTE/WIMAX) for now, and they enable it for download and upload. Obviously they don't have HSPA+ in every market, just like Sprint doesn't have Wimax in every market and VZW won't have LTE in every market... However AT&T's advertising of HSPA+ as 4G only applies to half your connection even in the markets where it IS available. So if you're gonna put quotations around anyone's "4G" it should be AT&T's.

I agree with Impulses here. AT&T clearly is crippling their HSPA+ network's capabilities with their stock android roms in an effort to relieve strain on their network. If anyone doesn't have a full on 4G network it's them.

kg4zxk says:

Where can I get more information on the custom rom you used on your Inspire?

mfriedman79 says:

And this is why I will be ditching AT&T as soon as my contract is up or another carrier gets an Atrix caliber phone.

Comsumers really need to start sending AT&T a message that we won't put up with their horrible customer service and artificial limits they put on their hardware.

For those already with the Inspire, I hope you all root your devices and use as much data as possible.

mfriedman79 says:

Bah, double post.

itsdavetime says:

I switched from an iPhone 4 to the Inspire 4G and although the upload speed isn't great, I notice the phone operates much faster than the iPhone both in download and actual operation. The upload speed really doesn't bother me, since I don't do video calling, upload pictures to facebook, etc.

Not a big issue for me.

Love the Android OS rather than iOS.

CBPilu says:

From my time with my captivate, from what I always gathered was that HSUPA being enabled was typically controlled by the modem. This is why when we flash custom roms to the captivate they are typically reoriented I9000 ROMS and modems. Most of the I9000 modems have HSUPA enabled by default, which I believe is WCDMA band 850.

I get 3.50 down and 1.30 up with my Nexus One...only because AT&T never got their grubby hands on it. More and more I am of the belief that the best thing for me to do is leave AT&T for Verizon and get the Thunderbolt. I've been with AT&T since BEFORE they became Cingular, and back again. I'm tired of they way they treat Android devices and their users. Verizon may not be as fast, but at least they let you side download apps and don't restrict Android speeds while propping up the iPhone with better speeds.

Impulses says:

Honestly no one else is pulling the kind of crap that AT&T is... No one else has a hard data cap (yet) w/overage charges. They have soft caps w/speed throttling if you go over, or nothing at all (Sprint, who did increase their plans by $10 to offset that I guess). No one else prevents you from side-loading apps. No one else is artificially capping upload speeds on the PHONES themselves. Can't wait to see what else they pull next, SO glad I left. Even the Atrix ain't enough to tempt me back.

msgnyc says:

root the phone and edit your build.prop
There you go. HSUPA is now enabled.

Impulses says:

I understand anyone who's on AT&T is just gonna say "root/tweak & go"... But what about all the non techies buying Android phones who are gonna spend twice as long uploading photos, etc.? What are they supposed to do? Are they gonna do this w/the iPhone when/if it supports HSPA+? Apple wouldn't dream of it...

SteveIowa says:

This is a sad, sad, state of affairs, with AT&T. We should see more info. on this, from AC soon. Right Jerry? Don't be afraid to bite the hand that feeds you. ; - )

All I'm waiting for is a bit easier root method. The current way scares the bejeesus out of a lot of folks ;)

biggbrother2 says:

This is a total debacle.

So answer me this. Does the Inspire 4G have the same network capabilities as the T-Mobile Galaxy S 4G, which is a real HSPA+ device, or does it have the capabilities of the Nexus S, which can only take partial advantage of the HSPA+ speeds?

If it's the latter, then this is the king of all false advertising. T-Mobile only branded the MyTouch 4g, Galaxy S 4G, and the G2 as 4G phones. They don't promote 4G speeds on their other phones, although they are faster than regular 3G.

Besides, I thought AT&T was crooning all over facebook that they would have more people covered by "4G" by the end of 2010 than T-Mobile? Now they are claiming "10 Markets"? WTF?

It can have the same capabilities of a T-Mobile HSPA+ device, if you get a custom ROM. It's just they're trying to deter people from using their network for bandwidth intensive applications, so they have HSUPA disabled in their stock Android devices.

jbarber says:

N1 Download: 2015 Upload: 1317

Inspire Download: 2650 Upload: 358 :(

Shempster says:

I returned my Inspire today & canceled my contract mostly because of this.

rewd says:

Ok, I am curious, and this is a legitimate question not a knock on anyone who is angry about this but I am wondering what does it matter if the uploads speeds are limited? Is there any reason everyone needs insanely fast upload speeds? What do you do with your phones that requires this?

I completely understand fast as possible download but I'm not understanding the uproar over this upload thing. I fully admit this could just be my limited perspective as I only ever upload the occasional picture to facebook. That said, I am wondering why you guys are so mad about this.

Video chatting, IMing, uploading pictures, video, whatever. You shouldn't have to deal with crippled upload speeds.

gitit20 says:

I use to work for at&t and they are the worst ever lie about all kinds of stuff I worked for them when the first iphone came out... what a joke...

kg4zxk says:

Hello. I've gone to the Inspire from the iPhone 4. I really enjoy the phone but have been disappointed with upload speeds. Do I understand that when AT&T goes to their "4G" system the same limitation will exist? This bugs me that they lock the Androids but not the iPhone. May have me seriously thinking about VZW next year when my contract is up.

I just wanted to get away from Apple so badly that I purchased the Inspire outright.

What roms are available for the inspire and where do I get instructions. I'm somewhat familiar trying to get a Samsung Captivate to work with a custom rom last year.

Do they custom roms keep the HTC feel? I like what they have done with sense. I'd like to keep those features.

icebike says:

Other sites are starting to report that the device is in fact capable of HSUPA.


Also at Engadget:

So the Jury is still out on this issue.

hybrid85 says:

AT&T for the lose....